Roundup: The Barrick connection

There are questions as to whether Harper’s Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, is in violation of conflict of interest rules because he sat in on a couple of calls related to Barrick Gold Corp. when they were calling to discuss concerns about government policy on the Falkland Islands, where they have operations. Wright, who is close to Barrick’s founding families, apparently only sat in on the call, and didn’t participate in any way, nor does he has personal financial stake in it – but the conflict of interest rules apparently also apply to friends benefitting, so it looks like this is being referred to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, who will doubtlessly narrowly read the rules, and declare it to be not her problem.

Here are five issues facing the incoming Chief of Defence Staff, Lt-Gen. Tom Lawson. Steve Saideman, the Patterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University, finds it curious that the government chose a CDS with no combat experience. Aaron Wherry collects some of his past quotes in praise of the F-35 and his use of “fifth generation” as though it were a term that had an objective meaning, as opposed to being a trademarked slogan.

The Ontario boundaries redistribution means at least a couple of new Ottawa ridings, including a new one in Nepean. Glen McGregor looks at the situation for Pierre Poilievre – take a relatively safe suburban Nepean seat, or an even safer rural Nepean-Carleton one?

The question of Senator Fairbairn continuing to vote after apparently being declared legally incompetent is raising more questions. Senator Cowan, who leads the Liberals in the Senate, sent out a release asking people to respect her privacy, and her friends and colleagues are letting it be known that they’ve been grappling with how to ensure that she got a graceful exit that didn’t completely rob her of her dignity, as the media coverage now threatens to – especially as the Hill is her comfort zone, where she has worked for over 50 years. And while yes, there are questions as to how long the Liberal leadership should have allowed her to carry on (though indications are they were keeping an eye on her situation and working on the phasing out – she was no longer on committees by this time), I’m not sure that I can abide columnists like Jonathan Kay considering this an indictment of the entire institution, as he leaps to conclusions before hearing more fracts from those more familiar with the situation. David Akin has a much more sensible take on the issue here.

Kady O’Malley takes us through some possible revelations in the “Pierre Poutine” investigation, that shows the culprit had access to passwords to both the RackNine account and the CIMS database.

The CIBC’s analysts say that all of this government spending restraint is going to be a drag on economic growth. Good to know.

Survey data shows that Canadians at large have no idea about the War of 1812. Not that this is a surprise.

After media scrutiny, Carleton University has rewritten the more controversial clauses of the donation agreement around the creation of its school of political management, so that its wealthy patron no longer has final say over staff and curriculum.

And it sounds like Dr. Anna Reid, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association, is also an out lesbian, the first openly gay or lesbian person to hold the position.