Roundup: So long, Mac Harb

It appears that Mac Harb has a sense of shame after all, and has not only tendered his resignation to the Senate, but repaid the full amount that the Senate has determined that he owed, and dropped his legal challenge. Of that challenge, he said it wasn’t about the money, but about the lack of due process within the Senate itself, which seems fair enough. And he does make the point that the ongoing cloud and investigations made his work there impossible, and that he thinks the Auditor General’s audit will turn up a trove of other Senators who interpreted the rules as he did. Um, okay. You know it won’t be a forensic audit, right? Just checking. With Harb’s departure, that still leaves the three embattled Harper-appointed Senators under a cloud of suspicion, and the Conservatives without a convenient whipping boy for the Liberals when it comes to saying that they don’t support the seal hunt (which Harb alone opposed when he was in their caucus).

As the Harb affair winds down (well, except for the RCMP investigation), the ClusterDuff was set off again, with new emails saying that Nigel Wright was in close contact with Senators David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen – two of the three members of the Internal Economy’s steering committee – with regards to the Duffy payment, and suggestions that Duffy took some convincing to go along with the plan. And so it gets all the more bizarre.

The Senate spending scandal hasn’t left a paper trail in the PMO, according to Access to Information requests – not really surprising since the Senate isn’t a government department or answerable to the PMO.

Former Senator Lowell Murray thinks that a discussion is needed around what should constitute “Senate business” when it comes to claiming expenses, but doesn’t necessarily want it codified.

Meanwhile, as he kicked off his constitutional vandalism – err, “Roll up the red carpet” tour, Thomas Mulcair threatens that Harper “hasn’t seen anything yet” when it comes to the grilling he’s apparently going to get when the House comes back. Um, okay – but what exactly are you going to ask him that’s government business? Because Mulcair does realise that the Senate is not a government department and therefore there it answers to no Minister, who can in turn answer on its behalf in Question Period – right? So…I guess we’re going to get a whole lot of hot air, to which Pierre Poilievre will stand up every day and say that something pithy and without substance like “The Senate must change or be abolished”? Oh boy – that sounds like fun.

Speaking of Mulcair, it only took him a week but he finally came out against the proposed “Quebec Charter of Values” and said that it’s unconstitutional and will never go anywhere. Um, he’s heard of Bill 101, right?

John Baird and our Religious Freedom ambassador announced $1.2 million in projects for religious tolerance in Nigeria, as well as Eastern Europe and Southern Asia.

Here’s a look at some of the political hurdles in the way of the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Court filings suggest that Michael Sona was involved in the “Pierre Poutine” misleading robocalls, but also hint that he didn’t act alone – though the rest of the court proceedings are under a publication ban.

Jesse Brown looks at CSE’s flimsy excuses for possible illegal domestic spying, and hopes for a better explanation for why the records that would prove they’re not are missing.

Economist Andrew Leach looks at the rising inflationary costs to oil sands production, and how the “break-even per barrel cost” keeps moving along with it.

The economists at Maclean’s Econowatch have a roundtable discussion on the issue of middle-class incomes, and what – if anything – can be done about them. Sadly, much of it won’t translate well into political campaigns come 2015.

Senator Romeo Dallaire has learnt the hard way about doing due diligence for speaking engagements after the speaker’s bureau he’s attached to booked him to speak at a far-right anti-Semitic organisation’s conference. Yikes.

Here’s a look at Senator Joan Fraser, the former Editor-in-Chief of the Montreal Gazette, who has been working on modernising the Senate’s rules for the past several years.

And archaeologists have recovered the remains of seven books from the site of the burned Parliament buildings in Montreal.