Toronto Star – Conservatives not helping Elections Canada on robocalls,election-law reform
Federal Conservatives have been dragging their feet in helping Elections Canada get to the bottom of alleged fraud in the 2011 campaign, according to Canada’s chief electoral officer, Marc Mayrand. And the Conservative government hasn’t consulted with Elections Canada on reforms that Mayrand says are urgently needed to be turned into law by next spring, if Canada is to avoid the kind of dirty tricks and alleged fraud still hanging over the last election.
Torstar (Thomas Walkom) – Senate and robocall scandals different versions of same pathology
In short, whoever committed this fraud almost certainly had access to the Conservatives’ carefully guarded computers. Second, the judge found the Conservatives to be unduly obstructionist, at one point referring to their delaying tactics as a form of “trench warfare.” The Conservative Party itself, he noted, made “little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset.” Indeed, Mosley was so unimpressed by Conservative tactics that, in a break with normal practice, he awarded key court costs to the lawsuit’s losers.
RIGHT WING MEDIA – OR SHOULD I SAY FORMER RIGHT WING MEDIA
NP (John Ivison) – Stephen Harper making things worse for himself with silence over Mike Duffy
(Pretty good article from a columnist who has been a staunch defender of the Harper regime. Reader comments are great too – and this is the right wing National Post.)
Mr. Martin, and I dare say most Canadians, would likely agree with termination when it comes to the Senate, particularly if they watched the Red Chamber’s internal economy committee Tuesday evening. It revealed that Senator Mike Duffy claimed 49 days of per diems to cover his expenses in Ottawa when he does not appear to have been in the national capital region. Twenty-four of those claims were turned down by the Senate administration, so it was clear someone knew there was a pattern of questionable behaviour.
iPolitics (Tasha Kheiriddin) – The robocall ruling: Have we hit bottom yet?
Is there any integrity left in the Conservative party? If so, it’s getting harder and harder to find. Just as the Senate spending scandal was cresting in Ottawa and the prime minister was AWOL in South America, the Federal Court delivered a legal bombshell that strikes at the core of the democratic system: Canadians’ right to vote.
G&M (Jeffrey Simpson) Conservatives have been sailing close to the wind
Then there was the “robocalls” affair, recently the subject of a ruling from a judge of the Federal Court. He found that Conservative candidates in six ridings were not involved in telephone calls that told supporters of other parties that polling station locations had changed. But he noted that the calls were based on Conservative Party lists.
Conservative spokespeople immediately cried victory because their MPs were exonerated. But the judge noted that these MPs had tried systematically to “block these proceedings by any means.” Moreover, left open was the obvious question: Who would have had access to the Conservative Party’s lists if not a person or persons close to the party?
Canada.com (Michael Den Tandt) – Harper’s Conservatives burned too many bridges to earn benefit of the doubt
The ground is shifting in Ottawa. Everyone can feel it and few would privately deny it, least of all the woebegone Conservatives, who are busting new spokes, springing new leaks, any old metaphor will do, by the day.
The question is why. Why all this, why now? It’s not just about the metastasizing spectacle of the Duffy expense-claims mess, or the curious exploding contagion of ancillary scandals, or the sudden focus on debate in a Senate that has been catatonic for, oh, 150 years, or the clash of reactive positioning from opposition leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
Harper comments on Harper (VIDEO)
OTHER OPINION PIECES
iPolitics (Michael Harris) – Is Duffy a bomb set to explode in Harper’s face?
Could it be that Harper, eyes popping as his pulse weakens, is twitching in a mouse-trap of his own making? Could it be that Mike Duffy only did what the PMO asked him to do — pass the Kentucky Fried Chicken barrel for the party at fundraising events across Canada, while working on the Senate’s dime? Does Duffy have proof his marching orders came from the PMO — including possibly damning details in the matter of the $90,000 gift from Harper’s former chief-of-staff?
