Inside Politics

Orders of the Day - Dude, where's our opposition day?

Well, on the face of it, this seems to be just plain petty: in what can only be seen as an act of pure procedural passive aggression, the government has postponed the NDP's much-anticipated-(at-least-by-the-NDP) opposition day on democratic reform until Wednesday -- the shortest sitting day of the week -- thus curtailing what would otherwise have been a full day of glorious debate over the merits and drawbacks of proportional representation and the future of the Senate to a mere two hours.

Given the acerbic commentary emanating from the twitter account of prime ministerial communicator Dimitri Soudas, it's difficult to interpret the move as anything other than a fit of pique over the perennially lacklustre progress of the current legislative agenda, but it does seem a bit mean to take that out on the NDP, which, due to its relatively modest seat count, is allocated considerably fewer opposition days than the other two parties.

Undaunted by the last-minute timing change, NDP Leader Jack Layton will proceed as scheduled with a morning news conference that was originally supposed to kick off the debate in the House, during which he and the party's democratic reform critic, David Christopherson, will, as per the advisory, put forward a "pragmatic plan to make elections more democratic and Parliament more representative and accountable." They can take -- or, at least, defer - -- his opposition day, but he'll always have the National Press Theatre!

On the committee front, Industry Minister Tony Clement heads back to the UBBarricades this afternoon to deliver what will undoubtedly be an impassioned defence of his decision to overrule the CRTC on the question of usage-based billing.

Meanwhile, the supplementary estimates circuit is well underway at Status of Women, Finance and, perhaps especially, Government Operations and Estimates, which will hear from a pantheon of senior officials from Treasury Board, Public Works and the Privy Council Office, although not, alas, from any of the relevant ministers.

Also on the agenda today:

  • The C-32 legislative committee continues its seemingly impossible quest to hear from every single witness with a bone to pick about the latest attempt to reform Canada's now vintage but far from mint condition copyright laws
  • Human Resources goes behind closed doors to wrangle over the wording of the draft report on the cancellation of the long-form census
  • Procedure and House Affairs mulls over the latest batch of non-votable private members' business items
  • And finally, Public Accounts gets an update on the RCMP's pension management prowess, and particularly the implementation of the recommendations put forth in the Brown report. 

That's about it for the moment -- don't forget to follow the ticker for the very latest news! 

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

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