Inside Politics

MPs to talk committee freedom before vote to shut down omnimotion debate

As the Chamber reopens for its first full week of regular parliamentary business, Conservative MP Brad Trost will get his first chance to convince his Commons colleagues to support his bid to strip the government of the power to decide just who will wield the gavel at committee.

If passed, his motion, which was first introduced last February, would see the procedure and house affairs committee study his proposal to have the House as a whole elect a full slate committee chairs via preferential ballot at the start of each session. Under the current system, each committee holds a purely pro forma vote to confirm the candidate chosen by the government whip and house leader.

Although a final vote won't happen until later this fall, by the end of the opening hour of debate, we should have a better idea of whether the government intends to throw its collective support behind the motion -- and, perhaps even more importantly, given the near certainty that the opposition parties will back his motion en masse, whether Trost has won over a sufficient number of converts on the Conservative backbench that the answer to the previous question will be rendered moot, at least as far as getting the matter before committee.

Later today, the House will hold the first closure -- yes, closure, not time allocation, and no, it isn't spelled with a t like the American iteration -- vote of the new session to shut down further debate on the government's efforts to write itself a blank cheque to resurrect unfinished business that died on the Order Paper at prorogation.

Although the New Democrats were able to win a minor moral victory last week when House Speaker Andrew Scheer agreed to split the omnimotion into separate votes, the only remaining option for opposition members hoping to postpone its inevitable passage would be a procedural counterstrike that would prevent the government from bringing it forward for a final round of debate -- and even that would only delay it by a day or so at most.

Outside the Chamber, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada will release the results of what the advisory characterizes as a "major survey [on] the scale and impact of "muzzling" and political interference among federal scientists," which will be unveiled by PIPSC president Gary Corbett at a mid-morning press conference.

Also hitting the Hill media circuit this morning: New Democrat MPs Manon Perrault and Mike Sullivan, who will explain their party's plan to ensure protection of persons with disabilities.

UPDATE: According to a just-in advisory, Senator Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, will "address the media" at noon. 

Outside the precinct, meanwhile, a trio of cabinet ministers -- Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Minister of State for Small Business Max Bernier -- will make a joint appearance just across the street from Parliament Hill at Canada's Four Corners, where, alongside Canadian Federation of Independent Business president Dan Kelly, they will announce the "next steps that the government is taking to ensure all Canadians have the facts about the benefits that will be generated in every region of the country by the historic Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement."

Although the notice provides no further details on just what those 'steps' may be, given past practice, that could mean a multi-ministerial speaking tour, a new ad campaign or a stand-alone website -- or most likely, all three.

Finally, in Toronto, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander kicks off Citizenship Week by sharing the details of "new measures to increase economic immigration" at a conference on business incubation, and dropping by the CN Tower to take part in a special citizenship ceremony.  

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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