Wednesday, July 7, 2010 8:33 AM

Will Tories try to bury spy scandal?

Gloria Galloway

1. Fanning flames. Opposition MPs are scrambling to find ways to continue hearings on the Richard Fadden matter – with a view, of course, to tying the imbroglio to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Members of the three opposition parties want to recall the Commons public safety committee for another special summer hearing. This time they would like to hear from Marie Lucie Morin, the National Security Adviser, and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

Mr. Fadden, the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service who said on national television that some politicians – albeit not of the federal variety – are under the influence of foreign governments, told the committee this week he had apprised Ms. Morin of his concerns in the early spring.

The Conservatives agreed to hold the original meeting to hear the testimony of Mr. Fadden. But it might be more difficult to get them to sign on for the grilling of a cabinet minister and a senior adviser to the Prime Minister.

Opposition members can force the issue. All they need to do is craft a motion with the signatures of four members of the committee and another meeting must be held. They are likely to do that.

But the government also has a few moves. It could, for instance, tell Conservative MPs to boycott the meeting. Without quorum, the meeting could not be held.

The government could also tell Garry Breitkreuz, the Conservative who chairs the committee, to take a sick day. In that case, one of the opposition members would have to sit as chairman and the opposition would lose the balance of power.

On the other hand, the Canadian-Chinese community is not at all happy with the Mr. Fadden’s allegations and would like to get to the bottom of this – if only to lift the cloud of suspicion that is hanging over the heads of innocent politicians of Chinese decent. So the Conservatives, who have spent some time courting the Chinese community, would have to weigh that as they calculate their next move.

And while we are chatting about the Public Safety committee, there is also some discussion of holding another special meeting to talk about the security issues at the G20 in Toronto. Stay tuned on that one.


Update Although some opposition members were of the belief that they could not hold a meeting of the Public Safety committee without a quorum, that may not be the case.

According to the minutes of the first meeting of this session, the opposition could, in fact, hold a meeting without any government representation as long as three members of the committee are present. The MPs who took part could not move or vote upon any motions but they could spend a couple of hours talking about the fact that the government chairs were empty.


2. Budget blitz. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Centre Block, senators are still on the job.

The wall that stands between the members of the chamber of sober second thought and their summer vacation is Bill C-9, the 900-page omnibus budget bill that includes measures to alter environmental oversight, to sell off Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and to break Canada Post’s monopoly on overseas mail.

On Wednesday, the Senate finance committee will hear from a number of witnesses including Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis.

The Conservative senators hope to get the bill passed into law this week. But it has not been an easy ride.

This week the committee heard from John Gordon, the head of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, who urged senators to remove a number of amendments from the budget bill that he termed controversial and potentially devastating.

Presumably, Mr. Paradis’s take on the legislation will be more favourable.

3. Royal rebuff. First Jean-Daniel Lafond, the husband of Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, tells a French magazine that Canada’s links to the Crown are purely symbolic.

Now, according to David Akin at the QMI Agency – which most of us think of as Sun Media – Mr. Lafond has an issue with the Queen sleeping at Rideau Hall.

Without citing and sources, Mr. Akin says that, even though Mr. Lafond and Ms. Jean were out of the country on a state visit to China when the Queen arrived in the capital on June 30, “Lafond asked that the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, find somewhere else to stay.”

Well. After all, he only gets to use the place for a few more weeks. Ms. Jean’s term comes to an end this summer.



Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre



Will Tories try to bury spy scandal?
Talk about a leading statement, it might as well read "when did you stop beating your wife"?

This story will not die because of Mr. Harper rather than its a non-story and not news from the get go.

Richard Fadden simply stated a very well known almost boring fact that foreign governments have influence in Canada.

Every man and his dog knows that the majority of our politicians attract some of the most corruptible least trust-able people in society and when you throw in politicians with ethnic backgrounds and supporters, its a guaranteed statistical fact that some of our politicians will be influenced by a "foreign power".

Its only common sense to be able to apply logic that the largest powers on earth will abuse that power and do their best to influence and or undermine Canadian sovereignty for their own "foreign and domestic interests".

Canadians should be thanking CSIS and Mr. Fadden for their candor.