OTTAWA - Talk about returning to the scene of the crime.
MPs will crowd into the Senate chamber Wednesday afternoon to listen to Governor General David Johnston read the speech from the throne and, in so doing, open the second session of the 41st Parliament.
That session is already shaping up to be a doozy, mostly because of all the spending shenanigans that have emanated from the "scene of the crime," the red-carpeted Senate chamber.
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives can expect to get slammed early and often by the opposition over the alleged spending offences of senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau. And if history is any guide, the Harper gang will punch back with equal gusto at the opposition. Meanwhile, the under-card in the House of Commons will feature Thomas Mulcair and the NDP battling Justin Trudeau and the Liberals for the right to be the One True Alternative to the Harper government.
The real fireworks will begin Thursday with the first question period of the session but Wednesday's speech from the throne will set the table.
Even so, the political challenge for the Harper gang will be convincing Canadians -- and that includes the four million Canadians who voted Conservative in 2011 -- that the Senate scandal is a mere aberration and not a sign of ethical rot.