Inside Politics

Will an 11th hour offer on health benefits end the standoff in the Senate?

As late-night Senate liveblog watchers -- or, alternately, early bird news readers -- are already well aware, a faint flicker of light has been spotted at what all concerned devoutly hope is the end of the Senate suspension showdown tunnel.

Last night, deputy Senate government leader Yonah Martin attempted to introduce amendments to the three main motions that would permit the sanctioned senators to continue to receive health and medical benefits.

Although her efforts were initially thwarted after Independent Senator Elaine McCoy denied the necessary consent to put them forward while other amendments are still under consideration, she'll likely be able to do so later today -- or, at the latest -- tomorrow, which may herald the striking of a compromise that will bring the standoff to a close.

Also expected today is a key ruling from Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella, who has been tasked with deciding whether the move to convert the motions to 'government business,' which is required before closure can be invoked to shut down the debate, is in order.

Back in the Commons, with the fall omnibudget bill having been duly dispatched to the relevant committees, the Chamber will turn its attention to the government's recently resurrected bid to establish the Canadian Museum of History, another casualty of prorogation subsequently reinstated at the last state it had completed before the Order Paper reboot -- which, in this case, is the opening round of third reading debate.

Before all that gets underway, however, MPs will retreat behind closed-doors to discuss the latest developments at their weekly caucus meetings, which will likely wrap at noon-ish.

Outside the Chamber(s), New Democrat fisheries critics Robert Chisholm and Fin Donnelly mark what the advisory notes is the "first anniversary of the Cohen report" by hitting the Centre Block press theatre to "demand action on its regulations."

Elsewhere on the Hill media circuit:

  • NDP MP Rahika Sitsabaiesan teams up with the United Nations Population Fund, the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Action Canada for Population and Development to discuss whether Canada's current development plans will "meaningfully address the issue of early forced marriage" following the release of a new report entitled "Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy."
  • Later today, representatives from legal advocacy and women's groups, including the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Families of Sisters in Spirit and the Canadian Network for Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, will join New Democrat MP Niki Ashton as she kicks off a cross-country "consultation tour" on violence against women.
  • Alongside Amnesty International Canada secretary-general Alex Neve and Greenpeace Canada executive director Joanna Kerr, the families of two Canadian activists "currently jailed in Russia after being illegally arrested in international waters more than 40 days ago" will "outline the crucial role of the Canadian government in resolving the situation.

Outside the precinct, International Development Minister Christian Paradis attends the first annual Canadian Humanitarian Conference, while elsewhere in the capital, Health Minister Rona Ambrose shares news about "healthy and safe food."

Also out and about today:

  • International Trade Minister Ed Fast takes his pro-Canada-EU free trade celebration tour to London-based Armo Tool Ltd, with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz slated to headline a similar event at Loblaws' 'global transportation hub' in Saskatoon.
  • On the east coast, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea unloads still more federal cash in her home province during her visit to Royal Star Foods in Tignish.
  • Meanwhile, in Toronto, Minister of State for Social Development Kellie Leitch attends an awards ceremony that honours "Canada's safest employers.

Later this evening, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair will make his way to the by-election hustings in Bourassa, where he'll hold a joint press conference with Orange Wave hopeful Stephane Moraille on "transit issues."

Finally, on the eve of the Conservative policy convention, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will spend his day in host city Calgary, where he's scheduled to speak to the Calgary Petroleum Club and attend a "Liberal rally" at the local Italian club.  

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.

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

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