ITQ Committee Roundup - It's not over til the femme fatale testifies ...

… which is why ITQ will be hanging around in the hallway outside the Public Safety committee room, as its members meet behind closed doors later this afternoon to discuss the latest twists and turns in their ongoing investigation into the Bernier/Couillard Affair. During the first day of hearings last week, two senior RCMP officials – Bob Paulson and Raf Souccar -refused to tell the committee whether or not the Mounties had informed the Privy Council Office- that the then-Foreign Affairs Minister’s special friend was, as they say, “known to police.”

After a few hours of duelling non-denial denials with PMO and PCO, the RCMP eventually admitted that it had failed to pass that salient nugget of information along, although by that point, opposition members were already calling shenanigans and suggesting that the RCMP was being shanghaied into a PMO-orchestrated coverup. (That’s one reason why there will be a motion on the table this afternoon to bring Paulson and Souccar back for a return appearance in order to clear up any lingering confusion over who knew what, and when.)

Meanwhile, Clerk of the Privy Council Kevin Lynch will be grilled tomorrow about his involvement in the file, particularly between the Saturday afternoon when Couillard’s lawyers claim to have returned the documents to the government, and Monday evening, when the PM ostensibly first became aware of the breach.

There’s also the small matter of Mlle. Couillard herself, rumoured to be on the schedule for Wednesday, but whose appearance has not yet been officially concerned. Committee members have also been making noises about using the power of the House to summon Bernier to explain himself – rare, but not unprecedented, as far as playing parliamentary hardball – and then there is the luckless Bernard Cote, until last week an aide to Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, who was forced to resign when it became known that he, too, had fallen prey to her politically fatal charms.

With so many rocks still to be unturned, expect the opposition members to push for the investigation to continue even after the House has closed down for the summer. As another femme fatale once observed: Hang on to your seats, kids. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Also on Monday:

  • The Subcommittee on International Human Rights looks at the treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan and elsewhere, with “elsewhere” apparently including the full scope of Islamic fundamentalist states, as well as possibly China, what with those godless Communists and all
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development explores the findings of the last census from the perspective of First Nations and aboriginal people
  • The potentially catastrophic impact that the development of the oil sands may have on Canada’s water supply is on the agenda at Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Members of the Finance committee get a briefing on asset-backed commercial paper in Canada from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, and Canada’s G7 Deputy Minister
  • National Defence gives a once over to C-60, which has something to do with court martials, and which was fast tracked through second reading by the House, which means it probably isn’t all that controversial (or no one noticed since it was introduced on the same day as the copyright changes)

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