Inside Politics

Electoral reform supporters hit the Hill to 'Make Every Vote Count'

Electoral reform advocates are set to stage a peaceful temporary takeover of the Hill this morning, as Fair Vote Canada kicks off its latest new campaign to, as the slogan puts it, "Make Every Vote Count."

On the speakers list for today's launch: New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal MP and democratic reform critic Stephane Dion, as well as Leadnow Canada director Matthew Carroll and Greenpeace campaigns director Yossi Cadan.

According to the advisory, the event will begin with a media-only event in the Centre Block press room, which will be followed by a public launch on the steps of Parliament Hill, which will feature "colourful theatre activity demonstrating how our current system wastes our votes." Ottawa NDP MP Paul Dewar and Liberal MP Joyce Murray are also expected to be on the scene, as will deputy Green Party leader and Bourassa candidate-in-waiting George Laraque and "other advocacy groups speaking about the need for proportional representation."

Later today, Mulcair will head to Toronto, where he'll join local MPs Craig Scott, Andrew Cash and Mike Sullivan, as well as local Fair Vote Canada supporters and Toronto Centre by-election hopeful Linda McQuaig -- with whom he's scheduled to go door-knocking still later in the evening -- for Democracy Day on the Danforth.

Before all that gets underway, however, New Democrat MP Megan Leslie will the stage at the National Press Theatre to give her perspective on "the Harper government's record of failure on the environment."

Meanwhile, Liberal house leader Dominic LeBlanc teams up with Senate Leader James Cowan to deliver what will almost certainly be an update on their party's plan to post detailed expense reports for both MPs and senators, which is scheduled to get underway this fall.

This afternoon, Liberal MP and newly appointed veterans affairs critic Jim Karygiannis will form a one-man welcoming committee for veteran and activist Michael Cole, who, the accompanying notice explains, "is driving across Canada to raise funds for the Equitas Society in its support of the legal challenge on behalf of disabled soldiers with settlements under the New Veterans Charter."

Also on the Hill media circuit this morning: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who will make himself available to reporters later this morning.

This afternoon, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will hold a joint media availability with his Palestinian Authority counterpart Riad Malki to Ottawa, where the pair are expected to talk bilateral relations, amongst other issues.

Outside the capital region, Industry Minister James Moore has promised to unveil a fresh load of support for the still struggling Ontario auto sector when he joins Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and local MP Terence Young at the Ford assembly plant in Oakville later this morning.

Elsewhere on the ministerial circuit:

  • Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal pays a visit to the Capital Gymnastics Club in Fredericton, where he will share the details of new money for sport throughout the province.
  • Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel scatters still more federal largess across rural Quebec, with the denizens of Hebertville tagged to benefit from today's reveal of new funding for the local portion of the Route Verte, while in Gatineau, Labour Minister Kellie Leitch speaks at the National Industrial Relations Conference.
  • In Toronto, meanwhile, Treasury Board President Tony Clement will highlight the importance of "innovation, government transparency, Open Data and his personal social media usage" at the Accelerate TO conference, while elsewhere in the city, Public Safety Minister Steve Blaney will announce new money for gang prevention at the Dorset Park Community Hub.
  • Also out and about in Ontario today: FedDev Minister Gary Goodyear, who will spend the first part of his day touring the Chatham area, where he'll host a roundtable and visit a local ethanol plant before making his way to the University of Guelph's satellite campus in Ridgetown.
  • Moving west, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver will "address international stakeholders" at the Canada LNG Export Forum in Calgary, while at another downtown hotel, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will team up with International Trade Minister Ed Fast to "highlight support for the Canadian cattle and beef industry."
  • Finally, in Vancouver, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard will provide an update on land management. 
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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