Inside Politics

Orders of the Day - One more sleep until the next next phase of Canada's Economic Action! Plan is revealed!

On the eve of what is being billed as a "transformational" budget -- the first to be introduced under a majority since 2003 -- the Hill will come alive with the sound of caucus meetings, most notably that of the Official Opposition, which will convene under its new permanent leader for the first time. (That is, unless you count the post-convention session that took place on Sunday morning in Toronto.) The party will also welcome Craig Scott, who coasted to victory in the Toronto-Danforth by-election two weeks ago.

On the House agenda today: The financial system review bill begins third reading debate, which, in this case, marks the final leg of its legislative journey as it originated in the Senate. 

Also worth watching this evening: the final vote on Conservative MP John Carmichael's now purely symbolic bill to encourage the unfettered flying of the Canadian flag. (In its original form, it included enforcement provisions that could, in theory, have resulted in landlords and condo association representatives being jailed for refusing to permit such patriotic adornments, but happily, common sense broke out at committee, and the bill was stripped of all punitive measures.)

Meanwhile, on the committee front, Foreign Affairs will hear what Netherlands cultural anthropology professor Sabine Luning has to say about private sector involvement in international development, and Auditor General Michael Ferguson drops by Government Operations to share his thoughts on the estimates review process.

On the media circuit: A "group of very concerned citizens", led by former defence minister Paul Hellyer and including, among others, farmer/professor/author/defeated Canadian Action Party candidate Jerry Ackerman and former Social Credit MP Andre Bernier, bring their campaign for monetary reform to the Hill by convening a press conference to "expose the totally oppressive nature of the international banking cartel and financial system." What, nothing about how extraterrestrial banking technology could save the economy? WHO GOT TO YOU, MR. HELLYER?  

Outside the precinct, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will hold the traditional pre-budget footwear photo op, which, this year, is slated to take place at an honest-to-goodness retail shoe store, thus giving fresh hope to those of us who have had our fill of optics-driven gimmickry that he's simply going to buy a new pair of loafers, just like finance ministers did in the olden (pre-2006) days.  

In past years, Flaherty has compelled the cameras to bear witness as he picked up a hockey skates for his son (child fitness credit!), squeezed his own feet into a pair of too-small work boots (shovel-ready infrastructure funds!) and had an old pair resoled by a local cobbler (alternately, oh no, we're out of money! or, more optimistically, austerity!). 

Finally, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney is off to the Minto Suites hotel to share the glad tidings on progress towards recognition of foreign credentials.  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. 

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