Here are the three things you should not have missed:
- Senator Mike Duffy repays his residency expenses
- Bernard Valcourt gets a new ministry
- Cyber-attacks on Canadian companies
Power & Politics opened with the breaking news that Senator Mike Duffy was going to repay his $42,000 in claimed living expenses, claiming that the controversy had become a distraction to trying to get money for the province from ACOA. Duffy blamed the Senate rules and the “unclear” form that he filled out when claiming the expenses, and said that his retaining his Ontario health card and staying at the Inn on Great George in Charlottetown in the winter has to do with his heart condition. Later on Power Play, they aired Duffy’s interview with Steve Murphy, where he said that no Parliamentarian could meet PEI’s residency law because it calls for 183 consecutive days. Duffy also said that he has “Money in the bank of public opinion,” and that people know he wouldn’t try to “fiddle with” his expenses.
After Bernard Valcourt was named the new minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Hannah Thibedeau spoke with Government House Leader Peter Van Loan, who said that Valcourt has the cabinet experience for such a complex file with many moving parts, and that they continue to move ahead with last year’s meeting on education issues, and the January 11th meeting on the treaty process. Thibedeau then spoke with AFN Saskatchewan Chief Perry Bellegarde, who also praised Valcourt’s experience and his good relations with the First Nations on the east coast, and hoped that Valcourt would have the mandate and authority to talk about Section 35 of the constitution, and the new mechanism around treaty negotiation. On Power Play, Libby Davies said they were hoping someone more senior would be appointed to the portfolio, while Caroline Bennett hoped that Valcourt would appear at committee next week to discuss the estimates.
After CBC reported about the ten-day delay that Canada’s Cyber Incident Response Centre took with regards to an attack against a Canadian company controlling infrastructure, Thibedeau summoned an MP panel of Chris Alexander, Charmaine Borg and Francis Scarpaleggia to discuss the issue. Alexander noted the government funding for the Centre and said that while there was room for improvement, they were taking the Auditor General’s comments on board. Borg said that the Centre should operate 24/7 as hackers don’t operate during business hours, while Scarpaleggia said that the government needs to answer questions before a parliamentary committee about how the $155 million is being spent, and what kinds of plans were in place.
- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney touted the reduction in asylum claims from designated “safe countries” since the implementation of new rules.