Inside Politics

Senate to hold first substantive suspension-related vote this afternoon

In the aftermath of a second wave of startling allegations from embattled Senator Mike Duffy, the Red Chamber reconvenes this afternoon.

While the agenda for today is, as, it seems, always, seemingly in flux, the Upper House will hold its first vote on a substantive suspension-related matter later this afternoon, when it will cast its collective ballot on Liberal Senator Jim Cowan`s proposal to send the motion targeting Senator Patrick Brazeau to the privilege committee for further study.

A cautionary note, however, to those who may have been hoping that the outcome of today's vote will foretell the ultimate fate of the embattled trio: It would be unwise to assume that Conservative -- or, for that matter, Independent and Liberal -- senators will automatically vote the same way on all three motions and/or amendments.

Meanwhile, despite giving notice of their intent to trigger a complicated two-step closure process last week, neither the Government Leader in the Senate or his deputy have yet moved the necessary motions to start the clock on the final votes, which could indicate either a deal in the works with any or all of the senators facing suspensions, or that they, too, aren't entirely sure how this will play out on the floor.

Back in the Commons, MPs are set to spend a final day considering the pros and cons of the government's latest omnibudget bill, which will go to a vote this evening, after which it will be portioned out and dispatched to the relevant committees.

Outside the Chambers, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May teams up with fellow Independent Bruce Hyer to share the latest developments on the government's ongoing attempt to, as the advisory puts it, "restrict the rights of independent members and members of smaller political parties" by stripping them of the power to propose amendments from the floor of the House of Commons at report stage.

Later this morning, Procedure and House Affairs is scheduled to wrap up debate on the motion to force non-aligned members to go through the relevant committee chair instead, a move that was briefly stonewalled by the New Democrats, but is now expected to pass by the end of today's session.

Also worth monitoring on the committee track today: New Democrat MPs will continue their campaign against the "abuse" of in camera proceeding by introducing motions to restrict the use of the closed-door privilege. At press time, not one of those motions has actually been adopted, although since most committees are still in the organizational stage, in most cases, the discussion hasn't even begun.

Also on the Hill media circuit today:

Opposition MPs Libby Davies, Wayne Easter and, once again, Elizabeth May join Jodie Emery to "speak in support" of Emery's husband Marc's request for a transfer to a Canadian prison "to serve the remaining time on his sentence for distributing marijuana seeds in the United States."

Later this afternoon, recipients of the 2013 Indspire Awards, which "recognize Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement," will make themselves available to reporters during a post-QP reception in the Speaker's Chambers.

Outside the borders of the precinct, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Betty Ann Lavalee will be on site as the Federal Court of Appeal kicks off the next round of hearings in the Harry Daniels case, which are expected to get underway this morning, and will ultimately determine whether the landmark ruling handed down earlier this year will stand.

Elsewhere in the capital, Nobel peace laureate Jody Willliams continues her campaign against the Energy East Pipeline with a visit Tranquil Acres Farms, where she will meet with "local residents and farmers" who would be affected by the pipeline, as well as an afternoon panel discussion.

Later this afternoon, the Insurance Bureau of Canada will unveil the results of a study on the potential impact of "major earthquakes" in British Columbia and in the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor, both of which, the notice somewhat unnervingly notes, were prepared by Air Worldwide, "global experts in catastrophe modeling."

On the ministerial circuit today:

  • International Trade Minister Ed Fast joins representatives from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as they celebrate International Trade Day, which will provide him the perfect opportunity to "provide" still more (or possibly the same) "highlights" of the Canada-European trade agreement.
  • Public Safety Minister Steve Blaney delivers a keynote address at SecureTech 2013.
  • Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen speaks at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, and also unveils a 'significant' initiative to combat youth homelessness alongside Home Depot executives.
  • International Development Minister Christian Paradis talks to Ottawa middle school students about the "power of sport and play in achieving Canada's development goals."
  • In Toronto, Oakville MP Terence Young drops by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for an announcement alongside representatives from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

On the opposition front, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair drops by his party's second annual Women's Forum to be interviewed on stage by former Toronto Centre nomination candidate Jennifer Hollett.

This evening, former NDP strategist Brad Lavigne will hit the Metropolitan for the Ottawa launch of his just-released book Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP

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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