Inside Politics

Orders of the Day - Parliament vs. Anonymous (Round Two)

The Honourable Member for Provencher will take centre stage at Procedure and House Affairs today as the committee resumes its inquiry into those allegedly threatening videos purportedly posted by the amorphous entity known as Anonymous. Queen's University professor emeritus Ned Franks is also slated to appear at today's meeting, presumably to share his expertise on parliamentary privilege.

It's probably worth noting -- in all caps, bolded and a 18 point typeface, with wee wingding arrows -- that today's hearing will not -- or, at least, should not -- venture into the murky waters of @Vikileaksdom, as that portion of Toews' privilege claim was roundly dismissed by the speaker, and, as such, is not covered by the committee's terms of reference. That said, it may be difficult for committee members to avoid the issue completely, particularly if the minister brings it up in his opening statement. 

Meanwhile, due to the inexplicable decision to shoehorn two oversight committees into the same time slot, at the very same time that Toews will be venting his spleen on the ignominy of being targeted for unspecified retribution by a pseudonymous collective, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson will go before Ethics to discuss the main estimates for their respective offices.

Dawson may also be called upon to expound on the findings in her recent report on the conduct of Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who, she concluded, had indeed placed himself in a conflict of interest with regard to his interaction with former Conservative MP turned (unregistered and, by all accounts, woefully inept) lobbyist. That is, if the chair decides to permit such tangential lines of questioning, which is by no means a sure thing even when it is a member of the opposition who wields the gavel.

Also on the estimates circuit today: Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, Transport Minister Denis Lebel and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Over at Health, the committee will begin an investigation into the Canadian drug supply, and specifically, the role of both industry in government in the management thereof, with today's slate of witnesses to include the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management and HealthPRO Procurement Services Inc.m as well as longtime nemeses Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceuticals and  the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, who represent, respectively, the ever-loggerheaded patent and generic drug industries.  

Finally, three more (Conservative-sponsored) private members' bills go up for committee review today: David Tilson's bid to crack down on war memorial-directed mischief, Roxanne James' campaign to stymie "vexatious complaints" by federal inmates and Dan Albas' all-party-supported push to liberate Canadian wine from pernicious interprovincial trade barriers.

On the media circuit today:

  • Representatives from the Council of Canadians unveils the details of its support for legal action to "annul results" in seven ridings "based on evidence of irregularities, fraud and other activities that affected the outcome of the 2011 election."
  • Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers hold a press conference with unidentified opposition MPs on an unspecified subject, most likely to share their respective and collective thoughts on the latest twists and turns in the Air Canada labour dispute.
  • New Democrat employment insurance critic Claude Patry "reports on his consultations with Quebecers" on cuts to Service Canada.
  • Liberal MP Irwin Cotler briefs reporters on his most recent foray to the Middle East

Also on the agenda today: Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae joins caucus colleagues Dominic LeBlanc and Senator Percy Downe, as well as "young scholars from universities across Canada", for a roundtable discussion on "foreign policy for the next generation".

Finally, a few blocks from the Hill, the sphinxian Lester B. Pearson Building will provide the venue as Defence Minister Peter MacKay hosts a trilateral meeting with his American and Mexican counterparts, an event that will include a brief media availability conveniently timed to take place right smack dab in the middle of Question Period. (Don't worry, minister, I'm sure that at a good sized contingent from the fourth estate will make the pilgrimage down Sussex Drive, if only to pester you with questions on the latest F-35 revelations.)  

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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