It seems that Peter Penashue accepted 28 different improper or illegal donations during the last election, and overspent his campaign by $47,000. You know, small change, and apparently he keeps claiming that it’s not his fault. Err, except that he signed off on all of it, and as the former Chief Electoral Officer said, those signatures mean something, and when the Elections Commissioner completes his investigation, this may yet result in criminal charges – albeit not before the by-election will be called, unfortunately. Laura Payton asks the outstanding questions about what happened in the Labrador election, and Peter Penashue’s resignation – most of it revolving around the money (most of which came from the party itself, it seems). Meanwhile, the former leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals has announced that she will contest the nomination for the Labrador by-election. She may yet have to battle Todd Russell for that nomination if he decides to throw his hat back in the ring.
In a surprising turn of events, Intergovernmental Affairs minister Peter Penashue resigned his seat after it was proved that he accepted improper political donations in the last election, which included free flights, an interest-free loan, and dressed up corporate donations. And then he paid back $30,000, which was more than the amount that the CBC had calculated, and they had no idea where the money came from, since the campaign was broke, hence the need for the loan. Penashue won by only 79 votes then, and plans to contest the nomination. His former Liberal Challenger, Todd Russell, has lately been fighting the Lower Churchill project because it hasn’t properly consulted with the Innu communities in the region, and is taking the next few days to consider if he’ll run again.
Former Senate Ethics Officer Michael Fournier says that the Auditor General should be called in to look at the books of both the Commons and the Senate every five years or so – but also discounts the characterisation of the Senate as some den of corruption that has been painted by the media and the likes of Charlie Angus. Angus, meanwhile, has a selective memory when it comes to the financial practices of the Commons, denying that the AG found any problems with their books when the last audit was done a couple of years ago, except that there actually was a number of problems found with things like procurement practices. And perhaps it also bears reminding that it was only a couple of years ago that a number of MPs were found to be in violation of their own using allowances, and that the Commons is far less transparent with its own attendance and travel records than the Senate is. But oh, the Senate is the one that needs to clean up its act (even though it’s been in that process for the past year).
In the past couple of days of Senate revelations, we find that Senator Pamela Wallin has an Ontario health card and not a Saskatchewan one, which raises the question about her residency – no matter that she spent 168 days in Saskatchewan last year. Wallin also apparently repaid a substantial amount in expense claims before this whole audit business started, which is also interesting news. Senator Mike Duffy, meanwhile, could actually end up owing $90,000 plus interest on his living expense claims rather than the $42,000 that was cited over the weekend. Oops. Tim Harper looks at the sideshow that is Senator Duffy’s non-apology and smells a deal made to save his job. Senator Cowan says that repayment doesn’t answer the questions – especially not the ones about residency, which means he may not be up to protect Duffy – or Wallin and Patterson’s – seats. And those Senators who’ve been silent on their residency claims are now being called before the Senate Internal Economy committee to explain themselves. Terry Milewski goes through the entire housing claims allegations and fixes an appropriate amount of scorn on the idea that two ticky-boxes are “complex” on the forms.
At a meeting of the Canadian Bar Association, Rob Nicholson said that they shouldn’t rule out giving judicial appointments to “hypothetical” sitting politicians. No, seriously. This amid continual rumours that they’re eventually one day maybe going to appoint Vic Toews to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Manitoba. He then proceeded to dodge a question about a call to review federal legal aid funding – you know, to make justice accessible to the public in an age where their government continues to make the Criminal Code increasingly complex and at times even nonsensical (if you compare mandatory minimum sentences).
Leona Aglukkaq wants the debate around healthcare to be based around facts and not rhetoric. Hahahahaha! *wipes eyes* Oh, that’s a good one. I’m guessing she’s never actually absorbed the talking points that she has so dutifully memorised.
Charlie Angus is complaining that the Director of Public Prosecutions won’t look into Dean Del Mastro’s electoral financing even though it’s not the DPP’s job, no matter that Angus would like it to be. Seriously, you can’t just invent job descriptions because you want them to do something.
BC premier Christy Clark has a few harsh words for Ottawa as well about the lack of engagement with First Nations when it comes to the Northern Gateway pipeline plans. Meanwhile, a number of experts in the field and oilfield historians say that the current battle over the Northern Gateway pipeline is unlike any previous energy battles in our country’s history.
Charlie Angus is outraged – outraged! – that the Senate’s attendance records aren’t online, because it’s like a secret society! Err, except the Commons attendance records aren’t public at all, let alone being online and accessible, whereas at least the Senate has public records and will likely get them online as soon as they can devote the time and resources to getting that up and running. And seriously, a lot of the Senate web accessibility is actually better than that of the Commons. Sorry, but no sympathy for Angus until he gets his own Chamber in order.