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.
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