Inside Politics

Once more unto the omnibreach, dear MPs, once more -- until next time, that is.

After a series of minor procedural skirmishes earlier this month, the now traditional biannual battle over the omnibillification of the budget process is set to get underway in earnest today as the government's latest bid to encourage jobs, growth and a sustainable economy hits the top of the pre-recess legislative to-do list.

As of this morning, the Notice Paper lists 80 proposed amendments to be considered as C-60 begins report stage debate this morning, the bulk of which were submitted by New Democrat finance critic Peggy Nash, and the rest from her Bloc Quebecois counterpart Jean Fortin and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

At press time, the Liberals hadn't yet added a single amendment to the list, although that could, of course, change by Monday.

At the moment, of course, the immediate, if not ultimate fate of the budget bill -- or, more precisely, the process by which it will all but certainly be passed -- is in the hands of House Speaker Andrew Scheer, who, as reported yesterday, has been tasked with deciding if what the government describes as its "generous offer" to invite non-members to put forward amendments at committee is sufficient to supersede the right of independent members to do so before the whole House at report stage.

In any case, watch for Government House Leader Peter Van Loan to pop up at some point during the shortened sitting day to serve notice that he intends to move time allocation on the bill when the Commons reconvenes on Monday.

How much time will he magnanimously propose be put aside for further debate? Since the House switched to extended hours earlier this month, the trend has been to offer up five hours per bill, but we'll find out later today.

Meanwhile, outside the Chamber, Council of Canadians director Garry Neil will join Nipissing-Timiskaming citizen and electoral challenger Peggy Walsh Craig and lawyer Steven Shrybman at the National Press theatre, where the trio will reveal the "next steps" in the apparently ongoing effort "to get to the bottom of the election fraud scandal."

Also hitting the NPT this morning: Unnamed Public Works officials, who will hold a technical briefing on the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat.

Later this evening, Governor General David Johnston will confer his eponymous performing arts awards on this year's laureates, who will be honoured at a special ceremony at Rideau Hall.

Finally, just two ministers are heading out on the good news circuit today: Revenue Minister Gail Shea, who is back her home province of Prince Edward Island to unveil new support for local infrastructure in Souris, and on the opposing coast, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore., who will give the keynote address at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference and trade show in Vancouver.

Local Conservative MPs will, however, be handing out federal cash for projects in Toronto, Leamington, Winnipeg and Cassidy. 

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