Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Michael Sona on the Saskatchewan push-poll
- Lowell Murray on the trouble facing those three senators
- Brent Rathgeber on the role of backbenchers
Question Period spoke with Michael Sona, the former Conservative staffer who resigned after being accused of being behind to the Guelph robo-calls, and who continues to insist that he had no involvement. Sona said that it has been a bad week for Conservative party communications director Fred Delorey, whose excuse about internal miscommunications with the Saskatchewan was not credible considering the centralization in party headquarters, after Delorey was caught out for lying to the media when asked about the party’s involvement. Sona added that until the Elections Canada investigation into Guelph gets to the bottom of what happened, he can’t move on with his life.
On The House, retired Progressive Conservative senator Lowell Murray (first ten minutes) weighed in on the current allegations against Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Harb, noting that the allegations were brought forward by the media based on information provided by the Senate itself. With regards to Duffy’s situation, Murray said that if it could be proved that Duffy’s primary residence is not PEI, it would likely mean his career as a Senator is finished, as he no longer qualifies under the constitution to sit for the province. Murray said that if Duffy can produce records to show that he files his taxes from PEI, it would settle the constitutional question, but not necessarily the question of his breaking Senate rules.
The West Block spoke with Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber, who recently blogged about the role of backbenchers – including government ones – in holding the executive to account. Rathgeber disputed the premise that only the executive has importance in the system, and said that legislators have an important role in holding the government to account and ensuring that the executive pays attention to the tax dollars that they spend. Rathgeber said that while it is difficult to serve more than one master, his primarily loyalty is to his electors, and would have to look at issues on a case-by-case basis if he is put in a position of voting against the government. He added that he was not in Ottawa to be in cabinet, but was elected to serve in Parliament.
- Peter Van Loan intimated that it was the fault of the provinces for not “electing” senators as to why Patrick Brazeau got appointed, while NDP MP Craig Scott said that his party might be in favour of “transitional change” on the road to abolition.