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Reviewing the tapes

Today’s Robocon update is that the
Conservatives will be reviewing the tapes of calls made out of the Responsive Marketing Group
(RMG) call centre during the election before they turn them over to Elections
Canada. While people immediately say that it’s in order to scrub them, in fact, it’s so they can get ahead on their damage control. This
after a QP spent repeating factually incorrect information that the Liberals
were supposedly using American call centres (when they weren’t) and that many
of the harassing numbers recorded were actually spoofed. Meanwhile, it seems
that one of the companies that RMG merged with has a very sordid past. Also,
the CBC gives us a primer on robo-calling and the art of identifying voters
during an election.

In related news, Irwin Cotler writes about
the Conservatives’ continued denials of involvement and refusal to apologize
for the campaign of harassment they have pursued in his riding, despite
their having admitted to the “survey” indicating that he was due to resign. Also,
defeated former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj is going to court over
irregularities in the last election that cost him his close (26 vote) race.

The omnibus crime bill passed the Senate at
midnight on a vote of 48 to 37. Conservative Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin voted
against the bill, as did Progressive Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy (who
live-blogged the debate here) and independent Senator Anne Cools. (Oh, and
everyone who insists the Senate does nothing should look at the huge amount of
work and long hours senators put in on this bill over the last three weeks. When
was the last time MPs debated bills until midnight and sat through a constituency
week for 10-plus hours? And no, the filibuster doesn’t count.)

The pre-release ad campaign of the budget –
or Economic Action Plan 2012™, as it's been branded, is costing the
federal treasury $12 million. Age of austerity, everyone!

Now that his plans on overhauling the
refugee system to suit his image are fully underway, Jason Kenney plans to tackle the immigration system, making it more “market responsive” and allowing
employers to choose candidates to be streamed in faster. He also wants to model
the system after Australia’s, where stricter language testing has meant far
fewer immigrants from non-English-speaking countries.

Rob Anders got another case of the
, this time while the veterans affairs committee was in Halifax at a
presentation by a group who helps homeless veterans. Not surprisingly, the
veterans group is outraged.

Some senators are concerned that they are
giving their committees too-broad mandates to pursue studies, and that could
lead to exorbitant travel costs.

Here’s a look at the issues surrounding the CCSVI bill that died in the Commons on Wednesday, including how hard the minister
was lobbying against it.

The privacy commissioner argues that we don’t
need to expand Fintrac, which is supposed to combat terrorist financing and
money laundering.

And make of the motives what you will:
Conservative insiders claim Thomas Mulcair once demanded a cabinet position in exchange for joining their party (at the time, he was courting all parties after
quitting the Quebec legislature) before he ultimately joined the NDP.

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