Question of the Day

Tags: power & politics

Liveblog: AG Nominee Michael Ferguson at Public Accounts

Tags: blackberry jungle, michael ferguson, public accounts liveblogging

The man who would -- and likely will -- be the Canada's next auditor general goes before Public Accounts this afternoon, which will give the opposition parties their first opportunity to put their previously stated concerns over his reported lack of proficiency in both official languages to Michael Ferguson himself. The outcome of the meeting itself, however, is an all but foregone conclusion: with the government holding the majority of votes, Ferguson's nomination will almost certainly be approved by the end of the day. 

Then again, maybe not: According to the latest version of the agenda, which was updated earlier today, Treasury Board parliamentary secretary Andrew Saxton has also given notice that he will be bringing forward a motion before Ferguson takes the stand, which -- depending, of course, on its substance and the likelihood that it will raise hackles on the other side of the table -- could delay, or even postpone, the main event. 

In any case, check back at 3:30 pm for full coverage! 

Mobile-friendly auto-updating text feed available here or hit the jump for the full CoverItLive experience. 

Liberal renewal: looking for an outside fix?

Tags: convention, Liberal

While the NDP leadership race heats up, scant attention has been paid to the Liberal Party and its renewal activities. 

Having changed its constitution in June in order to give it more time to select a leader, the party is heading towards a January policy convention where members will help shape a future platform, choose a new president and officers, as well as improve the party's structure and governance.

Liberals have been invited to go online and vote on the issues they want considered at the convention.  The most popular resolutions will make it through. 

So far, the two top resolutions have nothing to do with policy or party renewal. 

More, after the jump:

Hot off the Senate Liberal presses: 


Please be advised that the Auditor General nominee, Mr. Michael Ferguson, will appear before the Senate's Committee of the Whole tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1st, most likely around 3:30 p.m. 

Also appearing at that time will be Mrs. Michelle d'Auray, Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada, and from the Privy Council Office, Mrs. Patricia Hassard, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Senior Personnel and Public Service Renewal). These high-ranking officials were directly involved in the process that selected Mr. Ferguson as Auditor General nominee, and will be able to shed light on the matter.
The man who would -- and likely will -- be the Canada's next auditor general goes before Public Accounts this afternoon, which will give the opposition parties their first opportunity to put their previously stated concerns over his reported lack of proficiency in both official languages to Michael Ferguson himself. In any case, the outcome of the meeting itself is an all but foregone conclusion: with the government holding the  majority of seats at the table, Ferguson's nomination will almost certainly be approved by the end of the day. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
Attention NDP leadership candidates: Remember that bill -- or, to be grammatically and historically accurate, those bills -- that the Conservatives kept bringing forward during the minority era to restrict political loans to party leadership candidates? 

The non-newly elected in your caucus might recall the issue from such parliaments as, oh, pretty much session in every one from the 39th onwards, but here's a quick reminder: the last time it went to a vote -- in the spring of 2008, to be precise -- your party supported the government's bill to impose tighter restrictions on loans to leadership candidates, which, despite the show of Conservative/NDP solidarity, eventually died on the Order Paper later that year when the PM got fed up with opposition obstreperousness and asked the GG to pull the plug and drop the writs. 

Anyway, according to the Notice Paper, it's back -- and this time, not only does the PM in question have the necessary votes to get it through both the Commons and the Senate before the end of the year, but, in an instance of truly awkward timing, your party is in the middle of a leadership race of its own. (I know, it was a lot easier when it was all about making life more difficult for the Liberals, wasn't it?) 

With its ultimate success all but assured, will the NDP caucus stick to its 2008 principles and back the bid to limit loans from individuals to the maximum permitted donation, with the only allowable loans from financial institutions listed in Schedule I or II of the Bank Act? Or has the position of the now-Official Opposition evolved since it voted alongside the government in 2008?

UPDATE: As pointed out by the eagle-eyed @JuristBlog on twitter, if the government sticks with the wording from earlier bills, loans from "financial institutions" as defined by the Bank Act would, indeed, be permitted, which would include the $50,000 that Topp received from the Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union

"financial institution" means

(a) a bank or an authorized foreign bank,

(b) a body corporate to which the Trust and Loan Companies Act applies,

(c) an association to which the Cooperative Credit Associations Act applies or a central cooperative credit society for which an order has been made under subsection 473(1) of that Act,

(d) an insurance company or a fraternal benefit society incorporated or formed under the Insurance Companies Act,

(e) a trust, loan or insurance corporation incorporated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province,

(f) a cooperative credit society incorporated and regulated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province,

(g) an entity that is incorporated or formed by or under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province and that is primarily engaged in dealing in securities, including portfolio management and investment counselling, and

(h) a foreign institution;


Leadership candidate Martin Singh's $35,000 loan to himself would, however, still be prohibited in that scenario. 

UPDATED AGAIN: A closer reading of the most recent iteration of the legislation suggests that future (or, depending on how this unfolds as far as implementation timeline, current) leadership candidates could, in fact, find it difficult to secure a loan from an eligible financial institution, as the bill would have limited guarantors to the maximum allowable donation limit. (Under the existing law, a sole guarantor can back any loan, even one that would exceed the cap.) 

As for a candidate using personal assets to guarantee a loan, well, that could, in theory, constitute an in-kind loan to oneself, which would also be prohibited. 
 

That, of course, presumes that the government won't take advantage of the situation to narrow the definition of allowable loans. We'll find out on Monday! 

Hit the jump to watch my brain whirl through the possible implications in realtime, read my tweeted musings on the subject via the magic of Storify

Question of the Day

Tags: power & politics

The return of the asbestos debate

Tags: NDP, order paper watch

The NDP are using next week's opposition day to bring back the debate over asbestos. Hit the jump to read their motion.
During the last half hour of what turned out to be a surprisingly lively Friday morning Question Period, Liberal MP Gerry Byrne raised a heretofore unmentioned non-language-related concern with the selection process that resulted in the nomination of the now famously unilingual Michael Ferguson as the next Auditor General of Canada: the presence of a registered lobbyist -- Canadian Institute for Chartered Accountants president Kevin Dancey -- on the internal advisory committee charged with screening potential candidates and making a recommendation to the government on who to appoint to the job. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
Hot off the #ETHI presses comes the final version of Dean Del Mastro's motion to compel the CBC to produce unredacted documents related to ATI requests filed by Quebecor, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: 

Hit the jump for the full post.