Inside Politics

MPs file queries on cost of ministerial speaking gigs, 'romance scams' in advance of fall session

For a bit of insight into what MPs have been hearing -- or, at least, thinking about -- over the summer, it's always worth checking out the notice paper for the first day back on the Hill -- even if that putative start date is destined to be postponed by prorogation by the end of the day.

New Democrat MP Megan Leslie, for instance, wants to know how many Canadians have been victims of "romance scams" in the last six years, while her caucus colleague Paul Dewar is interested in what will become of a 7 acre chunk of vacant government-owned green space in Westboro.

Liberal MP Judy Foote wonders just how much taxpayer money has been spent sending ministers to Toronto to speak to the Economic Club of Canada, and how many House votes those ministers have missed as a result.

As for Independent Bruce Hyer, he's looking for a running tally of federal funding doled out to his Thunder Bay riding since 2011.

A sampling from the list of newly submitted requests for written answers -- which, it's worth noting, may be fated to die on the Order Paper at prorogation, but can be easily re-submitted when the House returns later this fall:

Q-14572 -- September 12, 2013 -- Mr. Hyer (Thunder Bay--Superior North) -- With regard to government funding distributed in the constituency of Thunder Bay--Superior North from the 2011-2012 fiscal year to the current fiscal year inclusive, listed by date: (a) what is the total amount of this funding, broken down by (i) department, (ii) agency, (iii) program, (iv) any other government body; and (b) how many full time and part-time jobs is this estimated to have created?

Q-14662 -- September 12, 2013 -- Mr. Dewar (Ottawa Centre) -- With regard to the property owned by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) at 250 Lanark Ave in Ottawa: (a) is the property designated as surplus; (b) if so, is the property designated as surplus strategic or surplus routine; (c) does PWGSC intend to dispose of the property; (d) if so, what is the planned timeframe for the disposal of the property; (e) how is the green space at the property currently being used; (f) what are the reasons for restricting public access to the green space at the property?

Q-14652 -- September 12, 2013 -- Ms. Foote (Random--Burin--St. George's) -- With regard to Ministers of the Crown speaking at the Economic Club of Canada, broken down by minister since 2006: (a) how many times did each minister speak; (b) what was the date of each speech; (c) what was the topic of each speech; (d) what were the costs of all travel and accommodations for the minister and any accompanying staff, broken down by speech and individual expense; (e) were there any votes in the House of Commons on the days of each speech, (i) what were the votes, (ii) what was the date of each vote; and (f) broken down by individual vote, did the Minister vote in each vote listed in (e)?

Q-14682 -- September 12, 2013 -- Mr. BĂ©langer (Ottawa--Vanier) -- With regard to the Translation Bureau: (a) how many words were translated from French to English and from English to French for the years (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012, (v) 2013; and (b) what was the Bureau's baseline budget, how many permanent, term and contract employees did it have, and what amount did the various federal institutions allocate for translation in the years (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011, (iv) 2012, (v) 2013?

Q-14702 -- September 12, 2013 -- Ms. Leslie (Halifax) -- With respect to romance scams taking place in Canada: (a) how many romance scams are estimated to have taken place in Canada, broken down by year from 2006 to 2013 to date; (b) how much money is estimated to have been lost to romance scams, broken down by year from 2006 to 2013 to date; (c) how many romance scams are estimated to go unreported per year; (d) what resources have the RCMP dedicated towards this portfolio; (e) how many convictions have resulted from police investigations into romance scams; (f) what has the government done to educate the public about romance scams; (g) what avenues are available for Canadians to report romance scams; (h) what federal measures are in place to support the emotional and psychological wellbeing of romance scam victims; (i) what proportion of romance scam victims end up recovering their financial losses; and (j) what proportion of people convicted of fraud related to romance scams operated from within Canada?

Read more newly filed queries here.

Here's the full list of questions awaiting answers that were on the Order Paper before the House broke for the summer - including, but not limited to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's pending request for all PMO records related to that $90 K payment to Senator Mike Duffy by former chief of staff Nigel Wright. 

(Those queries can also be resubmitted when the House returns in October, although that will restart the clock on the 45 day deadline.) 

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