Tories, Lib­er­als find truce on ac­count­abil­ity act

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - National -

OTTAWA (CP) — The Lib­eral ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate has fi­nally suc­cumbed to pres­sure to get on with the pas­sage of the fed­eral ac­count­abil­ity act, of­fer­ing a date at which they’ll fin­ish their four-month-long study of the gov­ern­ment’s key piece of leg­is­la­tion.

The act was orig­i­nally sup­posed to have been cooked and served up with the turkeys at Thanks­giv­ing. But the cen­tre piece of Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper’s spring pri­or­i­ties is still well en­sconced in the le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional af­fairs com­mit­tee, where sen­a­tors have heard from 138 wit­nesses — and count­ing.

The two par­ties ne­go­ti­ated a truce late this week, with the Lib­er­als agree­ing to wrap up the com­mit­tee work by Oc­to­ber 26.

The ac­count­abil­ity act seeks to clean up the way gov­ern­ment does busi­ness with new ethics reg­u­la­tions and over­sight, and tight­ens up Canada’s po­lit­i­cal fi­nanc­ing laws. Un­der the law, Cana­di­ans will only be able to do­nate $1,000 an­nu­ally each to a can­di­date or po­lit­i­cal party. Cor­po­rate and union do­na­tions are com­pletely banned.

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