The big news: The auditor general releases a report

Something therein may distract from Senate expenses

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

As the country reacts to the breathless by-elections that consumed so much bandwidth in anticipation, and the country continues to mull its very own Senate expenses scandal, two narratives wrestle for attention: Justin Trudeau’s momentum and Stephen Harper’s alleged incompetence. Trudeau’s had energy for some time, as national polls have shown, and Harper’s been ill-suited to his job since forever, if you ask his critics. Now, however, the plight of the two leading men is drawn into its sharpest contrast yet.

And, just as that fun starts, the auditor general is set to throw a wrench into the machine.

This morning, Michael Ferguson releases his latest report. Ferguson’s team of venerable auditors, which has a death grip on the news cycle at its whim, now tells the polite masses exactly how poorly the government is running its programs—or, at the least, the programs the auditor general’s office decides to pull into its tractor beam.

Under the microscope in today’s report? The government’s plans to build new warships, the federal food recall system, border controls to prevent illegal entry into Canada, emergency management on aboriginal reserves, oversight of rail safety, disaster relief for agricultural producers, and offshore banking. Read that list again. Ferguson’s team is assessing programs that are either bread-and-butter issues for the government’s base (navy, border security) or sources of scandal (aboriginal reserves, food safety) or otherwise delicate (rail safety, disaster relief, offshore banking).

Question Period will surely feature plenty of denials related to the Senate expenses scandal, as has become the grinding norm. But, depending on what’s in this morning’s AG report, a few other cabinet ministers may get a workout. That’s up to Ferguson’s wrath.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail The federal Liberals almost won in a former Tory stronghold in Manitoba.
National Post
A Jewish sect numbering 200 left Quebec due to child welfare concerns.
Toronto Star Chrystia Freeland was elected for the Liberals in Toronto Centre.
Ottawa Citizen The Liberals also won in the Montreal riding of Bourassa.
CBC News Rogers inked a $5.2-billion deal for NHL hockey rights.
CTV News The Conservatives eked out a win in Brandon, Man.
National Newswatch Justin Trudeau said the NDP is no longer Jack Layton’s hopeful party.


What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL First Nations. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is unhappy with federal legislation governing the education of First Nations children. He delivered Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt five demands to improve the bill, including stable funding and aboriginal control of education.
THE GLOBAL Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovich, who has turned away from an EU trade deal and towards warmer relations with Moscow, has infuriated thousands of protesters. Meanwhile, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, jailed by the governing regime, commenced a hunger strike in protest.

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