Most recent entries for September 2011

Question of the Day

Just days after Brad Trost condemned his own government for its "apathetic" position on abortion, a second Conservative backbencher has joined the chorus. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
Sometimes things get a little rowdy in the House of Commons, especially between long-time political rivals. Like they did on Friday during question period. Hit the jump to read an exchange between Liberal MP Scott Brison and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that had the Speaker on his feet yelling "Order!"
From the Office of the Ethics Commissioner in response to certain reports on her appearance at Ethics yesterday morning: 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
As Hill denizens wrap up parliamentary business for the week, all -- or at least most -- eyes will be fixed on the Supreme Court of Canada this morning as it gets set to hand down a landmark ruling in the InSite case. 

NDP MP Olivia Chow holds a press conference to discuss her private members' bill calling for a national transit strategy as her caucus colleague, Nathan Cullen, prepares to formally announce his bid to lead the party at an event in British Columbia later today.  

Finally, the PM heads to Quebec City for a joint appearance with Quebec Premier Jean Charest, at which the pair are expected to announce the "long-awaited harmonized sales tax compensation deal."

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. 

Mobile-friendly auto-updating text feed available here or hit the jump for the full CoverItLive experience. 
... that he will not be accepting the very kind invitation of Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro to testify at the upcoming hearings on the CBC and Access to Information.  

Hit the jump for the full release, hot off the federal court presses. 

Question of the Day

Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance is making public for the first time the text of all submissions made to the committee as part of the 2011 pre-budget consultation process for next year's budget.

More links after the jump....
Scroll down for the liveblog from today's meeting. 

Well, that went down pretty much exactly as predicted in OotD, didn't it? Well, aside from the unusual, if understandable step taken by Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson in an effort to preempt any further questions on New Democratic Party fundraising practices: In her opening statement, the commissioner revealed she had actually rejected Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro's request that her office investigate the matter, citing insufficient grounds to do so within her current mandate, which does not, in fact, cover political parties. In fact, political parties, activities and fundraising are explicitly exempt from the provisions of the Members' Code of Conduct. 

She did, however, ask Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel for additional information, presumably on her party's sale of advertising space and sponsorship rights to unions and labour-affiliated organizations at its last convention, and she has forwarded Del Mastro's complaint to the Commissioner of Elections. 

Not surprisingly, that revelation did little to mollify Del Mastro, who, with the support of the full five-man Conservative contingent, proceeded to spend the rest of the meeting trying, with limited success, to persuade the commissioner to reconsider her initial rejection through progressively more abstract, theoretical arguments. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, NDP MPs did their collective best not to look too smug over advantage of the opportunity to dredge up Dawson's investigations into various and sundry Conservative-related controversies past, including former Independent Conservative MP Helena Guergis -- during which, it seems, the commissioner had some difficulty getting her hands on all the relevant documents -- as well as her findings in the Raitt, Dykstra and Flaherty reports. 

The commissioner also revealed that there are five ethics-related investigations currently underway, including two that have already entered "the public domain," as she puts it, focusing on Industry Minister Christian Paradis and former PMO aide Bruce Carson. Three other investigations were self-initiated, and no further details are available. 

Anyway, after Dawson was finally allowed to gracefully excuse herself from a meeting that had long since degenerated into petulant, passive aggressive cross-table bickering, NDP MP Charlie Angus got the chance to put forward his motion to investigate then-Industry Minister Tony Clement's involvement with the disbursement of the G8 Legacy Fund through the periscope of the Conflict of Interest Act, which, not surprisingly, failed on division. 

Mobile-friendly auto-updating text version available here or hit the jump for the full CoveritLive experience. 
In what has become a legislative tradition, the government will once again bring forward a bill to reform Canada's copyright regime today, a perennial effort that may at last come to fruition now that it holds a majority in the House of Commons. To celebrate the occasion -- and, most  likely, privately hoping that this is the last time he'll have to introduce this particular piece of legislation -- Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore will join cabinet colleague Christian Paradis at Cinema Paradisio to make a "brief statement" and take questions. 

Also making an announcement outside the precinct today: Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who will do so at the Life Sciences Centre at the University of Ottawa. 

Meanwhile, back on the Hill, the Ethics committee will kick off what is ostensibly, at least, a fact-finding mission into the relationship between the New Democratic Party and the labour movement -- specifically, the former's sale of advertising space/sponsorship rights to the latter at its most recent convention, an arrangement that will almost certainly be portrayed by the Conservative contingent as worryingly cosy, at best, and at worst a possible circumvention of laws banning unions from direct donations to political parties. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
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