Inside Politics

Not-so-omni budget bill set to garner final House approval this afternoon

As the Peace Tower clock continues to tick away the days remaining in the spring sitting, the government will soon be able to cross off the last item on the list of legislation that absolutely, positively must be through the House before MPs scatter for the summer recess as the not-actually-all-that-omni-after-all budget bill cruises towards final third reading approval, with the pro forma vote expected to take place immediately after Question Period this afternoon.

Before that gets underway, however, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair will get what will likely be his last opportunity to make the case for his private members' bid to boost the independence and autonomy of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which will come up for a final hour of second reading debate this morning, after which it will be added to Wednesday's voting list, albeit with almost no chance of surviving the division.

Later this morning, former parliamentarians will be honoured at the annual memorial service in the Senate Chamber.

On the committee front:

  • Canadian Heritage will begin -- and, depending on how contentious the debate turns out to be, very possibly complete -- clause-by-clause review of the bill to create a Canadian Museum of History, which may well make it back to the Commons in time to make it through third reading before the break
  • Over at Justice, MPs will get the chance to hear what representatives from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Barreau du Quebec and the Association of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared, which was founded by Conservative Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, think about the government's proposal to tighten up the system for dealing with those deemed not criminally responsible.
  • Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs members will learn how the Australian government supports veterans as they continue their comparative study of benefits and services offered by Canada's allies, and International Trade convenes yet another panel of witnesses to discuss the pros and cons of full Trans-Pacific Partnership membership.

Also on the Hill today: Canadian Civil Liberties Association general counsel Nathalie Des Rosiers outlines the organization's "concerns in relation to discrimination against international students in varsity collegiate sports."

Outside the precinct, the PM will kick off the day by holding a photo op --cameras only, no questions -- with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield at his official residence on Sussex Drive. 

As yet, there's no word on whether he intends to break with his usual tradition of skipping the first Question Period of the week -- which, given his upcoming travel schedule, may well be his last opportunity to face the opposition in a parliamentary setting until the fall. 

Making the situation even more logistically tricky is the scheduled vote on the budget bill, which, as noted above, will happen right after QP. Although the PM could, of course, turn up just in time for the vote, that that would likely be noticed -- and pointed out, loudly and with vigour -- by the other side of the House.  

Elsewhere in the capital, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq unveils "important changes that will improve safety for communities" during a visit to a local fire station, while Public Works and Status of Women Rona Ambrose will laud the importance of encouraging women to "participate on public and private corporate boards" before meeting with her advisory council on the same topic.

Finally in Toronto, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver shares his government's latest plan to lift the current liability cap for nuclear operators at the Canadian Nuclear Society annual conference, and Minister of State for Seniors Alice Wong marks World Elder Abuse Day by "highlighting" funding for the Canadian Association for Community Living. 

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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