The coming week will be exciting in Ottawa: we await not one, but two verdicts on contempt of Parliament from the Procedure and House Affairs committee (likely with dissenting opinions from Conservative MPs, of course); then there's the federal budget on Tuesday; and mandatory votes on supplementary estimates by Friday. Yes, it’s going to be a week full of opportunities for the government to fall. But will it? A couple of things have happened that throw doubt on that: word has it that Quebec has a signed understanding with Ottawa about tax harmonization, and the NDP has continued to make conciliatory noises. (They've been talking about Making Parliament Work and making first steps even if it’s not everything.)
The contempt charges are serious business. Even if Bev Oda turned over additional documents with “not” on them (despite it not making sense to use such a system), the parliamentary budget officer confirmed that there were “significant gaps” between the information the government turned over in Wednesday’s document dump and what was asked for. These are serious breaches in the duties of a parliamentary democracy: telling the truth to the legislature and giving members the numbers they need so they are properly informed when it comes to granting supply. Anything less is the erosion of our system of responsible government.
Speaking of ethical issues, here’s a succinct look at what is quickly becoming known as “H2HO." The allegation that Bruce Carson (along with his fiancée, a former escort) used influence peddling while trying to sell water filtration systems to First Nations reserves is putting the Conservatives in a very tight spot.
On that note, Louise Elliott looks at accountability and ethical government five years after the Federal Accountability Act passed and how very little has changed.
Helena Guergis hints that it’s time for a change of leadership in the Conservative Party (albeit a change of leadership that might allow her back into caucus).
There is a human-rights case being led by a dead soldier's father; he has claimed discrimination based on marital status in that his son’s benefits are far less than that of a married soldier. The father says it’s not about the money; it's about fairness.
Michael Ignatieff decries the recent Conservative attack on his family history and his patriotism. At the same time, old RCMP files reveal that he was under surveillance during his student days on the chance that he could have been a subversive radical. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.