Inside Politics

UPDATED - Orders of the Day - Happy Hallowe'en, Hill denizens!

As Parliament Hill prepares to mark the first weeknight Hallowe'en in years, MPs will spend the morning sequestered behind the closed doors of their respective party caucus rooms. 

When the House re-opens for business this afternoon, Chamber watchers should take note of a last-minute change to the usual Wednesday afternoon programme:  private members' votes will be held immediately after Question Period, and not at 5:30 as is usually the case.

Among the bills up for final approval is Conservative MP Blake Richards' bid to make it a crime to wear mask during a riot or otherwise unlawful assembly, which is all but guaranteed passage, thanks to the enthusiastic support of the government -- so much so, in fact, that Richards will join Conservative Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais for a noon appearance in the Commons Foyer to celebrate its imminent sendoff to the Senate before the vote even takes place.

Other Conservative backbench business set for final approval today: David Tilson's bill to criminalize mischief related to war memorials and Guy Lauzon's move to garnish money awarded to offenders, which would be redirected to "victims and other designated beneficiaries."

Back in the Chamber, after the aforementioned private members' votes wrap up, members will will spend the (likely scant) remains of the sitting day on the Financial Literacy Leader Act, currently at report stage.

If they manage to make it through that debate with time left on the clock, the next item of legislative business on the government's to-do list is C-12, which would relax the rules related to the harvesting and disclosure of otherwise federally-protected personal information. 

On the committee front:

The omnibudget makes its debut at Finance, which is scheduled to hear from unnamed "senior officials,"  but not from any (or all) of the ministers responsible for the various and sundry laws set to be revamped under the bill, at least according to the notice, although given last spring's surprise triple ministerial appearance, it might be worth keeping an eye on this afternoon's meeting just in case.

Meanwhile, Citizenship and Immigration continues its study of the government's bid to fast-track the deportation of "foreign criminals", with Amnesty International, the Canadian Police Association and Victims of Violence president Sharon Rosenfeldt on today's witness list.

On the ministerial circuit today: Later this morning, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will make himself available to reporters hoping to discuss Canada's planned immigration levels for 2013, which will be released today.

Outside the precinct, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson heads to Regina to meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts.

Finally, later tonight, the Hallowe'en spirit will fill the grounds of Rideau Hall and Stornoway as two out of three of Ottawa's official residences open their doors for the annual ghouls' night out, with both official residents -- Governor General David Johnston and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair -- expected to be on hand for the ensuing tricks and/or treats.

As yet, there's no official word on whether the PM will be doling out strong, stable majority goodies at 24 Sussex this evening. I'll keep you posted. 

UPDATE: Good news, Sussex Drive (legally) masked revellers! It appears that the 24 Sussex will be joining the party -- the PM has a photo op scheduled for this evening, and although the word "Hallowe'en" doesn't appear, it's a safe bet that's the occasion. 

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

NOTE: Updates added in reverse chronological (newer to older) order.

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