Politics on TV: Dissecting Peter Penashue's resignation

The three things you need to see

Here are the three things you should not have missed:

  1. Peter Penashue’s resignation
  2. Previewing the budget
  3. Charges recommended for Guelph robocalls

Exit Penashue:

After Intergovernmental Affairs minister Peter Penashue announced his resignation over elections spending violations, Power & Politics first heard from senior correspondent Terry Milewski, who said that Penashue had no choice because there was no defence against the violations. Milewski said that while Penashue blamed his official agent, Reg Bowers, calling him inexperienced, Bowers was an accountant with many years’ experience who later got a government patronage appointment – which he resigned from as well today. The three main violations Penashue is accused of include accepting free flights, an interest-free loan, and improper corporate donations. Evan Solomon then spoke with MPs Jack Harris and Dominic LeBlanc – but no one from the government was made available. Harris said the allegations were serious, but ultimately went back to the party’s ethical standards. LeBlanc noted that the candidate also signs the papers the official agent prepares, and is responsible, and that it was surprising that Harper would sign the nomination papers of a candidate that demonstrates either gross incompetence or who broke the rules, but he apparently will as Penashue will run in a by-election. Later in the show, Laura Payton revealed that Penashue repaid $30,000 – more than they have calculated the donations to be, and added that she’s not sure where the money comes from because the campaign was broke and needed that questionable loan to pay the bills.

Upcoming budget:

As Jim Flaherty has announced that March 21st will be Budget Day, Evan Solomon held an MP panel of Kellie Leitch, Peggy Nash, and John McCallum to discuss it. Leitch said that she wouldn’t speculate on the budget, and then repeated good news talking points. Nash said that Flaherty wasn’t listening to the needs of Canadians and listed the cuts he has made to date, and said that she wants more investment in things like infrastructure. McCallum said that the Liberals are calling for a freeze on EI premiums, and would like to see a ten-year infrastructure program, but said that he doesn’t expect to see anything other than billions in cuts and boasts about millions in expenditures.

Robocall charges:

Power Play spoke with Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor about the news that Elections Canada is recommending for charges for the Guelph robocalls in the last election connected to “Pierre Poutine.” McGregor noted that the investigation has been ongoing for 21 months, and that investigators now have enough evidence to proceed with charges. The Commissioner of Elections has referred the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will decide if he will lay charges. McGregor also said that there are continuing investigations in a couple of hundred other ridings, and the rumours are that more than one person was named in the Guelph report.

Worth Noting:

  • Conservative MP Scott Armstrong was profiled as part of the Power Play Commons Folk feature, where he spoke about his experience as a school principle, his riding, and how he traces his roots back to Sir John A. Macdonald’s sister.