Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Tags: ballot box, power & politics

We asked: Do the oilsands help or hurt the Canadian economy?

Here are the results:
Yes: 24%
No: 69%
Not sure: 7%

(Note: This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
As noted in Orders of the Day, earlier today, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson dropped by the Hill to share her thoughts on the MPs' conflict of interest code, which is currently under review at Procedure and House Affairs. 

Among her recommendations: more wide-ranging recusal requirements related to the potential furthering of private interests, more rigorous reporting requirements, including requiring MPs to publicly disclose all gifts over $30 in value -- as opposed to the current threshold of $500 -- and expanding the existing disclosure requirements to cover any event "at which food and beverages will be served." 

Yes, it appears that, after four years on the job, someone finally let the ethics commissioner in on the existence of the Hill reception circuit, and now she wants to know more about just who is footing the bill for the cheese plates and wine stations, and what they may be hoping to get out of doing so.  

Not surprisingly, members were unanimous in their lack of enthusiasm over the prospect of opening their social calendars to further public scrutiny, although they did seem willing to consider a compromise: namely, putting the onus on event organizers -- generally, but not exclusively, industry associations and other lobby groups -- to keep the ethics commissioner in the loop. 

Dawson also seemed willing to consider differentiating between events open to all MPs, and more exclusive affairs for which invitations are offered to a select few. 

In any case, due to a timing conflict, I wasn't able to catch Dawson's opening statement, but I caught up with the meeting a few minutes late. For those who missed my impromptu twitter coverage of her appearance, here's how it all went down. 

Hit the jump for the full story. 
As noted in Orders of the Day, earlier today, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson dropped by the Hill to share her thoughts on the MPs' conflict of interest code, which is currently under review at Procedure and House Affairs. 

Among her recommendations: more wide-ranging recusal requirements related to the potential furthering of private interests, more rigorous reporting requirements, including requiring MPs to publicly disclose all gifts over $30 in value -- as opposed to the current threshold of $500 -- and expanding the existing disclosure requirements to cover any event "at which food and beverages will be served." 

Yes, it appears that, after four years on the job, someone finally let the ethics commissioner in on the existence of the Hill reception circuit, and now she wants to know more about just who is footing the bill for the cheese plates and wine stations, and what they may be hoping to get out of doing so.  

Not surprisingly, members were unanimous in their lack of enthusiasm over the prospect of opening their social calendars to further public scrutiny, although they did seem willing to consider a compromise: namely, putting the onus on event organizers -- generally, but not exclusively, industry associations and other lobby groups -- to keep the ethics commissioner in the loop. 

Dawson also seemed willing to consider differentiating between events open to all MPs, and more exclusive affairs for which invitations are offered to a select few. 

In any case, due to a timing conflict, I wasn't able to catch Dawson's opening statement, but I caught up with the meeting a few minutes late. For those who missed my impromptu twitter coverage of her appearance, here's how it all went down. 

Hit the jump for the full story. 

Orders of the Day - Whither the F-35 inquiry at Public Accounts?

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

On the same day that Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is set to release her latest report on the state of Canada's access to information regime, yet another skirmish in the perennial battle over Parliament's -- and, ultimately, the public -- right to know is underway at Public Accounts, where opposition members are expected to continue their efforts to stop the government from shutting down the ongoing inquiry into the F-35 procurement debacle. 

At least, that's what we think will happen: the meeting itself is set to take place in camera, which means we may never know what goes on behind committee doors. (Unless, of course, an aggrieved committee member decides to breach the non-disclosure rules as an act of parliamentary civil disobedience.) If she has time to kill before her press conference, the information commissioner could always drop by -- but, then again, she, too, would be barred from the room. 

Hit the jump for the full post. 
The PM makes a rare prime time appearance in the capital as the guest of honour at the inaugural National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress

The conference, which is billed as the first such event to be held in Canada, is being organized by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, a registered charity that issued tax receipts for $2,772,436 in 2010.

Also listed as sponsors of the conference: the Dallas Safari Club, the Montana-based Boone and Crockett Club, the Wild Sheep Foundation of Wyoming and Conservation Force, based out of Louisiana. 

Earlier this month, Environment Minister Peter Kent accused Canadian environmental groups of "laundering foreign funds for inappropriate use against Canadian interest." 

In an interview with CBC's The House, Kent said: "There are allegations -- and we have very strong suspicions -- that some funds have come into the country improperly to obstruct, not to assist, in the environmental assessment process." 