Torstar (Thomas Walkom) -New EI tribunal promises good pay for Conservatives, bad wages for the rest of us
Undeterred by the Senate scandal, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is quietly forging ahead with its war against good wages…..So far, most public attention on the new Social Security Tribunal has focused on the juicy patronage opportunities it offers the government. When the tribunal is fully staffed, its 74 full-time members will earn between $91,800 and $231,500 a year. (To put this in context, members of the much-maligned Senate receive a basic salary of $135,200.)
A CRIMINAL ENTOURAGE
Ottawa Citizen – Former CSIS watchdog boss Arthur Porter arrested on fraud charges
The former head of Canada’s spy-agency watchdog, who received prestigious appointments from different levels of government and was nearly honoured with a street in his name, has been arrested abroad on fraud charges.
Arthur Porter has been detained by Panamanian authorities, along with his wife Pamela, several months after Quebec police announced they wanted to charge him in connection with the province’s ongoing corruption scandals.
ANOTHER POTENTIALLY DISASTROUS APPOINTMENT
Toronto Star – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bodyguard, Mountie Bruno Saccomani, faces workplace harassment probe
The Star has learned that RCMP Supt. Bruno Saccomani, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bodyguard since 2006 who is about to become Canada’s ambassador to Jordan, faces several ongoing investigations for workplace harassment.
Vancouver Sun – Coast Guard did not do written report on risk analysis of closing Kitsilano rescue base
The federal government, which has always said it did a careful analysis of the potential public safety risk of shutting down the Canadian Coast Guard station in Kitsilano, says it has no report showing the review’s findings.
That was the message in a letter this month to B.C. New Democratic Party MP Fin Donnelly. Donnelly had filed a request under the Access to Information Act seeking a copy of a report that Donnelly assumed had been produced by Coast Guard officials.
Huff Post – Tory Bill Targeting Unions Has No Backing From Constitutional Experts
The bill was drafted by lawyers from the House of Commons and one of those experts testified before a private member’s business sub-committee that the bill “met all tests including constitutionality,” the bill’s creator, MP Russ Hiebert, said in an email to Huffington Post Canada. Hiebert has said the bill was brought “to a variety of constitutional experts in Canada … and they assured us the way its drafted would sustain any constitutional challenge.” But when asked at a press conference in December to name some of the experts, he replied: “I don’t have their consent to disclose their names.”
Montreal Gazette – Harper government eliminated reviews for oilsands projects following warnings of water disruption
The federal government removed some oilsands projects from a list of those requiring environmental screenings, after being told in an internal memorandum that this form of industrial development could disturb water sources and harm fish habitat.
The memo to the deputy minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, dated May 5, 2011, came a year before Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government introduced hundreds of pages of changes to Canada’s environmental laws, which will allow the government to exclude some oilsands projects from reviews.
G&M (Gerald Caplan) – Harper should not be promoting mining interests in Peru
For years, knowledgeable civil society critics have demanded that Canadian mining operations abroad be toughly regulated. Both Opposition parties strongly favor such regulations, which Liberal MP John McKay has incorporated in a private members bill now before parliament. Yet the government continues to take the corporate side, insisting, against a mountain of evidence, that voluntary codes are sufficient. That’s why an extraordinary 75 per cent of all the world’s mining companies have registered in Canada.
FOR THE RECORD
Justin Trudeau blasted for defending senate (But what did he really say?)
Trudeau said it is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives who want to hurt B.C. and Alberta by pushing to create an elected Senate without making other changes. Giving senators additional democratic legitimacy by electing them will make the Senate more powerful. Unless the seat distribution is changed, Trudeau said, that will hurt B.C. and Alberta which are grossly under-represented in the Senate given their populations and economic clout. “Electing senators will have a terrible impact on the West,” Trudeau told The Sun.
Canada.com – Western premiers slam Justin Trudeau over Senate comments
Western premiers joined a wave of Conservative MPs Monday in slamming Justin Trudeau over the Liberal leader’s argument in favour of keeping the $91.5-million-a-year Senate…..“He opposes abolition because Senate status quo gives advantage to Quebec over the West,” Wall wrote on his Twitter account…..
The Harper government’s Senate election plan, meanwhile, would hurt B.C. and Alberta because it would give democratic legitimacy and therefore greater power to an institution in which the two provinces are grossly under-represented, Trudeau said.