Inside Politics

Pot and pan-wielding anti-austerity protesters to 'converge' on PMO

As is the Wednesday tradition, MPs will spend the first part of the day sequestered behind closed doors for the weekly caucus confabs.

On the Commons agenda when the Chamber reopens for business this afternoon: The opening round of debate on the budget implementation bill tabled earlier this week, which the finance minister insisted is more of a 'minibus', and the NDP is already referring to as 'Omnibudget 3.0'.

Before that gets underway, however, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will hit the Foyer to reiterate his - and his government's - support for Conservative MP Parm Gill's bid to make it a crime to "recruit, solicit, encourage, coerce or invite a person to join a criminal organization," with extra penalties if the target is under the age of 18.

The bill is scheduled to go up for third reading approval this evening, with the New Democrats likely voting with the Conservatives in favour of the bill, leaving the Liberals as the sole party opposed, due to their standing objection to the use of mandatory minimum sentences as well as their belief that gang recruitment is already covered by existing statute.

Also hitting the Hill media circuit today:

  • Macdonald-Laurier Institute managing director Brian Lee Crowley joins University of Saskatchewan researcher Ken Coats and Queen's University professor emeritus Douglas Bland for the unveiling of the first two papers in what the advisory describes as a "groundbreaking series on Aboriginal Canada and the natural resource economy."
  • Later this afternoon, an all-party gaggle of MPs will kick off the '1 Day in May' campaign to raise awareness of the lives of Canadians affected by MS.

Meanwhile, on the afternoon committee front:

  • Canadian Environmental Law Association executive director Theresa McClenaghan is among the witnesses scheduled to brief International Trade members as the committee continues its study into the benefits of signing on as a full partner to the Pacific Alliance.
  • Over at Justice, meanwhile, representatives from Quebec-based victim advocacy and support groups provide perspective on Bloc Quebecois Maria Mourani's private members' initiative to tighten the law and increase penalties for those convicted of procuring and trafficking in persons.
  • Status of Women hears what the Canadian Human Rights Commission, former Tsawwassen First Nation chief Kim Baird and Berens River First Nation councillor Joan Jack have to say about the government's plan to modernize the laws regarding on-reserve matrimonial and family property.
  • Ethics goes in camera to work out a witness list for the upcoming study on NDP MP Charmaine Borg's bill to enhance the powers of the privacy commissioner, and examine the summary of evidence prepared by staff on the recent review of the Conflict of Interest Act.

Later this evening, supporters of Families of Sisters in Spirit, indigenous rights activists and representatives from local labour groups will march from the University of Ottawa to Wellington Street, where they will "converge on the Prime Minister's Office," pots and pans in hand, to demonstrate "Solidarity Against Austerity ... in the spirit of the Quebec student strike."

Outside the precinct, outgoing Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney shares his thoughts on the future of monetary policy during his delivery of the Eric J. Hanson lecture at the University of Alberta.

Finally, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney heads to the Canadian War Museum for the launch of Asian Heritage Month, at which "Year of Korea in Canada" will be "highlighted."

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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