Roundup: What Stephen Harper knew

Some more explosive revelations last night, as Maclean’s acquired and published the internal emails of the Conservative campaign team when it came to their dealing with the matter of Rick Dystra’s nomination in the midst of his allegations that he sexually assaulted a staffer in 2014. Shortly after that was released, statements were put out by Ray Novak and then Stephen Harper himself to give their own versions of what they knew and the decisions they took at the time, and why they justified keeping Dykstra on (though he eventually lost his seat in the election).

Amidst all of this, Jen Gerson has a very incisive column on the culture of politics, where sex and booze are the comforts of people away from their homes and families in a cloistered environment that has a frat-boy air to it all. And why nobody acts when it comes to allegations that “everyone knows” about, such as those related to Patrick Brown, is in part because gossip is part of that culture, and where information is power, compounded by the tribalism that comes with partisans who want to protect their own – while spreading dirt about their enemies – makes it difficult to know what to take seriously (and which is why the Erin Weir situation is probably an overreaction, whether justified or not). It’s a worthwhile read that tries to put the past couple of weeks in some better context than we’ve been getting with piecemeal stories coming out, and discussions around the environment on the Hill that don’t take cultural context into consideration as to why it persists beyond just simple power imbalances.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau held the final town hall of his tour in Nanaimo, and faced a lot more hecklers, particularly over the Kinder Morgan pipeline issue.
  • While Trudeau insists that they kept their promise on Canada Post, it’s not entirely correct.
  • The government has extended the deadline for summer jobs applications after the changes to the criteria with the new attestation (and the ensuing fight over it).
  • Here’s a look at the Commons foreign affairs committee’s report on NAFTA.
  • The government is making companies involved with fighter jet procurements sign non-disclosure agreements to keep them from talking to journalists.
  • Procurement problems are going to undermine the government’s defence policy. (Gosh, you think?)
  • Our peacekeeping contributions have fallen to a new all-time low, as the government has yet to outline what the new commitments will be.
  • The RCMP have had to reverse course on a policy that forced members to ATIP their own information after they were flooded with requests, creating a massive backlog.
  • Apparently, there is talk that they will delay renovations to 24 Sussex until they can come up with a plan for all official residences. Just get on with it already!
  • Here’s your look into the first week of the pipeline battle between BC and Alberta, and how that may affect Rachel Notley’s fortunes.
  • The senior PMO staffer placed on leave after allegations of harassment has now resigned.
  • Liberal MP Chris Bittle has been facing death threats for calling out white supremacist protesters.
  • Andrew Scheer says he’s intrigued by Philippe Couillard’s electorally-minded constitutional proposals. Because that doesn’t come off as craven at all.
  • Erin O’Toole has opted out of the Ontario PC leadership race to back Christine Elliott.
  • The NDP have decided to hold off on caucus chair elections until after the investigation into Erin Weir is concluded (as Weir was running for the job).
  • Colby Cosh writes about the futility of Alberta trying to start a trade war with BC.
  • Kevin Carmichael notes that Trudeau’s vocal feminism demands more action when it comes to doing something about getting more women in the work force.
  • My weekend column takes a look at the state of the Senate Liberals, who lost four members over the past couple of weeks.

Odds and ends:

With the removal of the Edward Cornwallis statue in Halifax, here’s a look at the history and who the real villain of that conflict was.

Thomas Mulcair has landed a post-politics teaching gig at Université de Montreal.

Scott Moe has now been sworn in as premier of Saskatchewan.