Inside Politics

NDP to make case that Keystone XL 'not in Canada's best interest'

As previewed yesterday, the New Democrats will devote today's opposition debate to the Keystone XL pipeline -- and, specifically, their contention that, on balance, it is 'not in Canada's best interest' -- in an effort to force Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his party to put their position on the record in advance of the Toronto-Centre by-election later this month.

This evening, NDP MP Christine Moore will get her first chance to make the case for her private members' bill to protect volunteer firefighters from workplace reprisal due to absences related to those duties.

On the committee front, former Commons law clerk Rob Walsh shares his thoughts on the current setup of the Board of Internal Economy with Procedure and House Affairs, which is also slated to hear from Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director Gregory Thomas.

Meanwhile, the Canadian-European free trade agreement is on the agenda at both International Trade -- where the responsible minister, Ed Fast, is scheduled to testify -- and Agriculture, which will also get the perspective of groups that may not be quite as enthusiastic about the deal, including the Canadian Dairy Farmers and Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc.

Also on the committee to-do list this morning:

  • Interim Environment Commissioner Neil Maxwell takes questions from Environment committee members on his latest report.
  • Justice goes through the fine print of Conservative MP Mark Warawa's bid to impose more stringent post-release restrictions on offenders with the help of Federal Victims of Crime Ombudsman Susan O'Sullivan and defence counsel Michael Spratt
  • Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt recaps the rationale behind his resurrected bill to change the rules for First Nations band councils.
  • Finance convenes an extended three hour session to get budget advice from industry associations, advocacy groups, academics and others.

On the Hill media circuit today:

  • Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser will host a pre-release technical briefing on his latest annual report, which will be tabled in the House later this morning.
  • Once it goes public, Fraser will make a statement at the National Press Theatre, where he will be followed by New Democrat official languages critics Yvon Godin and Jamie Nicholls, who will provide their party's perspective on his findings.
  • Elsewhere, New Democrat labour and finance critics Alexandre Boulerice and Guy Caron will "comment on Conservative attacks against unions."
  • Finally, Liberal MPs Wayne Easter, Joyce Murray and Marc Garneau field questions from reporters on Easter's private members' bid to "enhance the accountability of Canadian intelligence gathering agencies" by creating a "national security oversight committee of parliamentarians."

Outside the precinct, International Trade Minister joins Health Minister Rona Ambrose to talk Canada-European free trade -- and, specifically, how it "will support Canadian innovation" -- with "patient advocacy groups" at the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Later this afternoon, Ambrose's parliamentary secretary, Eve Adams, will drop by an Ottawa Ikea with news on "injury prevention."

Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs parliamentary secretary Parm Gill will make an appearance at the 18th annual Veterans Appreciation Day at Billings Bridge Shopping Centre.

Out and about outside the capital:

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty heads to Toronto, where he will briefly make himself available to the media before disappearing behind closed doors for a round of pre-budget consultations.
  • Also in Toronto today: Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino teams up with the organizers of the fifth annual True Patriot Love Foundation Dinner to share the details of a new initiative to help with "the transition of veterans into civilian life," and Employment Minister Jason Kenney gives a keynote speech at the Skills and Post-Secondary Education Summit before making his way to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Economic Summit of Ontario.
  • Moving west, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will spend the day in Red Deer, beginning with the first annual All Crops Breakfast and Market Outlook, and followed by a mid-morning meeting with "key stakeholders" in the wheat sector.  
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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