Parliament Hill is where acrimony goes to play

Tease the day: Who needs substantive policy debate, anyway?

Patrick Doyle/CP

Parliament Hill is acrimony, defined. Debate is poisonous, bereft of any real exchange. Yesterday, in what turned into a big deal, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair temporarily eluded authorities on the Hill as he drove to work—a misunderstanding, he claimed, but fuel for the government side. They made him pay during Question Period, as Aaron Wherry witnessed, probably painfully, and then recounted. Try to find a substantive discussion about policy yesterday, and you’ll find it rather challenging. Ottawa’s not interested in that right now.

Bob Fife, CTV’s bureau chief on the Hill, might be responsible for all of this. After all, one month ago, he reported that Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, made a secret deal with then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy to repay the senator’s improperly claimed expenses—all $90,172 owed. Wright was soon out of a job, Duffy was soon out of caucus, and weeks of questions followed. The government thinks it’s answered everything it can with respect to the Senate expenses scandal, and instead launches myriad counterattacks—Mulcair is corrupt! Liberals are corrupt! Street racing!—that attempt to distract. The opposition remains unconvinced.

The only place political parties agree in Ottawa, it seems, is behind closed doors, when they’re talking about earning more money and expanding their own budgets. Truly, this is not a place where national dreams are coming true.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the RCMP’s announced investigation of the Senate expenses scandal. The National Post fronts the Ontario Securities Commission’s establishment of a serious offences unite to prosecute criminals (not online). The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s refusal to answer questions about a potential police investigation into the mayor’s office. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the RCMP’s investigation of the Wright-Duffy affair. iPolitics fronts the $1.7-million increase in executive bonuses for senior public servants over last year. leads with Senator Pamela Wallin’s apology for improperly claiming expenses. CTV News leads with activists in Istanbul’s Taksim Square thinking about allowing a referendum to decide the fate of a planned development project they strongly oppose. National Newswatch showcases the CBC‘s coverage of the RCMP investigation of the Wright-Duffy affair.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1.Development. It’s not clear if Canada’s development agency ensured nearly $40 million in funding to international aid organizations met key humanitarian conditions. 2. Agent Orange. Ontario workers were exposed to the dangerous herbicide from 1947-1979, apparently at levels 700 times higher than what’s considered safe, a report says.
3. Pharmacy. An Ontario court upheld a ruling that shut down an online pharmacy that claimed to be based in Canada—but was actually based in Belize, and shipped drugs from India. 4. Charbonneau. A pile of money returned by former political party operative Pierre L. Lambert—amounting to $720,000—was entered into evidence at Quebec’s inquiry into corruption.
5. Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe could call a summer election, even though he hasn’t implemented promised reforms. His chief rival might boycott the campaign. 6. Abortion. The Irish Parliament is considering a bill that would allow abortions in exceptional circumstances, when the procedure could save a woman’s life.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.