Inside Politics

UPDATED - Orders of the Day - Let the frantic last-minute byelection speculation begin!

So, just how badly the Liberals are going to be beaten in Vaughan? Well, if you ask pretty much any political pundit -- or even if you deliberately don't, but then accidentally make eye contact at the wrong moment, thus triggering a spontaneous outburst of prognosticating -- "like a gong" would seem to be the current consensus. Really, at this point, the predictions are so dire that if Tony Genco does manage to eke out a reasonably respectable showing against Conservative cabinet minister in waiting Julian Fantino -- a gap of five percent or less, for instance -- it might moot, or at least mute, the potency of the Worse Than Outremont meme already in heavy pre-vote circulation. 

There are, of course, two other seats up for grabs -- Winnipeg North, and Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, but since those were held, and are expected to be retained by the New Democrats and the Conservatives, respectively, they're really not getting nearly as much attention as they deserve from the national press. Sorry about that, Manitoba - just remember, the polls don't close til 8:30 pm, so there's still time to surprise us!

Meanwhile, the initial rollout of those much-anticipated Wikileak-ed revelations -- which I liveblogged here -- may have been rather light on CanCon, but there's much more to come, judging from the tantalizing tags that we've been able to tease out of the raw data, which covers the complete trove of more than 250,000 US embassy cables, most of which have yet to be made public. At the moment, it looks like Thursday will be the day that our foibles -- or, more precisely, various candid US assessments thereof -- will hit the headlines. In the meantime. In the interim, there's plenty of non-Canadian intrigue to keep even the most discriminating political junkie busy. 

UPDATE: For breaking Wikileaks news -- as well as the occasional idle musing -- you can follow the Wikileaks liveblog here

As far as official parliamentary business goes, the government's much-(self)-touted crackdown on human smuggling begins second reading consideration later today.

On the committee schedule this afternoon: RCMP Commissioner William Elliott heads to Public Safety to deliver a briefing on -- it's not entirely clear what, exactly, but it's probably a pretty safe bet that MPs will have no shortage of questions for him.

Two private members' bills take centre stage at committee today, albeit at very different stages: NDP MP Linda Duncan's bid to create a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights hits clause-by-clause review over at Environment -- which, depending on whether it gets caught in a filibuster, could have it back in the House for a final vote before the Christmas break, and the Finance committee begins its examination of the fine print in Liberal MP Albina Guarnieri's proposal to yank the charitable status of any organization that forks out more than $250,000 to a single executive. 

Over at International Trade. members resume their study of the Canada-Panama Free Trade, with MiningWatch Canada, the Canadian Foundation for the Americas and Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters on the witness list, as well as Clarke Educations Services, whose general manager will appear by videoconference from Panama City, and at Citizenship and Immigration, the recent Auditor General report on service delivery within the department is on the agenda, as is the most recent annual report. 

Finally, C-32 (copyright reform) legislative committee deals with unspecified housekeeping business.
For up to the minute dispatches from the precinct and beyond, keep your eye on the Parliament Hill Ticker below -- or, alternatively, bookmark it and check back throughout the day. 

Berry-friendly/iphone-tolerant/lo-bandwidth/auto-updating/minimalistastic text feed available here


Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day, parliament hill ticker

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