Inside Politics

Fate of election bill review at stake as committee meets in secret

As a sizeable chunk of the Hill population gets set to spend the next few hours offline and out of the loop in the annual federal budget lockup, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs retreats behind closed doors as well to discuss what the notice refers to, somewhat coyly, as "future business," which will almost certainly include the timeline for the review of the election bill, which made it through second reading last night, and is now at the top of the committee to-do list.

Before that meeting gets underway, however, the New Democrat members will make themselves available to the few reporters not under budget-related lockdown to highlight their proposal to hold cross-country hearings on the government's bid to rewrite the country's election laws.

As the meeting itself is set to take place away from the prying eyes of the public and the press, the results of NDP's efforts to persuade their Conservative colleagues to allow the committee to take its collective time in going over the fine print of the bill will not be known until the minutes are published. 

Back in the House, meanwhile, MPs will while away the hours before the budget drop with report stage debate on a bill that would devolve further powers to the Northwest Territories, which will continue until the Commons spotlight falls on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty at approximately 4pm.

Outside the Chamber, lockup-sprung journalists, staffers, MPs and other inside and outside observers will swarm the Foyer; some in hot pursuit of instant analysis and commentary, others searching frantically for a camera or microphone to which to deliver it.

Among the groups that have dutifully RSVP'd for a spot in the post-budget reaction room (or, as some journalists refer to it, the lobbyist pen), or have otherwise served notice of their eventual keenness to share their thoughts with the media: Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Broadbent Institute, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, Canadians Arts Council, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadians for Tax Fairness, Conseil du patronat du Quebec, Deloitte, Environmental Defence, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, FRAPRU, Institute for Research on Public Policy and the Investment Industry Advisory Council of Canada. 

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.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.