Roundup: No conflict to investigate

For all of the ink spilled and concerns trolled in Question Period, the Morneau-Shepell conspiracy theory is turning into a big fat zero for the Conservatives. Why? It seems that for all of the “appearance of conflict of interest” that they’re trying to drum up and selective laying out of facts in true conspiracy theory style (with the added cowardice of hiding behind the so-called “experts” who laid them out in committee testimony), the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner herself is shrugging it off.

“There does not appear to be reasonable grounds at this time for the Commissioner to launch an examination under the Conflict of Interest Act or an inquiry under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons,” said the Commissioner’s spokesperson, and added that they won’t bother investigating investigate “if there is no specific information to suggest that a provision of the Act or the Code may have been contravened.”

And guess who isn’t putting up any specific information that would suggest an actual conflict of interest? The Conservatives. They’re still “gathering information,” which is cute, because why bother filing anything formally when you can make all manner of accusations and cast as much aspersion as possible under the protection of the privilege of the House of Commons, that will be reported uncritically? After all, this is “just politics,” and you can worry about the “appearance” of conflicts all you want on flimsy to no evidence, while facing no consequences whatsoever. It’s tiresome, but it’s the kind of sad drama that we seem to be subsisting on rather than substantive debate on the issues and the actual concerns that appeared around those tax proposals. Such is the sad state of affairs these days.

Good reads:

  • Both Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper will be in Washington DC at the same time to talk NAFTA.
  • In NAFTA talks, Donald Trump’s constant references to untenable demands are being seen as his attempt to kill the negotiations.
  • Here is some interesting legal commentary on the structure of the government’s settlement for victims of the Sixties Scoop.
  • Despite the mystifying comments from that American general saying it was not policy to protect Canada from a missile attack, NATO says that Canada is protected.
  • The Canadian Forces are looking to add more flexibility to the Universality of Service rules to employ more wounded soldiers who are otherwise undeployable.
  • Liberal MP Raj Grewal tells Jagmeet Singh to bring it on if he wants to fight for the riding he currently holds.
  • When asked about American gun control laws, Canadian MPs make a point of carefully not saying much of anything.
  • The MMIW Inquiry got a new executive director…and then lost two more staffers.
  • Paul Wells notes the propensity for the Liberal government to absent itself from conversations it starts, leading to those embarrassing climb downs.
  • Andrew Leach lays out the economic case as to why TransCanada decided to kill Energy East, and it’s more than just the price of oil.
  • In case you missed it, my weekend column was a conversation with Senator McCoy about what lessons she learned leading the ISG.

Odds and ends:

Here’s a look at the history of the thrones in the Senate.

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