Yesterday was the first day of committee hearings on the breach of privilege motions. It wasn't entirely a gong show, but there were plenty of detours and circuitous routes taken with certain witnesses. Two cabinet ministers spoke; both were splitting hairs so frequently, it seemed that the Mulroney defence of “You didn’t ask the right question” was being invoked. Seriously – they’re saying that the 18 justice bills will cost only $681 million. Oh, the $2.1 billion? That’s for prisons, which is different. Seriously. Oh, they also provided huge binders of documents just before they started to speak; Scott Brison quite rightly called them out as being in contempt of Parliament. And yes, this is all grinding us toward an official finding of contempt of Parliament; even Jack Layton says this might change the game with his party’s support for a budget.
The RCMP is now investigating a former advisor to the prime minister on allegations of influence peddling. The PMO's talking points say they have called in the Mounties. The amazing Susan Delacourt reminded us over Twitter that Chrétien did the same over sponsorship.
Speaking of calling in the Mounties, Helena Guergis is in the news again. She's talking about a secret meeting she had with Conservative party brass six months after she was ousted from caucus. Seems they were keen to grill her about her suitability to return to the fold, but it wound up being an attempt to dig for even more dirt. And no, she still doesn't have any answers as to why she was unceremoniously dumped.
Hey, look – more experts cast doubt on the effectiveness of the government’s anti-drug strategy! Because no one saw that coming. At all.
Embassy magazine has a pretty thorough takedown of the government’s use of diaspora politics and ethnic vote-getting in shaping its foreign policy, and how this ends up being counter-productive to integration in the long run.
The Liberals are asking to see the legal advice that Harper cited for the severance payout to disgraced former public sector integrity commissioner Christiane Ouimet.
And political scientist Jonathan Malloy argues that the government is getting away with “bending” all the rules because a disengaged public lets it. And he’s right.