Inside Politics

PM to unveil religious freedom office details during Vaughan mosque visit

With the Commons curtained until next week to allow MPs some quality one-on-many time with the electorate, the PM spends the day in the Greater Toronto Area, beginning with a visit to a Woodbridge contracting firm, where he'll pose for pictures alongside CIDA Minister Julian Fantino.

Later this afternoon, both men will join Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a nearby Ahmadiyya mosque, which will serve as backdrop for an update on the much-mulled-over Office of Religious Freedom that the Conservatives first pledged to create during the 2011 election campaign. 

Interestingly, from the advisory, it doesn't appear that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will take part in today's announcement, which seems odd, given that the office falls within his portfolio. 

In any case, elsewhere in the province, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is in Kitchener, where she'll round up a group of unidentified "key stakeholders" to talk priorities -- "economic and social priorities," to be precise -- for the upcoming budget, which, it's fair to say, really should be very nearly finished, what with the rapidly approaching March 31 deadline to get it in before the end of the fiscal year.

Moving east, four out of five Quebec Conservatives hit the break week good news circuit:

  • Transport Minister Denis Lebel delivers glad tidings -- almost certainly in the form of federal funding -- to the Patro Roc-Amadour;
  • Industry Minister Christian Paradis shows his support -- again, in financial terms -- for local youth in Plessisville;
  • The province's lone non-cabinet member MP, Jacques Gourde, doles out still more dollars at a Drummondville community centre; and finally,
  • Veterans Affairs Minister Steve Blaney attends an "important commemoration event" at the Citadel, which won't involve new money but will almost certainly highlight his government's previous generosity
Not to be outdone by his Quebecois colleagues, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue is scheduled to outline new "funding investments" for local businesses at Labrador City's Two Seasons Inn, while elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, local Conservative MPs set out to reveal new infrastructure spending for their respective home ridings.

On the opposition front: New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair pays a visit to Calgary, where he's slated to speak at a chamber of commerce lunch and meet with local reporters.

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, meanwhile, heads to Cape Breton, where he'll chat with high schoolers at Sydney Academy, talk to the local chamber of commerce and, eventually, wind up at the next stop on his epic-length farewell tour: a "Thanks A Million, Bob" reception for local Liberals.

Finally, Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau makes yet another appearance at McGill, where he'll take questions from students, and, later this morning, make himself available to the media. He'll also drop by Dawson College. 

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

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