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Five things to know about the Commons hearing into NDP satellite offices

OTTAWA - Five things to know about the House of Commons committee investigation into the operations of the NDP's satellite offices, and leader Tom Mulcair's unprecedented two hours of testimony Thursday:

1. If the Conservatives and Liberals hoped to goad Mulcair into an angry, televised meltdown, they were disappointed. Mulcair, who is known to have a temper, was the picture of sweet reason through two hours of questioning.

2. Mulcair did his best to turn the tables on his opponents, suggesting the Conservatives and their Liberal "henchmen" were going after the NDP because they fear losing the next election.

3. The Conservatives avoided the scatter-gun approach usually seen at committee hearings, where different MPs often take questioning off on a tangent. They left Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth, a veteran lawyer, to pose all their questions.

4. The NDP set up a satellite office in Montreal in the fall of 2011, after the election brought them a raft of young, rookie MPs. The idea was to help the newcomers. It later set up two more offices in Quebec City and Toronto and had been planning another in Saskatchewan, where the party has no MPs.

5. Mulcair agreed the salaries for the 14 employees at the satellite offices were paid by New Democrat MPs, who pooled their House of Commons budgets. But he insisted they dealt with parliamentary work and were kept segregated from party workers who handled partisan chores.

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