If reporters tossed a dime into a jar every time they called the House of Commons board of internal economy a “secretive, all-party committee,” someone would be rich. Not that the claim is untrue. Today, the board decided that New Democrats broke the rules when they flooded Canadian mailboxes with taxpayer-funded partisan literature. The NDP denies any wrongdoing and says all mailings were cleared by Commons staff, as well as Speaker Andrew Scheer. Tory MP John Duncan says the NDP should apologize to the Speaker, “who they know darn well is in no position to defend himself.” Commons staff will soon recommend penalties. The mailings would have cost millions of dollars, sent by regular mail.
Expect the government benches to throw that controversy at New Democrats during Question Period at every opportunity, context be damned. That distraction will help the Tories bury today’s news about Daniel Therrien, the Prime Minister’s pick for privacy commissioner who opposition and academic critics say faces a conflict of interest because he advised Canada’s security agencies and devised current government policy on privacy issues. At a Commons committee this morning, Therrien said he would split apart a cyberbullying bill the government insists should remain whole. Parliament’s newest watchdog seems eager to prove he’s nobody’s lapdog.
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