Here are the three things you should not have missed:
Power Play got a briefing from reporter Daniele Hamamdijan about the charges laid against two former CFIA scientists – Dr. Klaus Nielsen and Wei Ling Yu. Nielsen was arrested at the Ottawa airport carrying 17 vials of brucella, while there is a warrant out for Yu’s arrest, though she is believed to be in China. Both are charged with breach of trust. Don Martin then spoke with Keith Warriner of the University of Guelph, who said that brucella is a rather nasty pathogen, more common in the days before pasteurizing milk, which is highly contagious and can cause flu-like symptoms for months. Warriner said he suspects the pair were not trying to sell it to Chinese agents, but were likely trying to get samples to someone doing research on the pathogen there. On Power & Politics, it was noted that China has seen rampant brucella outbreaks, and that Nielsen helped to develop a test for the pathogen that can save whole herds from being culled.
Power & Politics spoke with reporter Harvey Cashore, who was one of the Canadian journalists who received information as part of the leak given to the Consortium of Investigative Journalists that contained hundreds of thousands of documents on offshore bank acconts and tax evasion schemes. That information implicated some 450 Canadians, including the husband of a Liberal senator. Evan Solomon then put the issue to an MP panel of Shelly Glover, Murray Rankin and Scott Brison, where Glover touted the many ways in which the government is closing tax loophopes and providing the Canada Revenue Agency with more tools to go after tax cheats. Rankin called the moves baby steps, and noted the cuts to 3000 CRA staff over the past three years, and the lack of automatic tax information exchange agreements between countries. Brison called it a question of resources, noted that in 2005, the Liberal government devoted $30 million to going after tax evasion, which netted $2.5 billion in recovered revenue, and that there is estimated to be a $30 trillion shadow economy globally.
With the charge laid against former Conservative campaign worker Michael Sona in relation to the Guelph robocalls investigation Solomon had an MP panel of Michelle Rempel, Paul Dewar and John McCallum to discuss the implications. Rempel noted that the Conservatives worked proactively with Elections Canada, and that because local campaigns are separate and distinct from the national campaign, linking the two in connection to improper calls was potentially libellous. Dewar apparently threw out the presumption of innocence and declared “Sona did not act alone,” and said that it was now up to the lawyers to examine the evidence. McCallum said that it was critical that faith in Elections Canada be re-established, and that their proposed legislative amendments be implemented before the next election.
- Power & Politics reported that Bruce Heyman of Goldman Sachs is the top choice to be the new American ambassador to Canada.
- Liberal leadership candidate Karen McCrimmon said that her conscience is clear, that she listened to her heart, and that Canadians are waiting for the Liberals to get their stuff back together.
- Evan Solomon had a two-part exit interview with Bob Rae to mark the end of his time as interim Liberal leader.