Orders of the Day - PM drops in on HMCS St. John's before bidding farewell (for now) to the North

The PM is set to spend his final day of his seventh annual northern tour in Churchill, where he will meet up with Defence Minister Peter MacKay for the last leg of Operation Nanook 2012, described by departmental news release as "Canada's premier annual northern sovereignty operation," which has been underway since mid-August and wraps up later this week.  

He's currently scheduled to make an appearance on board HMCS St. John's, after which he and his entourage will make their way to the airport for one last photo op before heading back to Ottawa. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 

UPDATED - House Watch: With Denise Savoie leaving the Commons, who will be the next deputy speaker?

As most readers are likely already aware, in a surprise move earlier today, NDP MP Denise Savoie has resigned her seat in Parliament for health reasons -- and, by doing so, plunged Victoria voters into the same electoral limbo as their fellow citizens in Calgary Centre and Durham -- and, depending on that much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling, possibly Etobicoke Centre as well -- namely, waiting to find out when, exactly, they'll be heading back to the polls. 

(Although the Elections Act  gives the PM up to six months to call a by-election, past history will suggest he'll want to call all three (or four) at once, which gives him until December 7th to do so, as that's when the deadline runs out for Calgary Centre.) 

Back on the Hill, however, the timeline for replacing Savoie will be considerably tighter, as her departure will leave the House of Commons short one deputy speaker and chair of committee of the whole -- an often overlooked, but occasionally critical post. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 

I thought we were done with anonymous Liberals

A mysterious new site called Liberalwho.ca got some attention Thursday. Click to see what people had to say about it.

Orders of the Day - Wheels up for the Cambridge Bay-Churchill Prime Ministerial Express!

The penultimate leg of the PM's annual northern tour will begin with a photo op at an undisclosed -- at least by the advisory -- location in Cambridge Bay, followed by an announcement at Kiilinik High School. Once that wraps up, it's off to Churchill, where the prime ministerial plane will touch down early this evening, although no further public events -- other than the requisite landing shot photo op, that is -- appear on the itinerary for today. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 

Peter Kent succumbs to Harper flesh-eating disease

It's a pretty big deal for any member of the Conservative backbench to have the prime minister in town. The locals come out to see him, and it can generate a lot of local partisan momentum.

So maybe Yukon Tory Ryan Leef was just a little over-excited when he got a little tongue-tied during his introduction for Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Carcross, Yukon on Monday night.

But how does Environment Minister Peter Kent explain his similar slip of the tongue the following day in Norman Wells, N.W.T.?

Update and video, after the jump...

When should a private issue become public?

The Canadian Press has a look back at questions over Jack Layton's health one year after his death. The story raises interesting questions about why Canadians get so angry at reporters who ask politicians whether they are up to running a country in the wake of a major illness. Hit the jump for more.

Orders of the Day - Nunavut or bust! PM's northern tour hits Cambridge Bay

Hit the jump for the full post! 

Don't fall for the "fifth generation hoopla," US defence expert warns NDP MPs at F-35 "information session"

Recap: Well, that turned out to be considerably more interesting, if not necessarily surprising, than expected, as far as not-actually-a-committee meetings go, with the witnesses -- particularly US defence expert Winslow Wheeler -- obligingly delivering fresh fodder for the persistently F-35-sceptical opposition critics on the eve of the return to regular parliamentary business. 

Despite the Potemkin optics, it's worth noting that the organizing New Democrats claim that they did their best to invite "other voices" to join the chorus -- specifically, representatives from industry and government who would likely have adopted a far more positive tone on Canada's putative fighter jet fleet-in-the-making. 

The confab, which ran for just over three hours, even sparked an unscheduled -- but not unwelcome -- appearance by retired former pilot John Bogie, who approached the table at the conclusion to speak out against the proposed purchase "as a Canadian citizen." 

All that and much more can be found in the liveblog of today's session. Hit the jump to read on! 


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Orders of the Day - Hey, remember those F-35 fighter jets we were thinking about buying/not buying?

The serene statis of Centre Block in summer will be shattered later this morning as the fracas over the F-35 fighter jets resumes, courtesy of the New Democratic Party, which will convene a half-day "information session" to hear from various and sundry "experts" in military and procurement who were initially put forward as potential committee witnesses, but ultimately left unheard after the parliamentary process degenerated into in camera standoffs and related shenanigans. 

On the invite list for today's hearing: US national security expert and former Government Administration Office staffer Winslow Wheeler; University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagasse, former Defence associate deputy minister Alan Williams and Esprit de Corps editor and publisher Scott Taylor. 

According to the advisory, the discussion will be moderated by NDP MP Malcolm Allen, and "will include" caucus members Matthew Kellway, Jack Harris, Christine Moore and Lysane Blanchette Lamothe. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 

Orders of the Day - Bon voyage, prime minister!

As the precinct settles in for one final week of (relative) serenity before the post-Labour Day flurry of pre-parliamentary return excitement begins, the PM heads off on his now traditional summer Northern tour, which will see him land in Yukon later today for his first official event: a Conservative Members' summer barbecue at the Caribou Crossing Trading Post in Carcross.

Back on the Hill, Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae will hit the stage at the National Press Theatre later this morning to discuss his party's upcoming caucus retreat in Montebello and "respond to issues of the day."

Elsewhere in the capital, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird unveils "a long-term vision and plan" for the Tunney's Pasture complex in the west end of the capital, presumably (although not definitively) in his role as local MP and not minister, unless his department has a heretofore unrevealed hankering to expand its territory.

More good-news items and our Hill Ticker after the jump...