The new consensus


Last week, Michael Ignatieff said the auditor general and the Board of Internal Economy should discuss their differences over an audit of MP expenses. Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office said likewise. And just now, Jack Layton’s office sent out the following.

The issue of MPs expenses and the Auditor General has dominated much of the media attention of the past few days.

MPs expenses are currently indepedantly audited and are publicly available online, as per all rules and regulations currently in place.  New Democrats are fully confident that the process works, but we also understand that members of the media and of the public in general would like more information.

We believe that the Board of Internal Economy should consider further discussion on this issue. New Democrats are certainly never been opposed to having the BOIE continue the dialogue with the Auditor General to improve accountability and efficient use of public money.

Meanwhile, the Hill Times reports that since 2006, the Board has paid to cover the costs of 29 lawsuits.


The new consensus

  1. The cracks in the House are complete. Watch for a deal this week. Fraser wins again and that is good for Canada.

    • so let me get this straight, do you want more rule by technocrats or less?

  2. Did you retype this? It's full of errors.

  3. That does seem all to the good.

    The Hill Times is reporting on another story today I see that is also getting prominent coverage at National Newswatch: Iggy's dismal leadership. Liberals are not impressed with Iggy's leadership skills, said one insider quoted in the article:

    "The bottom line is the guy doesn't have a whole lot of political aptitude, shall we say. That's not going to turn around. He's been in the House now for several years, he's been the leader de facto for over a year, and the direction is still south," said the insider who spoke to The Hill Times on condition of anonymity. "There would be a lot more interest in dumping him if there was a significant replacement in the wings. And that's doing more to keep him alive than anything else."

    • In other words, the Liberals to seem to have arrived at the same consensus as Canadians have about Iggy.

      • What was the topic again? Oh ya, MP expenses.

        Trying to change the subject.

        • Iggy's leadership does seem to be a pervasive topic of discussion these days.

          • Around you especially.

      • "'There would be a lot more interest in dumping him if there was a significant replacement in the wings. And that's doing more to keep him alive than anything else.'"

        Well, he's learned something from Harper.

  4. Ignatieff is missing a huge opportunity here. Say you'll open the books to the AG! It's going to happen anyways, so be the first leader to SAY it should happen!

    • "Ignatieff is missing a huge opportunity here."

      You appreciate that that phrase has become a truism.

  5. 29 lawsuits between 2006 and 2009 seems rather high to me. Does anyone have any historical data to compare this to?

    • Hard to do comparatives when you don't have access to the data.

    • Curious, the number of lawsuits since the Cons won is available,
      what about since the last audit, 1991-2005, the Chretien/Marin years?

      • Don't let the complete lack of information interrupt your partisanship, wilson.

  6. Let me out-digress jarrid…
    According to Sheila Copps writing in the Hill Times (Go Sheila!) Jean Chretien is coming to the Hill tomorrow to unveil his portrait.
    Sheila is suggesting that former Liberal leader Chretien go up to the fourth floor office of his successor…then Hill Times cuts me off – because I didn't pay their subscription….but I'm guessing Our Sheila went on"…and grab him by the throat and shake him out of his lethargy…sort yourself out boy – or I'll come out of retirement – and Sheila too!"…
    There you go jarrid – take that back to your PMO lair and cringe!

    • WW, I'll admit you had Iggy pegged way before I did. I'd be curious to know who Jean Chretien thinks has the stuff to lead the Liberals these days, Chretien sized up both Martin and Iggy pretty well.

      I'd bet he thinks Rae would be up to the task.

      • Why not figure out who Harper fears most?

  7. I think he'd find Rae to be a worthy opponent.

  8. All the more reason for MPs to release the data promptly. But in the meantime, hasn't someone, somewhere been keeping tabs on the number of lawsuits launched against MPs?

    • Well CR, one way of looking at it might be to compare this to a situation with a private company employer. Consider the number of persons being covered, i.e., the size of the enterprise. You've got 308 MPs, plus their staff. I'm just taking a wild guess here, but you've presumably got a lot more staff than MPs. So if that's the case, you could be talking about north of 1000 people working for the place. Over the course of 4 years, that's, in a typical employment enterprise, going to result in a certain number of employment-related lawsuits (e.g., wrongful dismissal).

      But the big thing we don't know here is if this includes "wingnut" lawsuits from John and Jane Q. Public (e.g., random wacko sues his/her MP — or all MPs collectively — because wacko claims that MPs are lizard alien people taking over the planet — all done, of course, without consulting a lawyer). I remember from my days in federal politics that MPs and their constituency offices do tend to have to deal with certain constituents who are both unhinged and litigious (those two characteristics tend to go hand in hand).

      • Good point. Hopefully, many of the 29 lawsuits will turn out to be "wingnut" lawsuits, rather than sexual harassment suits, wrongful dismissal suits and other unpleasantness.

    • We're paying for these suits to be settled and those that are suing are made to sign non-disclose agreements. Can you see a problem here?

  9. My god. Could we hate our politicians any more? Let's let the poor bastards govern.

    MPs traditionally circle the wagons on this issue for a reason. No one wins when we get a bunch of righteous indignation about how many times Mr. MP flew between Ottawa and his riding.

    We all want accountability, but we want to follow the logic of "the beatings will continue until morale improves"…

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