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The Blanche Report: The Root of the Problem, The Zoo & New Hairdos

It appears that all those glitches and crashes of the Obamacare website can be traced directly back to a Montreal based company called CGI Group. When questioned about this, they in turn blamed the enterprise identity management (or EIDM) function provided by another contractor, which allows users to create secure accounts.  The EIDM acts as the “front door” that a user must pass through to enter the insurance marketplace and when this is bottle-necked, no one can access the site.

Maybe they should have staggered access at the beginning. Not rocket science: A-G day one, H-L day three and so one. That way the system would not have been overloaded in the first ten minutes. This is definitely not one of CGI’s finer moments, to say the least.

L’affaire the Senators in Ottawa seems to have taken on a life of its own, much to the chagrin of Stephen Harper.  What was supposed to be  brushed under the rug has now become the old ‘what did Harper know and when did he know it’ scandal. And as we all know, that little quote has brought down more than one leader.

So who’s who in this zoo?

Patrick Brazeau: The Senate has ordered Brazeau to repay about $48,000 in expenses because it found he had wrongly declared his primary residence to be in Maniwaki, Que. Brazeau disputes that finding. Since Brazeau did not meet its June 30 deadline, the Senate began docking his pay by 20% until the amount is repaid. 

Mike Duffy: At the root of the controversy was Duffy’s designation of a P.E.I. cottage as his primary residence. He also claimed expenses for a secondary Ottawa home. A senate committee looking into the living and travel expenses of Duffy  found the rules regarding residency were unclear. A Senate sub-committee, however, concluded that Duffy’s primary residence was in Ottawa. It ordered him to repay tens of thousands of dollars in ineligible expenses.

Other allegations have been raised about Duffy’s travel claims and the awarding of contracts from his office. Duffy has already repaid $90,000 in expenses, but the source of those funds has come under intense scrutiny. It was revealed that Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, gave Duffy a personal check so he could repay money owed.

Pamela Wallin: Questions arose about the amount and timing of Wallin’s travel claims and about her residency, because she still owns a residence in Toronto and was living in the city when she was appointed to the Senate and should have been living in Saskatchewan. An independent report  suggested she should repay approximately $120,000.  The Senate committee looking into the matter pegged Wallin’s final bill at $138,970 — an amount that includes $38,000 she already voluntarily repaid. The committee earlier recommended the RCMP investigate the case.

Stephen Harper: A few days ago he asked for the resignations of Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin – immediately and with no pay. That threat sparked Duffy and Wallin to give impassioned speeches in the senate making their cases as to why they will not leave without a fight.

We are now holding by one person’s word against another. We think that as both Duffy and Wallin are seasoned former journalists, they must have a very long paper trail to make their cases. Time will tell. Phew. We are betting that princess pauline will call an election. Why? New hairstyle. She still looks like she always has a bad hair day, but it appears she did a bit of redo. Not an updo – a redo. Anyway, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not she will call an election. We will know by Sunday night. Either way for her it’s a crap shoot. She’s not doing fantastically well in the polls so that would say wait it out. But if she waits it out she will have to deal with the budget which will overtake the camouflaging  charter of values. No one is going to put one over on Hillary Clinton.  During a speech at the University at Buffalo, Clinton first ignored a heckler’s shouts as she spoke of Buffalo as a model for problem-solving through cooperation. “Because we can’t move from crisis to crisis, we have to be willing to come together as citizens to focus on the kind of future we want,” she said. As the shouts grew louder from an upper section of bleachers, she added, “which doesn’t include yelling. It includes sitting down and talking.” She got a standing ovation from the over 6500 people present. The heckler was led out listening to the thunderous applause.

Stay tuned for the launch of Notre Montreal…

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk

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