Niqab ban, Finley ethics ruling likely on all parties' caucus agenda
Also today: Defence Minister Jason Kenney defends budget boost for Canada's e-spying agency
As another Wednesday dawns on the Hill, MPs head behind closed doors for their respective weekly party caucus confabs for what will likely be particularly lively, if — alas — off-the-record discussions on the political events of the week.
- Niqab controversy: Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau wade into culture war over the veil
- Diane Finley breached conflict rules, federal ethics watchdog rules
- Bill C-51: Blaney, MacKay questioned on anti-terror bill fine print
At least one party leader — Justin Trudeau — is currently slated to submit to a post-meeting chat with reporters, although New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair may well end up doing so as well.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Jason Kenney joins Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino for a mid-afternoon appearance before the House defence committee as its members take a closer look at the latest budget demands by the Communications Security Establishment.
Back in the Chamber, MPs will get one last chance to share their preliminary thoughts on the government's proposed regulatory changes for Yukon and Nunavut, which will likely be put under time allocation today.
This evening, the Commons will hand down its final verdict on the New Democrat's proposal to scrap income splitting to focus on job creation, which is doubtless doomed to defeat.
The House will also vote on whether to send Conservative MP Joe Preston's bid to remove jail time as a possible penalty for failure to fill out a mandatory survey to committee for further study.
Elsewhere on the committee front:
- Finance continues to investigate the impact of plunging oil prices on the Canadian economy, with C.D. Howe Institute researchers Philip Cross and Steven Ambler set to join professors Jean-Thomas Bernard and Wade Locke, as well as representatives from the banking sector at the witness table this afternoon.
- Justice resumes consideration of the pros and cons of taking fetal alcohol spectrum disorder into account in sentencing, as originally proposed by Conservative MP Ryan Leef in a private members' bill that went down to defeat last year.
- Equifax Canada vice-president Tara Zecevic, Ryerson Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute director Avner Levin and Ecole Polytechnique associate software professor Jose Manuel Fernandez brief Ethics members on what the committee's orders of reference describe as the "growing problem of identity theft," particularly "its economic impact."
Outside the precinct, Minister of State for ACOA Rob Moore, who also serves as regional minister for New Brunswick, drops by the Fredericton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion to "highlight an important new benefit for Canadian veterans and their families," which will likely be the changes announced earlier this week by Veteran Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole.
Finally, later this evening, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing will be presented at Politics and the Pen gala, a "celebration of Canadian political and literary culture" that has become one of the most must-do events on the capital social circuit.