Inside Politics

Will the government's royal baby bill spark a constitutional crisis?

As predicted in yesterday's OotD, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore is set to introduce the much-anticipated royal baby bill later this morning.

According to the advisory, the minister's scheduled appearance in the House of Commons Foyer, which will take place at approximately 10:15 am, after the bill has been duly tabled, will be preceded by a technical briefing at the National Press Theatre, during which the details of the government's bid to synchronize Canada's rules of regal succession with the rest of the Commonwealth will be laid out by departmental officials.

The gist? No longer will female heirs be passed over in favour of fast-tracking younger, male siblings, both male and female monarchs and monarchs-in-waiting will be permitted to marry Catholics, and descendents of George II will be able to marry whomever they see fit without first garnering the approval of She or He who wears the crown.

The big question for Canadian constitutional geeks, of course, is whether the changes are sufficiently significant to trigger the formal amendment process, which would oblige the federal government to garner the consent of the provinces to proceed, which you can read all about in detail, courtesy of CBC colleague Janyce McGregor.

Interestingly, the government seems to be touting the existence of a legal opinion that puts it in the clear, although as yet, it apparently hasn't been made public. Will it be made available to curious reporters at this morning's briefing? We'll soon find out!

Meanwhile, back in the Chamber, the New Democrats will get their first chance to seize temporary control of the House agenda during the first opposition day of the New Year.

As a result, MPs will spend the day debating a motion that would "recognize the broad-based demand for action," and exhort the government to "make the improvement of economic outcomes of First Nations, Inuit and Métis a central focus of Budget 2013, and to commit to action on treaty implementation and full and meaningful consultation on legislation that affects the rights of Aboriginal Canadians, as required by domestic and international law."

On the Hill media circuit today: New Democrat health critics Libby Davies and Djaouida Sellah hit the Centre Block press theatre to highlight Davies' private members' pitch for a national "sodium reduction strategy," which is up for a first hour of debate on Friday.

Meanwhile, Liberal MPs Sean Casey and Judy Foote have scheduled a press conference on the Last Post Fund. Although the notice provides no further details, it is almost certainly linked to a similarly-themed event taking place in Elmira, during which the fund's executive director, Jean-Pierre Goyer, will join Royal Canadian Legion Dominion President Gordon Moore and the Funeral Service Association of Canada for an announcement related to "the federal government's intransigence for Veterans' Funeral and Burial Benefits program."

On the committee front, Foreign Affairs members will get an update on the situation in Mali, courtesy of senior departmental officials from DFAIT, National Defence and CIDA.

Over at Procedure and House Affairs, the committee will get its first crack at the proposed electoral boundary changes, starting with Newfoundland and Labrador. Three opposition MPs - New Democrats Jack Harris and Ryan Cleary, and Liberal Scott Simms - are scheduled to testify on the redrawing of the districts.

Also this morning, Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Josie Okalik Eegeesiak heads to Aboriginal Affairs to share her views on C-47 - which would create a planning and project assessment law for Nunavut; Status of Women continues its investigation into sexual harassment within the federal workplace with testimony from senior executives at Canada Post, and representatives from various and sundry national police associations take part in the ongoing study into the economics of policing at Public Safety.

Later this afternoon, CBC president Hubert Lacroix heads to Official Languages, where, alongside Parks Canada officials, he will discuss "linguistic duality" during the upcoming celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Finally, the Liberal leadership circuit winds through Manitoba today, with Justin Trudeau slated to drop by Brandon University, and Martha Hall Findlay paying a visit to Winnipeg. 

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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