Under the same bill that will streamline fisheries regulations, the government is also moving to tighten the rules that govern political activities by charitable organizations. The OFAH has also lobbied the government on a variety of issues, including, most recently, fish habitat regulation, which will also undergo sweeping revision as part of the omnibus budget bill.   

Check back at 7pm for full coverage! 

Mobile-friendly text feed available here or hit the jump for the full ScribbleLive experience! 

Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Tags: ballot box, power & politics

We asked: Is it appropriate for Tom Mulcair to comment on the oilsands before visiting?

Here are the results:
Yes: 85%
No: 14%
Not sure: 0%

(Note: This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
Parliamentary junkies, set your watches: The Great CP Rail Back-to-Work Debate is set to get underway just after 3pm today and continue until -- well, no one knows for sure, although it's a safe bet that the Chamber will still be alive with the sound of parliamentary democracy when the clock strikes midnight, and quite possibly far longer. 

In any case, I'll be following -- and liveblogging -- tonight's events from start to finish, although depending on how late it goes, I may alternate between live and remote viewing via ParlVu, depending on which seems more conducive to comprehensive, coherent and colourful coverage.  

In the meantime, here's a tentative rundown of how we expect tonight's legislative mad dash to unfold: 

After QP wraps up, the government will invoke closure on the motion to allocate just 3.5 hours of debate on the back-to-work legislation itself, which will be followed by 30 minutes for questions and comments, a 30 minute bell and a vote. 

Once that's been ticked off the to-do list, the Chamber will resume debate on the time allocation motion itself, which will carry on until 8pm -- with a one-hour break  for private members' business/dinner/dog-walking -- at which point there will be another 30 minute bell and vote before the back-to-work bill -- C-39, that is -- can be brought forward, and the real marathon begins.

How long will that take? As is so often the case when it comes to parliamentary business, that depends.

Although the time allocation motion imposes a rigid schedule on the length of the various stages of debate -- two hours for second reading, one hour for Committee of the Whole (CotW) and 30 minutes for third reading -- when it comes to votes, including votes on any amendments that are proposed during CotW, the clock stops.

Unless the House agrees to apply results -- which requires unanimous consent, and as such, seems unlikely to occur --  that means a standing vote for each amendment, as well the 19 clauses in the bill itself. Depending on how quickly MPs stand up to be counted during the roll  call, that will take between 7 and 10 minutes per vote. 

Once CotW has wound down, the Chamber will hit the final lap -- third reading, which means one more hour of debate -- before one last 30 minute bell and a final vote. After that, everyone gets to go home to bed -- or, depending on exactly what time it is, caucus. Or breakfast. Do they serve breakfast at caucus? They really should on days like this.

In any case, check back at 3pm for full coverage -- but be prepared to stick around for the night. 

Mobile-friendly auto-updating feed here or hit the jump for the full ScribbleLive experience. 
As the battle over the Canadian Pacific back-to-work bill looms over the parliamentary horizon, according to the Projected Order of Business, the House will kick off what will likely be the longest uninterrupted sitting day of the year on a distinctly anticlimactic note: third reading of the pooled registered pensions bill.   

But as the saying goes, don't mistake the map - or, in this case, the POB - for the territory. Objects -- or obstructionist procedural tactics -- may indeed be closer than they appear.  

Hit the jump for the full post. 
Both the Finance committee and C-38 subcommittee will kick off independent, but ultimately complementary reviews of the omnibudget bill this afternoon, with overlapping super-sized sessions set to run from 3:30 to 8:30 pm, and 6:30 to 10pm, respectively.  

On the witness list at the main committee: senior officials from virtually every department that will be affected by the legislation, as well as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadians for Tax Fairness, the Grain Growers of Canada, Imagine Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and blogger Vivian Krause, who has written extensively about alleged foreign funding of Canadian environmental charities. 

The subcommittee, meanwhile, will hear from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Nuclear Association, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Association, the Ontario Commercial Fisheries' Association, the Canadian Construction Association, the Mining Association of Canada and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

Given the conflicting schedules, it is, alas, impossible for one liveblogger to cover both meetings at the same time. Instead, I'm going to try to keep track of both rooms through the ParlVu livestreams, which should allow me to monitor interesting and/or noteworthy events in both rooms. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how it works. 

Check back at 6:30 pm for full coverage! 

Mobile-friendly text feed available here.or hit the jump for full SL coverage. 

Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Tags: ballot box, power & politics



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