Roundup: A visit from Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in town to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to talk trade, security, and the Eurozone crisis. Later today she’ll be off to Halifax to talk with scientists.

Now that the media has done his due diligence for him, John Baird has announced that the government won’t be funnelling aid money to Syrian rebels through that dubious organisation after all. This isn’t the first time either – during the Libya mission, I heard from Foreign Affairs staff that Baird was looking to turn over millions of dollars to rebel groups there without any due diligence then either until he was talked out of it by cooler heads.

The CBC also takes a look into the delays around finding a new Chief of Defence Staff, and throws a couple of other names on the table. Peter MacKay says the pick will be announced in the “very near future.”

With the trail of robo-call mastermind “Pierre Poutine” growing cold at an open WiFi connection, Elections Canada has now turned to the RCMP for assistance.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard is deeply concerned that government departments have been collecting data from visitors to their websites, storing it, and in some cases turning it over to third parties such as Google. The privacy violations are also in contravention to the government’s own policies, which means that there are also enforcement problems to deal with as well. Incidentally, Stoddard is also keeping an eye on that whole Trapwire issue as well, in case you were worried.

It looks like hacker group Anonymous tried to attack the Parliament of Canada website back in February, before a work-around was found to the DDoS attack.

Oh, look – Shared Services Canada is creating its own procurement arm capable of circumventing the existing government procurement infrastructure.

Not surprisingly, the Ethics Commissioner isn’t going to investigate the donations to Paul Calandra’s riding association in connection with that group seeking a CRTC licence. You guys know that her very narrow mandate pretty much only covers conflicts of interest, right? And that she interprets it very, very narrowly? If you want her to actually look at ethics, you need to change the law that governs her office.

The Council of Canadians’ court challenge of those seven ridings with allegations of voter suppression will be heard in court in December.

The NDP are mulling over the creation of a provincial wing in Quebec, though they would need to bring something specific to the provincial debate. In the interim, they continue to remain steadfastly mum on the current election.

It seems like Marc Garneau is seriously contemplating that Liberal leadership bid, and is currently seeing if he can pull together a leadership team.

And here is another interview with outgoing Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps, wherein she says that gender balance in the Court is important, but bilingualism isn’t such a huge deal.