Inside Politics

UPDATED - Orders of the Day - Oh, to be in Halifax when the Council of the Federation is there!

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.

On the ministerial circuit:

  • Small Business and Tourism Minister of State Maxime Bernier turns up in Mont-Saint-Pierre with good news -- read: $$$ --- for the 35th Fete du Vol Libre, or Festival of Free Flight, which attracts paragliding and hang gliding enthusiasts from around the world.
  • During an appearance at Toronto's East Gallery, seemingly indefatigable International Trade Minister Ed Fast provides an update on Canada's "deepening" trade relationship with Burma" before heading to Bombardier Aerospace, where local MP Mark Adler will join him on a tour of the facility.
  • In Ottawa, Industry Minister Christian Paradis pays a visit to the David Florida Laboratory at the Canadian Space Agency, where he will "celebrate the Canadian achievements in developing instruments .... for the James Webb Space Telescope" by examining the hardware before it's shipped off to NASA for full integration.
  • Moving west to Manitoba, Minister of State for Seniors Alice Wong attends the official opening of the Gladstone Wellness Trail in Williams Park.
  • Across the ocean, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal will be on hand in London for the official arrival ceremony and welcome celebrations for the Canadian Olympic Team.

Finally, the Broadbent Institute launches, a social media campaign marking the first anniversary of the late NDP leader's death by inviting Canadians to "share how Jack Layton's vision has lived on." 

 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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