Senate scrutiny not slowing down -

Senate scrutiny not slowing down

Tease the day: After weeks of digging into Senate expenses, reporters aren’t letting up


Dennis Rodman is having a grand time in North Korea. Rats are now reading each other’s minds. Senator Mike Duffy was declared eligible to represent Prince Edward Island. What seemed impossible on Monday is now Friday’s reality.

This morning, we learn that the Senate has reduced its investigation of improper expenses to just three Senators: Duffy, Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau. Questions remain about a fourth Senator, Pamela Wallin, who’s already repaid an undisclosed amount of money that she’d previously expensed. That leaves just four Senators in the doghouse, and 100 others playing by the rules. But don’t mistake this for some kind of conclusion to recent debates about Senate transparency and accountability. Reporters are sifting through anything they can to root out bad behaviour. Postmedia‘s Mike De Souza, for example, is asking why Senators who live in Montreal don’t take the free train ride offered to them when they travel to and from the nation’s capital. Malice isn’t rampant, necessarily, but these questions are worth asking. And reporters love to ask them. And dig for more questions. And ask them, too. Senators will have to stay on their toes.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with an apparent federal proposal to require that major procurement bids include apprenticeship programs. The National Post fronts NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s potential struggles to keep his caucus united. The Toronto Star goes just below the fold with Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault’s pending recommendation that elected officials become subject to access-to-information laws. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Ottawa teachers resisting a return to extracurriculars until the government takes a “concrete step” to fix current labour unrest. iPolitics fronts a conversation with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that covered Iran Keystone XL, Mali and North Korea. leads with the so-called “sequester” spending cuts in the United States that kick in today. National Newswatch showcases the CBC News report that Senator Mike Duffy is officially eligible to represent Prince Edward Island in the Senate.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Toronto 18. The Supreme Court decided against hearing the appeal of three of the infamous Toronto 18 terrorists, each of whom are serving sentences of at least 18 years. 2. African oil. A Canadian oil and gas company signed an oil-exploration deal with the Ethiopian government despite receiving threats from a leading rebel group in the country.
3. Triad. A Vancouver hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Board heard about the various elements of Triad gangs, mostly emanating from Hong Kong, that operate in Canada. 4. Medical isotopes. The feds are giving $25 million to three groups who will develop new technology that would produce medical isotopes and replace the current Chalk River reactor.

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Senate scrutiny not slowing down

  1. Marjory LeBreton, government leader in the Senate, says the legal advice they received is that signing a declaration of qualification form that says he is from the island is all it takes.

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that the lawyers they consulted are right, and it’s that easy.

    Another question though is should it be that easy?

    • “Another question though is should it be that easy?”

      Government seems largely ethics free. Very few rules for pols and bureaucrats to break. I don’t know if it’s my feverish imagination or what but it seems like ‘ethics commissioner’ constantly decides that so-and-so was naughty but didn’t break any rules and has promised not to be naughty again.

      • Heck, sometimes the Ethics Commissioner finds that an MP or Cabinet Minister DID break the rules, and nonetheless deems “but he/she has promised not to break the rules again” to be sufficient remedy.

        • The legal system should learn from the Senate:

          If convicted of a serious crime, there will be no jail time if you promise not to do it again.

  2. Well, apparently Harper isn’t too interested in doing anything. Apparently he’s too busy going after poor people.

  3. So why are EI inspectors going to the homes of EI recipients then? EI recipients sign a “declaration” every week that they are available for work. Shouldn’t what’s good for the fat goose also be good for the people of Gander (and anyone anywhere else who is unemployed)?

  4. “What seemed impossible on Monday is now Friday’s reality.”

    You can take Wells’ first rule of politics to the bank – “For any given situation, Canadian politics will tend toward the least exciting possible outcome.”

  5. And the story that is being underreported today is EU dude saying Obama should cancel keystone to combat climate change and show good faith in upcoming EU-US trade negotiation.

  6. The “improper expenses” inquiry does not take into account residency requirements that Harper violated to make some appointments but, if we ignore that issue, all Senators will survive their appointments unscathed regardless of whether or not they even qualified for appointment based on residency in the first place.

    Why is the important issue of non-residency being ignored?

  7. Yeah. According to Conservative Government Leader in the Senate, Marjorie LeBreton, Duffy is a resident of PEI (and therefore eligible to be a PEI Senator) because he says so!

    Oh, what a relief to have that cleared up!

    Thank you, Senators LeBreton and Duffy!