Scroll down for the liveblog from today's meeting.
Well, that went down pretty much exactly as predicted in OotD, didn't it? Well, aside from the unusual, if understandable step taken by Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson in an effort to preempt any further questions on New Democratic Party fundraising practices: In her opening statement, the commissioner revealed she had actually rejected Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's request that her office investigate the matter, citing insufficient grounds to do so within her current mandate, which does not, in fact, cover political parties. In fact, political parties, activities and fundraising are explicitly exempt from the provisions of the Members' Code of Conduct.
She did, however, ask Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel for additional information, presumably on her party's sale of advertising space and sponsorship rights to unions and labour-affiliated organizations at its last convention, and she has forwarded Del Mastro's complaint to the Commissioner of Elections.
Not surprisingly, that revelation did little to mollify Del Mastro, who, with the support of the full five-man Conservative contingent, proceeded to spend the rest of the meeting trying, with limited success, to persuade the commissioner to reconsider her initial rejection through progressively more abstract, theoretical arguments.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, NDP MPs did their collective best not to look too smug over advantage of the opportunity to dredge up Dawson's investigations into various and sundry Conservative-related controversies past, including former Independent Conservative MP Helena Guergis -- during which, it seems, the commissioner had some difficulty getting her hands on all the relevant documents -- as well as her findings in the Raitt, Dykstra and Flaherty reports.
The commissioner also revealed that there are five ethics-related investigations currently underway, including two that have already entered "the public domain," as she puts it, focusing on Industry Minister Christian Paradis and former PMO aide Bruce Carson. Three other investigations were self-initiated, and no further details are available.
Anyway, after Dawson was finally allowed to gracefully excuse herself from a meeting that had long since degenerated into petulant, passive aggressive cross-table bickering, NDP MP Charlie Angus got the chance to put forward his motion to investigate then-Industry Minister Tony Clement's involvement with the disbursement of the G8 Legacy Fund through the periscope of the Conflict of Interest Act, which, not surprisingly, failed on division.