Roundup: Thrice lobbied

And now the Nigel Wright/Barrick Gold issue gets interesting, as a late disclosure shows that Barrick tried to lobby him on three separate occasions – despite his close personal ties to the owner’s family. I guess that now we’ll really see how narrowly the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner reads the Act before she likely declares it’s not her problem. And subsequently, how long before we hear yet another appeal from the Lobbying Commissioner to give her office some actual teeth.

The Senator Fairbairn “controversy” is now just getting ugly. National Post columnist Jonathan Kay printed the anonymous concerns of a Conservative Senator concern troll. Said concern troll is concerned that Senator Cowan has no authority over the Liberal caucus because he’s a Martin appointee and most of them are Chrétienites, and the Chrétienites wanted her kept in the Chamber. All of which is pretty ridiculous since there would be zero utility in keeping her vote going, and even more ridiculous is the part about how the PMO wants them to keep quiet, which is why said Conservative Senator wants to remain anonymous. Really, this reads like nothing more than a cowardly and ugly partisan attack that is hiding behind both anonymity and a woman with dementia, which needs to be called out for exactly what it is. It also demonstrates that this concern troll seems to labour under the impression that he’s to do the bidding of the leader’s office, which actually isn’t part of a Senator’s job description, but rather, they’re supposed to be independent, which is the half the point of why they’re appointed and not elected in the first place. They’re not supposed to take their marching order from the party leader’s office, and yet he seems to be assuming that they should be. I also find Senator LeBreton’s concerns of what might have happened if the numbers had been closer a bit rich, considering the Conservative majority in the Senate is quite secure, and that’s probably why Fairbairn was being eased out in the manner she was. Retired Senator Sharon Carstairs says that this is why Canada needs a dementia strategy, which we don’t have, and why the Senate needs more robust support systems. Here’s a speech that Fairbairn made on the topic of Alzheimer’s in 1999, with an awareness that she had a family history with it. And while we’re on the topic, can we please stop using this incident to mount up Senate “reform” hobbyhorses? It’s in poor taste, and in fact wrong to somehow equate any of these issues.

Nathan Cullen is trying to be allowed to cross-examine department officials at the Northern Gateway review panel, but the government is trying to block his request because his submitted questions don’t deal with evidence that has been presented by other parties and would undermine the panel’s rules of play. But seriously – Cullen is an MP. If he wants to cross-examine department officials, why doesn’t he just summon them before a Parliamentary committee?

Here’s a look at why the Royal Canadian Navy seems to always be the bridesmaid and rarely ever the bride when it comes to being the Chief of Defence Staff. Also curious is the fact that nobody will say how old the new CDS actually is.

While there is a rise in “green on blue” violence against NATO troops in Afghanistan, it seems that the Canadian trainers’ approach is engendering more trust and we’re not seeing the same attacks against our troops that the Americans are.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks fishing with Stephen Harper. Hey, remember when Harper told Stéphane Dion wasn’t his thing? When did that change?

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth is trying to keep his non-binding motion on the definition of human being alive, even though it’s doomed to failure. And remember, it’s a non-binding motion, not a private member’s bill, and even if it passes and they send it to a committee to study the issue, the government can just say “Thank you very much” and put it on a shelf to never be seen again.

Neil Macdonald remembers Archie Barr, one of the men who built CSIS and saw that it had levels of public oversight and accountability – things the current government is in the process of dismantling in the name of “cost-cutting.”

PEI is offering tourism courses on how to run more gay-friendly businesses.

And Philippe Lagassé discusses the fact that while we obsess over the royal family when talking about the monarchy, we rarely look at the Crown prerogatives that the government exercises, and what they actually mean, especially considering how often they’re part of the news cycle of late (Omar Khadr, Helena Guergis, Kyoto treaty, to name a few).