Inside Politics

Karina Roman Bio

Karina Roman

Karina Roman caught the journalism bug in Australia where she wrote AND sold ads for a fledgling weekly newspaper. Back in Canada, journalism school and stints at a national newspaper and CBC Radio’s As It Happens followed. In 2001, she was lured to Ottawa from Toronto by promises of "real" winters, thinking it was only going to be for a year. In the nine years since, she has reported on politics, business, technology, crime and elections for radio and television. In 2008 she joined CBC radio’s parliamentary bureau, became a mom for the first time and bought a house. Which makes her realize that probably means she’s going to be “enjoying” winters here for a while.

Layton sees Chretien's 'ghost'


(Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press)

It's hard, perhaps impossible, for any politician to not make any flubs in five weeks of campaigning.

And while NDP Leader Jack Layton has not yet had to deflect scandal quite like the others, he showed Thursday night that he can have "one of those moments."

Layton's new support - from a supporter

Jack Layton has said so long to the brace he was using to walk around.

The NDP leader, who is recovering from hip surgery, is now using an "elegant" cane. It certainly means he's more agile.

When asked if the development has any greater meaning, Layton said: "I'll leave people to come up with their own metaphors." And then he told us how he got the cane.

Sweet times on the NDP tour

I always thought the first time I went to a maple sugar shack would be with my two-year-old daughter. Instead it was with Jack Layton.

At least he made it entertaining: playing the spoons and, of course, savouring the maple syrup taffy.

Jokes abounded about the need for a national dental care program after this particular stop. And that Layton was trying to "sweeten up" voters.

Photographic evidence after the jump...

UPDATED: Christiane Ouimet has a date with Public Accounts

Christiane Ouimet is a much sought-after person. It seems not one, but two House of Commons committees would like to bring the former public sector integrity commissioner before them to testify.

Ouimet abruptly retired last October just before the release of a scathing report by the auditor general into the operations of the commissioner's office. Both Government Operations and Estimates, and the Public Accounts committees have asked her "nicely" to appear. That didn't produce the desired response, and so now both committees are slated to discuss Tuesday whether or not to go the route of formally summoning her.

Ouimet, you'll remember, found not a single case of wrongdoing in her three years as the go-to person for whistleblowers in the federal government. She reported as much in her annual reports to Government Operations, as that is the committee to which her office reports. But Public Accounts is also keen to question her about why the millions spent by her office never led to a case being referred to the independent tribunal created to investigate allegations of government wrongdoing.

But it's unusual for two committees to summon the same person on what is more or less the same issue. So the MPs will have to decide if one committee wants to back off, or if they really can differentiate their "areas of study" enough to warrant the action of summoning her.

Or maybe it will come down to first dibs. Government Ops meets first, from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. and Public Accounts does not convene until 3:30 p.m. But by the end of tomorrow we should know if at least one bailiff will be visiting Ouimet, if not two.

UPDATE: Government Operations has decided not to summon Ms Ouimet. The decision was made in an in-camera meeting of the steering committee, so we are not privy to details as to the rationale. Stay tuned for Public Accounts at 3:30 p.m. to see what the decision, slated to be part of public committee business, is there.

UPDATE, UPDATE: The Public Accounts committee agreed to summons Ouimet to appear before the committee next Tuesday, Feb. 8 - although members conceded that may be short notice.

PM to AFN National Chief: let's talk

"It may turns out to be one of the most significant statements by a prime minister about the failure of first nations policy in this country," says Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo.

In an interview with CBC, Atleo explains why a letter he received from Prime Minister Stephen Harper is significant. You can decide for yourself when you scroll down to see a copy of the letter below.

Atleo concedes that the average reader might not see much beyond polite and careful words, but, "I do think it does signal a shift," says Atleo.

He sees the fact the letter talks about the PM's office and the Privy Council Office being involved in talks as a real attitude change by the PM on first nations issues.

G8/G20 OPP expenses: This just in

This just in on G8/G20 OPP expenses:

Stockwell Day...saving money one dollar at a time

So, the federal government has shovelled billions of dollars out the door to ease the pain of the recession.

In doing so, we now have a $54-billion deficit.

And the spending continues: fighter jets, billion-dollar summits...

Now Treasury Board President Stockwell Day is looking for places to cut.

But compared to the billions going out, the savings announced so far tally but millions.

Day's new target? Government hospitality expenses. You know, food, drink, travel, conferences and the like.

UPDATED: Sauvé, Paradis and the case of the missing coat

I've had many coats over the years. Ones that were knee length, ones that were full length, puffy ski jackets, a tent of a maternity coat and others.

We live in a cold country, after all.

But I've never spent $5400.00 on one.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but even for a cashmere coat from Holt Renfrew, that's a lot of money to look good and stay warm at the same time.

But that appears to be what former Public Works Minister Christian Paradis spent on a coat he reportedly wore to a fundraiser thrown by construction boss Paul Sauvé.

How do we know this?

It, somewhat surprisingly, came up at the Government Operations committee this morning.

What those G8/G20 glow sticks were really for

There have been many numbers bandied about in regards to the various costs of the G8 and G20 summits last summer.

One that the opposition has enjoyed bringing up again and again is the reportedly $14,000 spent on glow sticks for the G8 in Muskoka.

Now why, pray tell, would the police need glow sticks?

As colleague Rosemary Barton blogged last month, was there an after-party we didn't hear about?

But alas, we now have the answer!

No, there wasn't a giant rave that went well into the wee hours to which we were not invited. In fact, most of the glow-in-the-dark sticks were not for the police at all.

UPDATED: Is Oda softening on abortion in maternal health initiative?

Wish I could answer that question.

According to Thursday's Ottawa Citizen, CIDA Minister Bev Oda, after a visit to Mali and Mozambique, has changed her views on the role of safe abortions in maternal health.

Here is what she said, according to that newspaper about what role family planning and abortion plays, when it comes to maternal health in the developing world: