Roundup: No prorogation until the “mid-term”

In case you were wondering, Stephen Harper has ruled out a prorogation anytime in the near future, but hints that there would be a more extensive cabinet shuffle and new Speech From the Throne in the “mid-term” as they re-jig their longer-term agenda. (Full interview here). All of this media speculation he’s quashing – all that’s left to speculate on is who will fill those six vacant and soon-to-be-vacant Senate seats. Meanwhile, Susan Delacourt wonders if Bev Oda was tricked into resigning if she supposedly got tipped off that she was being shuffled out, and yet Harper said he’s not planning any major shuffles. It does make you think.

Speaking of Oda, it seems that all of her old limousine invoices mysteriously turned up the day after she resigned – even though days ago media outlets were told that those documents didn’t exist. I’m sure the Information Commissioner will be very interested in how that happened.

Failed refugee claimants are being offered $2000 worth of assistance and a one-way plane ticket if they voluntarily return to their country of origin. Some refugee lawyers say it’s humane and voluntary, while others worry it’s a bribe for them to walk away from their legal rights. Apparently this saves taxpayers money because it means CBSA doesn’t have to chase them down for deportation, so everyone (except genuine refugee whose claims have been unfairly denied and who are in danger if they return to their country of origin) wins, right?

Free donuts and $3 gift cards to National Research Council employees who are being shown the door after restructuring their entire operation – what could possibly go wrong?

Senators on both sides of the aisle are decrying the United Church’s position on boycotting Israeli products. Note that at least one of these senators was visibly angry in the chamber the other day about the government plans to investigate the United Church for their charitable activities.

A reminder of the Elections Canada investigative process that Dean Del Mastro grumbles that he’s being unfairly targeted by.

And Conservative backbencher Brent Rathgeber is amazed at the media attention he got for doing his job in criticising cabinet spending. He’s right – this shouldn’t be news, but sadly, it is because almost no backbenchers actually do it. And yes, that is a major problem for the health of our democracy.