Inside Politics

UPDATED - House to hold after hours emergency debate on Syrian situation

The Commons will spend one final day debating the pros and cons of the government's latest omnibudget bill, which will go to a preliminary vote this evening, after which it will be temporarily broken down into thematically-linked parts and divvied up amongst the relevant committees, which will then proceed to conduct a more rigorous review of the specific provisions put before them -- at least, in theory.

Later tonight, the House will host a special emergency debate on the situation in Syria.

As is standard with such proceedings, no vote will be held, but members will at least be able to put their views on the official record. Depending on how many choose to do so, the ensuing discussion could last until midnight.

Outside the Chamber, the main estimates circuit begins to wind down, with just two committees -- Finance and Government Operations -- slated to go through the fine print: Finance, where MPs will put questions to various Canada Revenue Agency officials, although interestingly, not the minister, who is not scheduled to appear; and Government Operations, which will hear from the Public Service Labour Relations Board acting chair David Olsen.

After finishing up with CRA officials, Finance will turn its attention to Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant's private members' bill to crack down on unscrupulous promoters of fee-based disability tax credit consultants, which is headed for clause-by-clause review later today.

Over at Agriculture, yesterday's revelation regarding the incalculable cost of restoring full federal bee-keeping oversight and monitoring capacities may well come up as the committee investigates losses in honey bee colonies, with the help of expert witnesses from CropLife Canada, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Canadian Honey Council and Alberta beekeepers.

Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs embarks on a "comparative analysis study" into the services and benefits offered to veterans by Canada and its allies, while Foreign Affairs examines the situation facing Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern countries.

Also on the agenda this morning:

  • Status of Women gets a briefing on the government's proposal to modernize on-reserve matrimonial property rights from Iroquois Caucus chief William Montour, Quebec Native Women president Viviane Michel and Ellen Gabriel, as well as Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, who will appear by video conference
  • Transport goes behind closed doors to discuss Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia's motion to hold hearings on the security of Canada's rail service
  • Procedure and House Affairs continues to toil away on proposed riding changes, with still more Ontario MPs set to speak publicly before the committee goes in camera to resume work on their in-progress reports on the recommendations for Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

This afternoon, Canadian LabourWatch Association president John Mortimer will share his perspective on competition can reduce the cost of infrastructure financing at Transport, while Public Accounts members retreat from the prying eyes of the public to debate unspecified committee business, as well as draft reports on this year's public accounts, as well as backlogged auditor general reports from previous years.

Running the press gallery media gauntlet today:

  • Minister of State Gary Goodyear teams up with Quebec Senator Claude Carignan and National Research Council president John McDougall for an announcement related to the research agency, which will be preceded by a technical briefing, and followed by a Q&A session.
UPDATE: According to the morning edition of the PMO 'Notable Events' bulletin, the minister will be unveiling "the most significant transformation to the NRC in 100 years," which will be based on recommendations included in the Jenkins Report on innovation, and "will fuel economic growth in Canada." 

According to a just-issued advisory from the New Democrats, science critic Kennedy Stewart will make himself available to reporters seeking comments on the announcement after the ministerial press conference wraps up.  

  • Later this morning, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco will release a report that analyses what effect, if any, resulted from the RCMP enforcement strategy that was launched five years ago.
  • This afternoon, representatives from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and other mental health advocacy groups hit the stage at the Centre Block press theatre to share their concerns over the government's bid to tighten up the laws regarding persons deemed not criminally responsible, including the "potential effect on the one-in-five Canadians who will suffer a mental illness in their lifetimes" as well as other "unintended consequences."
  • Finally, Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose, New Democrat MP Niki Ashton and Liberal MP Hedy Fry team up to host a reception to introduce a "new Canadian charity": the Women's Brain Health Initiative, which will raise awareness and funds for "brain aging diseases in women."

Outside the precinct, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joins officials from Farm Credit Canada at an Ottawa food bank to kick off of the annual Drive Away Hunger campaign, during which FCC employees across the country hit the road on tractor-trailers, "collecting much needed food and cash donations for local food banks" along the way.

Finally, across the river in Gatineau, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley speaks at the 2013 Building and Construction Trades policy conference. 

UPDATE: It seems that NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will be hitting the lectern as well. 

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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