Roundup: Charlie Angus’ distraction and vilification

At a press conference in Ottawa Friday morning, NDP MP Charlie Angus declared that he doesn’t think that the Auditor General should look at MPs’ expenses because the Senate is evil and stuff. No, really. If that wasn’t a more clear-cut case of distraction (and vilification), I’m not sure what is. The AG put out a statement outlining a few things about his forthcoming Senate audit – basically, it’s like any other audit, so stop asking him about it. Academics are hoping that this new scrutiny will sweep away the “old boys’ network” in the Senate, never mind that it’s been on its way out slowly for the past number of years as increasingly rigorous new rules have been put into place. Have similar rules been put into place on the Commons side? Well, we don’t know, because they’re not transparent, while the Senate is – not that you’ll hear Charlie Angus or Thomas Mulcair admit that. Meanwhile, it seems that Pamela Wallin was whinging about “media bullying” when they made Freedom of Information requests to Guelph University about her billing them for flights for her duties as chancellor, because you know, she’s the victim in all of this. The CBC looks at what’s next for Wallin, and also provides a fact sheet on Senators’ pay, and the key players in the expenses scandals. Meanwhile a group of psychologists – and Andrew Coyne – say that the Senate itself breeds a sense of entitlement, which doesn’t seem to explain why the problems are confined to a small minority, or why MPs and cabinet ministers fall into the very same kinds of entitled behaviours (if not even worse, because they’re the people’s chosen representatives, and a strategic genius to boot, and are therefore even more entitled).

The Information Commissioner has warned that the RCMP has pretty much stopped responding to Access to Information requests – which of course is against the law. The RCMP insists that no, they haven’t stopped, but they’re still staffing up new positions in their Access to Information branch, and it’s causing halting progress on the work, and so on. I guess we’ll see if the information starts to flow with the alleged new staff, and if not, if the Information Commissioner needs to take them to court.

Peter MacKay has revealed his justice priorities for the fall, which include rebranding certain impaired driving charges as “vehicular manslaughter,” updating the Supreme Court Act, and working on the victims’ bill of rights.

Jason Kenney and Chris Alexander put on a bit of a dog and pony show to dazzle us with the first of the new skilled trade immigrants that the government is looking to attract.

Industry Minister James Moore is hitting back against the telecom companies’ ads about how awful the entry of Verizon into the market would be, while the Conservatives are turning it into a partisan issue by launching their own site and creating a data-mining petition to no one about it.

Advertising Standards Canada has giving the government a, well, a warning I guess, about its Economic Action Plan™ ads featuring the yet-non-existent Canada Jobs Grant programme because they were “misleading.” But because the body has no real powers, all they could do is ask that the ad be changed or removed, and apparently it has been, so they just get a finger-wagging instead.

The Washington Post talks to hopeful Toronto Centre Liberal nominee Chrystia Freeland about her decision to leave journalism and run for office.

Stephen Harper’s Quebec lieutenant, Denis Lebel, took to the Internet to troll seatless Bloc leader Daniel Paillé about his decision not to run in the Bourassa by-election.

Economist Mike Moffatt wades into the middle-class income debate, and why there needs to be better adjustments to the measures of median income in order to really discuss the extent of the problems that exist.

And over in Cambodia, former Canadian deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps is under fire from local opposition groups after she was part of an election monitoring team that declared the recent elections to be fair, free and transparent, and the narrow losses faced by those opposition parties have them crying foul.