By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
Last night, via email, I asked Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government’s leader in the Senate, about the Senate’s investigation of Mike Duffy. Specifically: Do you have any reason to believe the Senate investigation and audit of Mr. Duffy’s expenses were affected by the agreement between Mr. Duffy and Mr. Wright?
Here is her response.
The audits tabled are those received from Deloitte. The covering reports from Internal Economy used language for Harb and Brazeau to facilitate the recovery of the money. The language was not used in the Report on Duffy because the money had been paid back. These reports were written and approved by the Internal Economy Committee and no one else.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:41 PM - 0 Comments
And so we return to the existential question of Mike Duffy’s place in this world.
“Even the bogus investigation by his hand-picked cronies in the Senate,” Thomas Mulcair charged, rather audaciously and perhaps imprudently, in the Prime Minister’s direction this afternoon, “found that Mike Duffy does not maintain a primary residence on Prince Edward Island. The Constitution requires that a senator ‘be a resident of the province for which he is appointed.’ The Conservatives now admit, through their own bogus investigation, that Mr. Duffy is not a resident of PEI, yet still say that he is qualified to be a senator from PEI. Why is the Prime Minister allowing this continuous fraud by the Conservatives in the Senate?”
The Prime Minister’s interpretation of the day’s news differed somewhat.
“Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, an independent external auditor was brought in to examine all of these expenses,” Mr. Harper explained. “He looked obviously at the expenses of three particular senators who have had some difficulty.”
Let us from this day forward remember this moment in Senate history as the Great Difficulty. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:16 PM - 0 Comments
The Senate report on housing allowances for senators is here. The Senate committee makes three recommendations.
In order to improve stewardship of Senate operations with respect to primary and secondary declarations, your Committee makes the following recommendations:
1. That accompanying their primary residence declaration each senator furnish a driver’s licence, a health card and the relevant page of their income tax form each and every time the declaration is signed. This declaration is signed annually for the purpose of claiming living expenses in the NCR.
2. that the Internal Economy Committee instruct management to standardize terminology in the Senate’s policy instruments;
3. that the Senators’ Travel Policy be reviewed to comply with primary residence declarations.
The expenses of four senators—Mike Duffy, Mac Harb, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau—remain under review.
The committee sets aside the larger issue of the constitutional residency requirement, but the question remains. The Prime Minister apparently believes that all senators meet the requirement. Pending further clarification of precisely what the Constitution Act requires, he might be right.
In other news, senators might save money by taking the train for free.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM - 0 Comments
The Senate committee on internal economy announced this morning that it has referred the “residency declarations and related expenses” of senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb to an independent auditor. The committee is also “seeking legal advice on the question of Senator Duffy’s residency.”
In response, Senator Duffy has issued the following statement.
“As a Prince Edward Islander, born and bred, I am proud to represent my province and its interests in the Senate of Canada.
I represent taxpayers with care, and Canadians know I would never do anything to betray the public trust. I have a home in Prince Edward Island as required by law. I will have no further comment until this review is complete.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 11:22 PM - 0 Comments
MPs and Senators celebrated Chinese New Year at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa….
MPs and Senators celebrated Chinese New Year at the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa. The event was put on by the Chinese New Year Celebration Committee. The Year of the Snake celebration saw Liberal Sen. Mac Harb was dressed as the God of Fortune.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 10:30 AM - 2 Comments
This weeks gossip from the hill
He wore his nerdiest tie just for her
Ferne Downey, the national president of ACTRA, and several actors, were recently on the Hill for the opening of the CRTC hearings. “The actors are up here to talk about Canadian content while the big slugfest is going on between the broadcasters and cable companies,” says Downey. One star who was supposed to be there was Grace Park. She played “Boomer” on the TV series Battlestar Galactica, which wrapped up this year. Steven Fletcher, minister of state for democratic reform and a huge Battlestar Galactica fan, was very excited about meeting Park, who grew up in Canada. Says the Winnipeg MP: “I wore one of my nerdiest ties—it has the periodic table on it.” Then at the last minute Park had to cancel her trip. “I was stood up by a cylon,” laments Fletcher. Downey says Fletcher shouldn’t feel bad; he’ll get another opportunity to meet Park. “She sent me a personal email and said, ‘This is a Canadian cause, Ferne, anything I can do next time around, I am all yours.’ ”
He always wondered why they played that music
For quite some time NDP MP Charlie Angus has been an occasional talk show guest on Wawatay radio, which broadcasts in the Aboriginal languages spoken in its northern Ontario reach. Whenever he visited the station, though, Angus never understood why the staff played the theme from the old TV show Spider-Man. Finally, the hosts confessed that they think the MP, with his flat-top haircut, looks like newspaperman J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man comics.
