First Reading (10/26/09)

Today's essential political reads:

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The "Welcome to the Cheque Republic" buttons were popular at last weekend's Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner. 

And now there's a website. 

Today, the Liberals launched www.chequerepublic.ca. It seems the oversized novelty cheque story has had an entirely unanticipated stimulus effect -- making the Liberals get all artsy-crafty. 
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Just a Small Detail


What a curious omission.

Yesterday, CBC contacted the office of Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt to ask about the lobbyist who helped organize a fundraiser on her behalf on Sept. 24.

Michael B. McSweeney is vice-president of the Cement Association of Canada. 

Both he and the association are registered with the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. And a search of the registry shows that on Sept. 24, the Cement Association reported having lobbied Raitt directly. 

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The Hon. Member for Pottymouth

hill2.jpg(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Having blogged earlier about the merits of watching the House of Commons live, or at least watching the videotape later, I must confess that sometimes Hansard can be better than the real thing.

The official transcribers of the proceedings sit in the middle of the room, and hear things that aren't that clear on the audio and video recording.

A case in point:

Yesterday, an MP Twitter'ed that Government House Leader Jay Hill said a naughty word in the House at around 1530.

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The tale of the tape - Bill C-311 version

The ultimate record of who votes yay and nay on every House of Commons Bill and Motion is contained in the official Hansard lists.

But sometimes, it's interesting to attend in person, or at least watch the videotape, for a sense of the mood and body language as a House vote unfolds.

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Great -- now how do we privacy filter our brains?

 Louise Elliott, CBC News.


berryscreen2b.jpgThe bright minds at 3M may be on to something -- something that MPs and journalists on the Hill could really use.


In the mail this week I received my very own sample "privacy filter." It's a piece of transparent grey plastic from the famous makers of Post-It notes and just about anything sticky.


Once peeled, said plastic will adhere to any Blackberry screen (after you haul out the scissors and cut it to size - something I haven't yet mustered the energy to do.)


The pitch? The plastic contains microscopic Venetian blinds built right in, so that the person sitting next to you on the Parliamentary bus, on the Prime Minister's plane or even your seat-mate in Question Period can't read the treatise you are frantically banging out with your thumbs.

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Hey Libs: Pick one and go with it!

ignatieffsized.jpgRunning communications for a political party is a trying task at the best of times.

Even more so when you're competing with...yourself.

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A twitter gaffe, and apology. Both firsts, we think, by a Member of Parliament.
Ujjal Dosanjh rose on a point of order after question period today to apologize ''for tweeting about matters that ought not to have been tweeted about.''
Seems the Liberal MP from Vancouver South let his fingers do the talking about what was taking place at an in-camera, closed-door, for MPs-ears-and-eyes-only session of the Commons Defence Committee:

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White-Collar Redux (x2)


Justice Minister Rob Nicholson held his fourth media event on the government's proposed white-collar crime law today in Ottawa. 

Again, he was unable to flesh out many of the details because the legislation still hasn't been tabled. That will happen tomorrow. 

But Nicholson did release a few details, including a two-year mandatory jail term for fraud over $1 million.

Just as he did at last month's "announcement on white-collar crime legislation," Nicholson surrounded himself with what he called "victims of fraud."  One of the women present at today's announcement is a member of the Earl Jones Organizing Committee. 

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What do you mean the word "ethics" doesn't appear in the Conflict of Interest Act? - (Sort of) Liveblogging the Ethics Committee

Kady O'Malley, CBC News

8:36:32 AM Greetings, fans of slightly time-delayed semi-livebloggish reporting! As noted yesterday, at the moment, I'm not yet able to post just-this-side-of-realtime dispatches from the parliamentary front, but the girl who sat through a seven-hour filibuster over the in-and-out affair isn't going to let a niggling detail like that stop her from covering what could turn out to be a surprisingly lively Ethics meeting. Yes, I'm back at Ethics -- oh, how I've missed it -- and on the agenda today is an appearance by the commissioner herself, Mary Dawson (last seen -- or at least liveblogged -- before the finale Oliphant policy forum over at the University of Ottawa.

This morning, she'll be discussing her annual report on the Code of Conduct for Public Office Holders, which I confess to not actually having re-read before scrambling my way here to the Hill this morning, so the contents will be just as much of a surprise to me as to any committee members who failed to do their homework last night.

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