Inside Politics

They're back!

 When the House reopens for business this morning, the first item on the agenda will be New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart's proposal to set up -- or, at least, assign a House committee with the task of investigating the feasibility of setting up -- an e-petition system that could lead to publicly-triggered Commons debates on issues near and dear to hearts of Canadians - or, at least, a sufficient number of Canadians to meet whatever threshold for number of signatures that would ultimately be set.

Later this afternoon, MPs will turn their attention back to the government's bid to impose stringent limits on the establishment of new InSite-inspired drug treatment centres, which was still mired at second reading when they broke for the holidays last month, followed, if time allows, by a bill to crack down on drug use in prisons.

Depending on how the schedule unfolds, members may get the opportunity to share their collective and respective concerns over the situation in Ukraine during a take-note debate that could take place as early as this evening, or, alternately, later this week.

Before the parliamentary work day officially gets underway, however, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan will hit the Foyer for his now traditional pre-sitting press conference, during which he will deliver a "brief statement" on what he hopes to accomplish before opening the floor to questions from the media.

Meanwhile, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair will discuss his party's plans for the upcoming sitting, as well as his just-wrapped National Affordability Tour, at a mid-morning speech to caucus.

Also hitting the Hill media circuit this morning: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May joins newly minted Green MP Bruce Hyer for an "important announcement" at the National Press Theatre.

Outside the Chamber, the International Trade committee will pick up pretty much exactly where it left off as MPs attempt to wrap up their study of the pros and cons of the proposed Canadian-European free trade agreement, with the Canadian Health Coalition, the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance and the Information Technology Association of Canada on the witness list for this morning.

Meanwhile, Aboriginal Affairs members are in Yellowknife for a full day of hearings on the government's plan to further devolve powers to the Northwest Territories.

Also out and about outside the borders of the parliamentary precinct this morning:

  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty retreats behind closed doors for a clandestine chat with a cabal of private sector economists, after which he'll make himself available to the press.
  • In Montreal, Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Status of Women and Labour Minister Kellie Leitch team up for a joint funding announcement at Girls Action Foundation.

Back on the Hill, Liberal MP Judy Sgro and Senator Grant Mitchell will hold a half-day "expert summit" on harassment within the RCMP, which is described in the advisory as "the culmination" of a series of roundtables that the pair have hosted across the country, and will eventually be followed by the production of a white paper on the subject. 

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