Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Richmond Hill for the much-anticipated unveiling of his government's latest bid to boost the powers of Canada's law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor, track, and, as reported by CBC News last night, even preemptively disrupt the activities of suspected terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.
Although the bill itself will, of course, must be tabled in the House of Commons, which is expected to take place shortly after noon, the advisory for today's event makes it clear that, as far as the government is concerned, that's little more than a bit of parliamentary paperwork, as the two ministers to be charged with shepherding the bill through the House — Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Justice Minister Peter MacKay — are slated to join the prime minister at the Toronto-area event.
Back in Ottawa, MPs will spend one final day debating the pros and cons of the previous anti-terror bill, which was introduced last fall just weeks after the Oct. 22 shootings, and will expand the reach of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to conduct operations outside Canada.
A few blocks away from Parliament Hill, Canada's provincial and territorial premiers — except, that is, for Alberta's Jim Prentice, who claimed to be too busy planning to the budget to join his counterparts in Ottawa, and Saskatchewan's Brad Wall, who will be attending via teleconference — will convene behind closed doors at a downtown Ottawa hotel, where they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to their respective and collective interests, including energy, infrastructure and internal trade barriers.
Later this morning, a coalition of concerned advocacy groups, including the Council of Canadians, Ecology Ottawa and the Raging Grannies will gather outside the venue to call on the assembled premiers to address what they describe as "the elephant in the room": TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline, which, they aver, will "unleash pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars on the roads."
On the opposition front, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair makes his way to Sudbury, where he'll team up with his Ontario counterpart, Andrea Howarth, in a show of support for provincial byelection hopeful Suzanne Shawbonquit, who will face off against former federal New Democrat turned provincial Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault at the ballot box next week.
Before hitting the hustings, Mulcair will pay a visit to a local retirement home, chat with students at Cambrian College and drop by the local Legion to meet with veterans.
Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is off to Quebec, where he will deliver a lunch speech at the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Nouvelle-Beauce.
Elsewhere on the out of town circuit:
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement takes his CODE 2015 promotion campaign to Dalhousie University, where he'll join XMG Studio Inc. founder Ray Sharma to "share details and highlights regarding the next iteration of this outstanding appathon."
- In Saint-Felicien, Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel promises news on the city's 150th anniversary celebrations.
- Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal makes an appearance at the 2015 National Soccer Coaching Conference at the Varsity Centre at the University of Toronto.
- Finally, International Trade Minister Ed Fast hosts a "Go Global Export Workshop" in Edmonton.
For up to the minute dispatches from the precinct and beyond, keep your eye on the Parliament Hill Ticker: