The latest quarterly party financial reports are up at the Elections Canada website, and the results are ... pretty much what one might expect, really, as far as the respective mid-year hauls to date, with each party reporting roughly half the take from the same quarter in 2010 - which, of course, coincided with the 2011 election campaign. 

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About those Senate attendance records...

Tags: attendance, Senate

Earlier this week, we published a Canadian Press story about the difficulty of tracking the attendance records of Senators, something which requires old-fashioned, in-person paper searching in a Senate office in downtown Ottawa. In an "open government" era, some believe its time to make these records available electronically.

Today, Senator David Tkachuk, the chair of the Senate's internal economy committee, responded to that report.

Full text, after the jump:

Hit the jump for the full post. 
In an interview with the Hill Times, veteran lobbyist Tim Powers seemed distinctly underwhelmed by the controversy swirling around those now contentious contributions that Conservative MP Paul Calandra's riding association collected from individuals involved in a bid for last spring. 

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Orders of the Day - Good news, Quebec maple products industry!

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

Behold the trio of intrepid footsoldiers patrolling the nation on one of the slowest days of the ministerial circuit we've seen since the House rose for the summer: 

  • Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who kicks off this week's leg of the Quebec good news-a-thon with a visit to the ACER Centre in St-Norbert D'Arthabaska, where he will reveal "significant investment" in the provincial maple products industry.

  • Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, who will pay a visit to United Way Ottawa to make an "important announcement."

  • And finally, Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher, who will take his long-term infrastructure consultation tour to Regina
Meanwhile, there's still no word from the Supreme Court on when the much-anticipated ruling on Etobicoke Centre will be delivered, but I'll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, 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. 
Hot on the heels of Calgary Alderman John Mar's departure from the field, former PMO staffer Joe Soares has joined the race to carry the Conservative banner in the still-to-be-called Calgary Centre by-election.  (And many thanks to the pseudonymous tipster who gave me a heads up on the news.) 

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UPDATE: Stan FM has issued an official statement on the matter, in which it confirms that last February, Stan Antony was invited to an event hosted by the Markham-Oakridges [sic] EDA last February "as a guest and a donor," at which he made a contribution of $500. The statement goes on to note that, during the event, Antony "was in the presence of close to 20 other people including, Mr. Prabha Selvadurai  - the Principal owner of World Band Media, and a large team of his friends and family. 

The statement notes that "no official business of STANFM was discussed and no opportunity was sought for this," and concludes by stating that  "STANFM adheres to the all the codes of conduct with respect to political fundraising." 

Hit the jump to read the full statement and the original post! 

Orders of the Day - Premiers head behind closed doors in Halifax

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

The premiers' meeting gets underway in earnest in Halifax this morning, with health care expected to top the official agenda. Outside the conference room, however, the still brewing battle between British Columbia and Alberta over the Northern Gateway will likely dominate the discussion. 

Despite the potential for interprovincial fisticuffs, the media spotlight may briefly shift to nearby New Glasgow, where Defence Minister Peter MacKay is scheduled to make a mid-morning appearance in support of his government's efforts to help the homeless, but will almost certainly be questioned about recent comments made by his wife, international human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay, in support of the return to Canada by Omar Khadr. 

Also out and about in Nova Scotia today: Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who will unveil investments in new research on "improving outcomes" for children -- and families -- dealing with fetal alcohol and autism spectrum disorders, and Veterans Affairs Minister Steve Blaney, who will deliver an "important announcement" at the Halifax region Military Family Resource Centre. 

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The eyes of Official -- or, at least, Politically Obsessed -- Ottawa will focus like a laser on Halifax today as the clock ticks down to what could well be the most internally rancorous gathering of first ministers (minus, of course, the prime minister) in years, which will kick off with a welcome reception this evening, and get down to serious interprovincial business on Thursday. Before the main event gets underway tomorrow, however, a meeting between premiers and First Nations and aboriginal leaders is set to take place in Lunenburg later today. 

Meanwhile, back in the capital, representatives from the Syrian National Council, the Syrian Canadian Council and others meet with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to "suggest different political, economic and humanitarian options that Canada can pursue to support the Syrian people in their struggle." 

Although the discussion itself is, not surprisingly, slated to be held behind closed doors, later this afternoon, the groups involved will head to the Charles Lynch Press Theatre to make themselves available to reporters.  

UPDATE: According to a just-released advisory, the minister is now scheduled to hold a "brief" media availability of his own after the meeting wraps up at 11:30. 

Elsewhere on the Hill, the Special Committee on Cooperatives continues its week-long series of hearings on the state of cooperatives in Canada with a full days' worth of witnesses, including the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité, Ag Energy Co-operative, La Coop federee, Desjardins Group and other interested parties. 

A Canadian Tire parking lot in the east end of Ottawa will serve as backdrop as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation unveils -- literally -- a new billboard campaign with a familiar target: the "lavish" MPs' pension plan, which the CTF maintains must be reformed. 

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Hit the jump to read all about it.