Inside Politics

Conservatives attempt to fast-track tweaks to anti-terror law

As reported right here on Friday, today was originally scheduled to be an opposition day, but that call was abruptly scuppered after the Liberals went public with a pro-backbencher motion that newly elected party leader Justin Trudeau planned to put before the House for a vote,

Moments later, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan popped up in the Chamber to inform MPs that there had been a last-minute change to the schedule, ostensibly to allow the Commons to wrap up debate on those all but forgotten changes to the anti-terrorism regime that have been languishing on the Order Paper since February.

As a result, Trudeau won't get to introduce his motion until Wednesday afternoon, with a maximum of just two hours allotted for the ensuing debate.

Meanwhile, the Chamber will devote the day to discussing the aforementioned S-7, which would restore certain provisions related to investigative hearings, security certificates and other procedural issues, as well as make 'technical amendments' related to future parliamentary review of the law, which would allow for either the extension, or, alternately, sunsetting of those measures.

Given the government's reported desire to turn the two days now allocated for report and third reading consideration of the bill into a discussion of Trudeau's comments on looking for the 'root causes' of terrorism following the Boston Marathon bombings, it's worth pointing out that the Liberals have actually supported the bill, with the caucus -- including Trudeau -- voting with the government in support thereof at second reading last fall, and backing the Conservatives at committee.

As for the fate of Trudeau's pitch to liberate pre-QP members' statements from the control of the party whips, we'll just have to wait until Wednesday to find out whether it will win the support of anyone on that reportedly cranky Conservative backbench. 

In any case, before all that gets underway, New Democrat environment critic Megan Leslie will share the details of her party's new campaign to "reinstate protections" for "ten important waterways" with a synchronized series of private members' bills to exempt those rivers from last year's omnibudget-related changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Also hitting the Hill media circuit today: Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, who will discuss, alongside "members of the Canadian Venezuelan community," the recent election in that country "and its subsequent outcome."

Meanwhile, on the committee front:

  • Conservative MP Earl Dreeshan gets his first opportunity to present his private members' bid to make it an offence to "personate a peace or public officer" to his colleagues on Justice
  • At Ethics, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart fields questions on her projected office budget for next year as detailed in the main estimates
  • International Trade continues to investigate the potential benefits for Canada in becoming a full member of the Pacific Alliance
  • Status of Women hears from Queensland University business professor Paula McDonald as part of its long-running study on sexual harassment within the federal workplace.

Outside the precinct, Environment Minister Peter Kent heads to Carleton University for an announcement, press conference and photo op at the National Wildlife Research Centre.

Elsewhere in the capital, Minister of State for Transport Steve Blaney joins Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra and Laureen Harper at the Ottawa Humane Society for the official launch of a new series of "commemorative stamps" to "promote the adoption of shelter animals."

Across the river, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson kicks off National Victims of Crime Week with a breakfast speech at a "federal symposium" on the issue, during which he will, according to the nightly PMO-issued Notable Event bulletin, "announce support for victims across the country."

Also out and about today:

  • Governor General David Johnston hosts a roundtable discussion on education partnerships between Canada and Africa, as well as a Google Hangout on "youth engagement and volunteerism."
  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay delivers fresh federal support to Halifax-based Internetworking Atlantic Inc.
  • Minister of State for Science Gary Goodyear talks "leadership innovation" at the University of Waterloo.
  • Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz unveils new funding for Manitoba during an visit to the provincial legislature in Winnipeg.
  • Industry Minister Christian Paradis leads a delegation of Canadians to Chicago for the 2013 BIO International Convention.

Finally, at noon, marathon runners, MPs and other well-wishers are set to assemble on the parliamentary front lawn before marching to the nearby US embassy as a show of support following last week's attacks.

According to a notice received last week, participants are encouraged to bring "old running shoes" that will be ceremoniously hung on the embassy gates, and subsequently donated to a local mission. 

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.

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

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