Inside Politics

The Auditor General Cometh... with reports on search and rescue operations, anti-terror expenses

MPs will have one more day to peruse the fine print in the latest budget implementation bill -- which the NDP is already calling 'Omnibus 3.0', despite its comparatively slender 125-page girth -- before the opening round of debate gets underway later this week, thanks to the government's renewed enthusiasm for passing the military justice bill as soon as possible --- which, as it happens, likely means wrapping up third reading this afternoon, with or without the threatened time allocation motion for which notice was given yesterday evening. 

Also up for third reading approval tonight: Conservative MP Parm Gill's private members' bid to crack down on gang recruitment, which will likely go to a final vote tomorrow.

Later this morning, Auditor General Michael Ferguson will deliver his spring report, which will include his review of federal search and rescue operations, as well as a full analysis of spending under the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Initiative.

According to the advisory, today's release will also cover:

  • Development assistance through official multilateral organizations
  • Diabetes prevention and control,
  • The 'creation of a historical record' for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools
  • Employment insurance overpayments
  • Advance funding within the P3 Canada fund
  • Status reports on evaluating program effectiveness, security in contracting and collecting tax debts

An hour or so after the report has been duly tabled in the House of Commons, Ferguson will hit the stage at the National Press Theatre, where he'll take questions from reporters on his latest findings.

Before all that gets underway, however, a delegation of Quebec Liberal senators will hold a breakfast meeting with representatives from seven Quebec unions, during which they will discuss their mutual opposition to Conservative MP Russ Hiebert's bid to impose new disclosure requirements on labour organizations, which is currently stalled at second reading.

Meanwhile, former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent returns to the precinct, where, in his new role as chair of the Broadbent Institute, he'll share his thoughts on income inequality with Finance committee members.

Also on the witness list for the first of two back-to-back meetings today: University of Calgary 'executive fellow' Stephen Richardson, Assembly of First Nations CEO Peter Dinsdale and representatives from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Council on Social Development, Institut du Nouveau Monde and, via video conference, UBC professor Nicole Fortin, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

After devoting the first two hours of the day to the above study, the committee will turn its attention to the latest economic and fiscal outlook from the Parliamentary Budget Office, with interim PBO Sonia L'Heureux and senior PBO analysts expected to be on hand to provide context and detail.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

  • At Foreign Affairs, John Baird makes a joint appearance with junior minister Diane Ablonczy to take questions from MPs on the projected departmental budget for the coming year.
  • The main estimates are also on the agenda at Government Operations, which will hear from Public Works and Government Services deputy minister Michelle D'Auray and Shared Services Canada president Liseanne Forand.
  • Over at Aboriginal Affairs, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations chief Perry Bellegarde gives his perspective on Conservative MP Rob Clarke's private members' bill to increase transparency within First Nations band councils
  • At Status of Women, meanwhile, MPs continue to study the government's efforts to modernize the rules regarding matrimonial property on First Nations reserves with the help of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Betty Ann Lavallee.
  • Finally, still more Ontario MPs will share their respective and collective views on the proposed riding changes at Procedure and House Affairs, after which the committee will retreat behind closed doors to work on its reports on the recommendations for British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

On the ministerial circuit:

  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay will be on hand as representatives from the True Patriot Love Foundation and Bell share the details of a new mental health initiative designed to help members of the military and their families.
  • Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose heads to a local Ottawa high school for the launch of a "new online resource [to] help end relationship violence among young Canadians," with anti-bullying activist Sheldon Kennedy, Ottawa city councillor Alan Hubley and a representative from the Red Cross also expected to be in attendance.
  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and outgoing Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who will join representatives from VIA Rail and the Canadian Space Agency for the official unveiling of Canada's new $5 and $10 polymer bank notes.
  • Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield treks to Sarnia for the dedication of the first new mid-guard patrol vessel.
  • Finally, in Toronto, Agriculture parliamentary secretary Pierre Lemieux "highlights" his government's support for "Canadian agri-food industry exporters" at the Salon International de l'Alimentation. 

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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