Orders of the Day - Double the ministerial availabilities, double the fun!

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

In what appears to be either an outburst of interdepartmental event-planning efficiency or an inadvertent double booking, two senior cabinet ministers are set to hold back-to-back media availabilities at the very same Minister's(s') Regional Office in downtown Toronto this morning. 

Hit the jump for the full post! 
There is, it seems, at least one unexpected benefit to the revelations regarding the NDP's sheepish about-face on those now infamous advertising fees that it quietly refunded to unions and other buyers earlier this year.   

Thanks to that internal NDP document posted online by the Toronto Star  as part of its initial report, we now know the source of at least some of the otherwise unexplained "other revenue" that the party reported in its annual financial statements for 2006 and 2009. (They still haven't submitted last year's return after requesting an extension to the original deadline last May.)  

But aside from that unprecedented, if not exactly voluntary, peek into the NDP coffers, not even Elections Canada is privy to the details of the hundreds of thousands -- in some cases, millions -- of dollars that political parties take in every year, over and above the income gleaned from donations, membership sales, election expense rebates and per-vote subsidy transfers from the government.  

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With the CNOOC/Nexen merger review now officially underway, NDP MPs Peter Julian and Helene LeBlanc are set to hit the stage at the National Press Theatre to reiterate their party's as yet unassuaged concerns over the takeover bid, as well as the government's handling of the review process. 

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NDP MP Olivia Chow is calling on Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to look into what she alleges may be too-cosy-for-comfort partisan ties between Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the current crop of federally appointed directors on the board of the newly created Oshawa Port Authority, as well as the subsequent approval by that same board of a proposal to build an ethanol refinery on the waterfront -- which, she notes, was given "despite the objection of Oshawa City Council and Mayor and the Durham Regional Council." 

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Fully rested and recovered (one presumes) from last week's Northern tour, the PM will make his way eastward later today, with a mid-afternoon appearance in New Brunswick, where he will attend the official opening of the Beaubassin Research Station in Aulac, which my CBC New Brunswick colleagues note is "headed by Ducks Unlimited Canada," with Irving Oil and Acadia University also partners in the initiative. 

After that wraps, it's off to Nova Scotia, where he's scheduled to do the rounds at the regional Members' Barbecue in Amherst. 

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Recently released court files contain further details that link pseudonymous robocaller Pierre Poutine to a computer used by a Guelph Conservative campaign staffer, according to a former NDP candidate turned campaign communications strategist who has been providing technical advice to an Elections Canada investigator.

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As the clock ticks away the last week of pure, unadulterated summer before next week's caucus retreat, the ministerial circuit cranks up for one final blitz of good newsers before the parliamentary back to school cycle kicks into full gear. 

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For the record: The Ontario Superior Court ruling on Guergis versus the PM et al

Tags: blackberry jungle, helena guergis

As reported earlier today, former Conservative MP Helena Guergis' lawsuit against the prime minister, various senior PMO officials, her former lawyer and the Conservative Party itself has been dismissed by an Ontario court judge, although according to the latest update, she plans to appeal. 

Hit the jump to read the full ruling. 
All this excitement around today's CRTC ruling on those anonymous automated anti-Conservative phone calls placed by Guelph Liberal MP Frank Valeriote's campaign during the last election got me thinking about the robocall controversy-inspired opposition motion that was passed with the unanimous support of the House on March 12, 2012:  

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, within six months, table amendments to the Elections Canada Act and other legislation as required that would ensure that: (a) Elections Canada investigation capabilities be strengthened, to include giving the Chief Electoral Officer the power to request all necessary documents from political parties to ensure compliance with the Elections Act; (b) all telecommunication companies that provide voter contact services during a general election must register with Elections Canada; and (c) all clients of telecommunication companies during a general election have their identity registered and verified.

Hit the jump for the full post.
Hot off the CRTC presses comes word of the first official finding of electoral shenanigans in Guelph: 

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that a Notice of Violation has been issued to the Guelph Federal Liberal Association ("the Association") on behalf of Frank Valeriote. The Notice of Violation involved Robocalls made on April 30, 2011, which did not comply with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. As part of a settlement, a penalty of $4,900, has been imposed. The calls involved an election advertising message and were made during the 2011 Federal election campaign in Guelph.

Hit the jump for the full post, and a statement from Valeriote.