Inside Politics

Election bill study set to begin amid continued procedural wrangling

As the Peace Tower clock ticks down the remaining minutes before the House shuts down for a week-long recess, the House will devote a second day to the traditional budget debate.

Later this evening, former Conservative turned Independent Brent Rathgeber will get one last chance to save his erstwhile bid to increase expense disclosure requirements for public servants, as he puts forward a series of likely doomed amendments that would delete virtually every clause of the bill that still bears his name.

If he fails -- which seems likely -- he may soon claim the dubious honour of being the first MP to vote against a private members' bill standing in his own name.

Outside the Chamber, Procedure and House Affairs is currently scheduled to kick off its review of the election bill with an appearance by Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre, although the continued wrangling over the government's refusal to allow the committee to hold cross-country hearings on the proposed changes could lead to the minister's presentation being delayed, or even pre-empted entirely.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

  • Inspired by the recent kerfuffle over former Conservative minister and even more recently former SIRC chair Chuck Strahl's side-gig with Enbridge, NDP MPs will make their case for a full investigation into the state of Canada's lobby laws -- and specifically, the restrictions on former public office holders -- at Ethics.
  • Over at Government Operations, New Democrat MP Pat Martin will try to persuade his colleagues to support his proposal to study the impact of climate change on future federal budgets, with a particular emphasis on the putative cost of emergency and disaster recovery programs.
  • Government-backed bills from the Conservative backbench are at the top of the to-do list for two committees: Human Resources, which is charged with checking the fine print in Blaine Calkin's bid to require secret ballot votes for union certification and de-certification, and Public Safety, which is set to begin work on David Sweet's efforts to ensure "fairness for victims" within the parole system.

Also on the agenda today: Natural Resources looks into the "rare earth industry", Finance gets a crash course on the "emerging digital payment system," and the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women hears from what may be the final panel of witnesses before going behind closed doors to discuss the drafting of a report.

On the Hill media circuit today:

  • New Democrat employment critic Jinny Sims joins Quebec caucus chair Robert Aubin at the Centre Block press theatre, where they will share their thoughts on "the Conservative government's approach to skills training,"
  • Later this morning, New Democrat Niki Ashton teams up with the Native Women's Association of Canada to call on the government to "act on violence against women."

Meanwhile, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will be far from the madding Commons crowd today, as the PM makes his way to the Greater Toronto Area for an otherwise unspecified infrastructure announcement at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum & Community Centre, and New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair attends a symposium on the legacy of Claude Ryan.

Also out and about today: Western Economic Diversification Minister Michelle Rempel will "provide remarks" at the Next-Gen Corporate Social Responsibility and Shared Value Forum in Calgary.

Finally, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lynne Yelich holds a teleconference to discuss her recent trip to Iraq.

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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