Inside Politics

MPs get their first chance to debate the government's bid to revive online surveillance measures

It's Wednesday, which means MPs will spend the morning huddled in their respective party caucuses, well out of range of the prying eye of the press gallery.

Before the Liberals sequester themselves behind closed doors, however, they'll "welcome all four by-election candidates" -- MPs-in-waiting Emmanuel Dubourg and Chrystia Freeland, and second-place finishers Rolf Dinsdale and Terry Hayward -- to the Hill.

Later this morning, Liberal treasury board critic Gerry Byrne will hold what the advisory now describes as his "regular Wednesday press conference," during which he will, once again, "discuss wasteful spending and poor economic management by the Prime Minister's Office."

Also on the Hill media circuit this morning: University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz releases his Annual Global Tax Competitiveness ranking, as well as a report on the "threats" facing Canada on that front.

When the House reopens for business this afternoon, MPs will get their first chance to comment on the so-called 'cyberbullying bill', which, as it turns out, bears a remarkable resemblance to the ill-fated online surveillance bill that was left to languish on the Order Paper after rousing public ire against some of its more contentious measures, only to die, unmourned, at prorogation.

Those similarities will almost certainly be mentioned by opposition members, although it seems distinctly unlikely that Justice Minister Peter MacKay will follow the lead set by his predecessor, Vic Toews, and accuse them of being on the side of child pornographers. Then again, who knows? 

On the committee front:

  • The fall omnibudget bill hits clause-by-clause at Finance, which is under orders to report it back to the House in time to allow for passage before the Chamber shuts down for the holidays -- which, given the possibility of marathon votes and other procedural protests by the opposition, means starting that final round of debate sooner rather than later.
  • At Public Accounts, meanwhile, Auditor General Michael Ferguson will make himself available as MPs begin to dig through the details of his latest batch of reports.
  • Also on the agenda today: Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver takes his turn in the biannual supplementary estimates rotation, and Transport hears still more from departmental officials on the current transportation safety regime.

Outside the precinct, Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre, having apparently run out of democratic reforms to make, heads to Tunney's Pasture, where, on behalf of his absent colleague, Public Works Minister Diane Finley, he'll kick off the second round of consultations on the "Master Plan" for the beleaguered bureaucratic complex.

Elsewhere in the capital, International Development Minister Christian Paradis shares the latest details on Canada's contributions to the humanitarian efforts underway in the Philippines, and International Trade Minister Ed Fast "unveils Canada's new blueprint for creating jobs and opportunities" at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada.

In Toronto, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal will be front and centre for a "major announcement" about the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games.

Finally, later this evening, the annual Hill All Party Party will serve as the official unofficial kickoff of the pre-holiday festive circuit. 

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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