Roundup: No summer vacation yet for senators

The Commons has risen for the summer, and MPs have all fled the oppressive, muggy heat of Ottawa for their ridings. The Senate will still sit for another week, possibly two, depending on how long it takes them to pass the three bills that have been identified as their current priorities – the omnibus budget bill (which they’ve been doing extensive pre-study on for the past several weeks), the refugee reform bill (which the government needs passed before June 30th, lest last year’s refugee bill comes into force before this one does), and the copyright reform bill (which is an issue with the forthcoming TPP negotiations). During the end-of-sitting press conference yesterday morning, Senate opposition leader James Cowan noted that the government has made the unusual step of bringing in time allocation on those bills (which is actually a rarity in the Senate), which limits the role that Senators are supposed to play in our system, which is of course more in-depth study of legislation and the “sober second thought” of being a step removed from partisan and electoral politics. Not that these traditional considerations have stopped the current government, but what can you do?

A new Commissioner of Elections has been appointed amidst the various robocall investigations and the spending irregularities of Dean Del Mastro. But before anyone gets any particular ideas about how this is really a surprise or some Harper conspiracy to silence those investigations, his job was posted back in February, so no one should really read too much into it. On the subject of Del Mastro, it seems that his claims that he knew nothing about the investigation into his spending have been contradicted by further affidavits by Elections Canada officials. Oops.

The constant delays in new shipbuilding contracts means that the Royal Canadian Navy could be without any active destroyers before the new ones are built at the rate we’re going. But don’t worry – Rona Ambrose assures us that they’re monitoring the situation.

While Vic Toews says the decision still hasn’t been made about repatriating Omar Khadr to Canada, Khadr’s lawyers are calling Toews out for breaking the agreement about bringing him home.

Former Liberal MP (and potential future leadership candidate) Martha Hall Findlay came out with a broadside against supply management yesterday – which the rest of her party still supports. (One of them remarked to me “So she wants us to lose our remaining rural ridings?”) Findlay says that the political effect of ending the system would be minimal, but it is still a contentious issue with a powerful lobby fighting for its retention.

Harper looks to be off to Quebec to try and bolster his image there this summer.

And fears that another Conservative backbencher may be going rogue – this time over the rumours of changes to the fleet separation policy of the East Coast fishery – appear to be for naught, as government sources insist that supposed changes to the policy are mere opposition fabrication and fear mongering.