He’ll be watching you
When the Parliamentary Restaurant announced it will be serving seal meat, Liberal Sen. Mac Harb scoffed, “It is lip service to an industry that is in need of transition.” Harb is often the lone anti-seal-hunt voice on the Hill. “There are others, but they are all in the closet,” he says. Harb will not boycott the restaurant. In fact, “I will go and I will watch who is eating it. I want to see first-hand which of my colleagues is going to make a habit of it. The chef is great [there]. He will probably over-sauce it to bury the true taste.” Even seal-fur fashion angers the senator. He doesn’t think there’s any demand for it and even if there was, “it doesn’t look good.” When Capital Diary mentioned Liberal MP Larry Bagnell’s sealskin vest, Harb replied: “I’m not sure it looks great on Larry. He can’t go modelling with that. But that’s his business.”
Bernier’s one take
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has been getting better at blogging (www.maximebernier.com). The Conservative party, he says, is not too thrilled that he has a blog, but he sees it as a way to interact with his constituents and fellow Canadians. He writes often about the economy and does videos in both English and French. The first video he did took him more than 30 minutes for a three-minute, 27-second clip in both English and French. Now he says he can do the French ones in one take and the English ones in two.
Transport Minister John Baird had his deceased cat, Thatcher, cremated last week. (Thatcher is the cat that caused international headlines when a “Thatcher’s dead” message had Stephen Harper’s office calling London to conﬁrm whether Margaret Thatcher had died.) One friend said Baird’s cat had a very calming influence on the minister. So calming, in fact, his staff would sometimes stick a picture of her on Baird’s cabinet briefing notes.
After Chancellor Angela Merkel rearranged her cabinet following the last German election, Canada’s Jim Flaherty holds a new record: he’s now the longest currently serving finance minister in the G7.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 10:57 AM - 5 Comments
Mac Harb, noted opponent of the seal hunt, dissents on Parliament’s decision to serve seal in the dining room.
“The harp seal that they are talking about and are so excited about, it tastes horrible,” said Liberal Senator Mac Harb, a former municipal politician in Ottawa.
He said he was told by people who have tried seal that it tastes bad, but has not tried it himself. ”If they were to do this, it would be important for them to take a leadership role and have a feast first before any other members of Parliament so they can see first-hand how tasty it is. I’m sure they’ll conclude quite quickly it’s not edible.”
A correspondent with Gourmet magazine sampled seal a year ago. A raw piece of liver was described as “salty, smooth like sushi, and imbued with a scent of sea so strong I felt as if I were eating ocean.” The boiled ribs were “soft and somewhat rubbery, not as tender as pork, but again steeped with that satisfying hint of the sea.” And the brains were “creamy.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 4:21 PM - 35 Comments
Mr. Rodney Weston (Saint John, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Liberals is mounting and Canadians are not falling for it. Their leader supported a job-killing carbon tax until he realized it was not popular. Now he says he will have to raise taxes, despite being in a global recession. Can the Minister of Health tell the House about the latest hypocritical attack on Canadians during these tough economic times?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today the Liberals pandered to the special interest groups in a blatant attack on Canadian sealers. Senator Harb’s loaded political opportunisms rubbed salt in the wounds of sealers whose income he campaigns against with the blessing of the Liberal leader. It is unconscionable. I finally understand why the Liberal Party wants to change the EI. By the time they are finished, Canadians will all be out of work.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 12:47 PM - 34 Comments
When a Liberal senator tried to move a bill last month that would’ve ended the seal hunt, seven different Conservative MPs were sent up to express their genuine outrage with the senator, Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal party. Elizabeth May and Warren Kinsella were singled out for scorn too.
“This is appalling,” gasped Gail Shea, the Fisheries Minister.
“When will the Liberal leader quit his assault on rural Canadians?” begged Chris Warkentin.
For good measure, Shea’s department sent out three press releases attacking the Liberal side (an improper use of government resources that would eventually necessitate an apology).
One trusts that the Prime Minister’s finely tuned moral compass will demand an equally forceful response to news that Barack Obama’s not much of a fan of the seal hunt either. The letter in question surfaced two weeks ago and received coverage in Newfoundland the next day.