Inside Politics

NDP takes campaign against the Senate to Commons Ethics committee

New Democrat ethics committee members Charlie Angus, Mathieu Ravignat and Charmaine Borg will "outline" the party's "priorities" for the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, which, according to the headline of the notice, will include a pitch to "strengthen the conflict of interest rules."

Likely entirely non-coincidentally, the committee is scheduled to meet this morning to discuss that very issue, albeit behind closed doors, where members will get a briefing on the status of their ongoing (and overdue) statutory review of the Conflict of Interest Act.

Once the doors reopen, at least in theory, Angus will put forward a motion to call both the Senate Ethics Officer and Treasury Board President Tony Clement, under whose jurisdiction the Conflict of Interest Act falls, to appear before the committee to discuss compliance with the existing Senate conflict of interest code. 

Elsewhere on the committee front:

Procedure and House Affairs continues to whip through its time-limited study on converting the secretive all-party Board of Internal Economy into an independent oversight body, with Auditor General Michael Ferguson on the top of today's witness list, followed by a video appearance by the policy director for the London-based Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

In a related-ish development, Government Operations is scheduled to get a status update from Public Works on the ongoing renovation of the parliamentary precinct this afternoon.

Meanwhile, International Trade resumes its review of the Canada-European free trade deal with testimony from federal mega-union Uniifor -- which, according to its preemptive press release, is very much not a fan -- as well as representatives from the Fisheries Council of Canada, the Canadian Pork Council and, for the second time since the study kicked off, Canadian Manufactures and Exporters.

The Canadian Pork Council is also slated to go before Agriculture this afternoon as that committee conducts its own investigation into the implications of the deal for the agricultural sector.

Also on the agenda today: The fall omnibudget bill, which will go under the microscope at two committees: Justice, which will look at the proposals for tweaking the eligibility requirements for Supreme Court justices from Quebec with the help of Ottawa University professors Carissima Mathen and Adam Dodek, and Citizenship and Immigration, where members will hear what Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has to say about measures related to skilled workers, as well as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Engineers Canada and Merit Nova Scotia.

John Baird will make a ministerial appearance at Foreign Affairs today as he takes his turn on the biannual supplementary estimates circuit, accompanied, in this instance, by International Development Minister Christian Paradis and Minister of State Lynne Yelich, as well as senior departmental officials.

According to the notice, Baird will also share his thoughts on the government's bid to implement the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Before that gets underway, however, departmental officials will discuss the human rights situation in Sri Lanka with the International Human Rights subcommittee.

Also today: Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal talks Sochi prep at Canadian Heritage; Finance holds another extended pre-budget consultation session; and Aboriginal Affairs parses the fine print of a bill on First Nations band council elections.

Back in the Commons, MPs will pick up where they left off in debating the pros and cons of the government's pitch to tighten air security while indemnifying "certain aviation industry participants" for damages resulting from "war risks."

Later this evening, the House will vote on last week's New Democrat-proposed opposition motion, which, if passed, would declare the Keystone XL pipeline to be not in Canada's best interest.

Outside the Chamber, Justice Minister Peter MacKay joins Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich in the House of Commons Foyer to mark Universal Children's Day with a photo op and "brief Q&A" with the media.

Also on the Hill media circuit today:

  • The Canadian Alliance of Student Association hits the Hill for a day-long lobby blitz, which will see "over sixty students from across the country ... discuss issues that affect Canada's young people" with MPs and senators "from all three national parties."
  • Representatives from the Rhino Party present their "star candidate" for the upcoming by-election: Serge 2-8 Lavoie 2.
  • New Democrat health critics Djaouida Sellah and Libby Davies take the stage at the Centre Block press theatre to share the details of a new private members' bill to impose mandatory disclosure requirements on drug shortages.

Out and about in the capital today:

  • Local MP and Minister of State for Democratic Reform teams up with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, Mayor Jim Watson and various and sundry other dignitaries for the "rededication" of the RCMP's National Memorial, which, according to the advisory, "marks the completion" of the relocation of the national headquarters to Barrhaven.
  • On behalf of Veterans Minister Julian Fantino, Etobicoke MP Ted Opitz helps the Ottawa 67s mark Year of the Korean War Veteran with a ceremonial puck drop before a game with the Belleville Bulls
  • Oshawa MP and parliamentary secretary to the environment minister Colin Carrie drops by Chapters for the launch of an "exceptional book on the discovery of HMS Investigator."
  • Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz attends the opening of a symposium on the grain industry.

Moving west to Manitoba, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt spends the day in Winnipeg, where he will chat with reporters about emergency management for First Nations communities, and unveil new "investments" in the Long Plain First Nation Urban Reserve.

Finally, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver takes his pro-oil sands message across the Atlantic, where he'll continue what the notice describes as "his latest trip to Europe" with a speech at the Canada-Europe Energy Summit in London before heading off to Paris for a meeting with his international counterparts. 

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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