Inside Politics

Election bill review committee holds special extended after-hours session

In an effort to hear from as many witnesses as possible before the May 1st deadline comes due, the House committee charged with going over the fine print of the Conservative proposal to rewrite the country's election laws will hold a special super-sized session this evening.

Tonight's after hours invite list includes academics from both sides of the border, including Carleton University professor Ian Lee, University of Manitoba professor emeritus Paul Thomas and, from the University of Delaware, US voter ID expert Jason Mycoff, as well as representatives from the Canadian Disability Policy Alliance, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Forum for Young Canadians.

Before that gets underway, however, MPs will devote one final day to debating the pros and cons of free trade with Honduras.

On the regularly scheduled afternoon committee circuit:

  • Auditor General Michael Ferguson goes before Public Accounts, where he will take questions on his projected budget as listed in the recently tabled main estimates, which could, in theory, include queries on the progress of the much-anticipated audit into Senate and senatorial expenses.
  • The estimates will also be on the agenda at Fisheries and Oceans, which will hear from Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.
  • Over at Agriculture, MPs will kick off what is expected to be a lightning round review of the government's bid to end the grain backlog, which will include an hour-long Q&A with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Lisa Raitt, as well as a supplementary briefing by senior departmental officials.

Elsewhere on the Hill:

  • New Democrat infrastructure critic Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet hits the stage at the Centre Block press theatre, where she will, according to the advisory, "point out some of the challenges facing municipalities."
  • Later this morning, her fellow New Democrat critic Alexandre Boulerice joins Canadian Union of Postal Workers President Denis Lemelin to talk Canada Post service cuts.

Also out and about in the precinct this morning: The Canadian Health Coalition convenes a "National Day of Action" to "sound the alarm" on the imminent expiry of the 2004 Health Accord, starting with a press conference with Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas and Canadian Union of Public Employees President Paul Moist.

Once that wraps up, supporters will converge on the Parliamentary Lawn for a symbolic "funeral procession", while at the nearby Chateau Laurier Ottawa Hospital chief of staff Jeff Turnbull shares his thoughts on "the future of health care."

The Chateau Laurier will also serve as backdrop as Employment Minister Jason Kenney teams up with BC counterpart Shirley Bond and cabinet colleague James Moore for a mid-morning event to unveil "an important initiative to help British Columbians find jobs."

Outside the capital, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair spends the day in Peterborough, where he'll chat with students at Trent University before heading off to press the flesh at a "meet and greet" hosted by the local labour council.

Finally, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is slated to deliver an early afternoon speech at the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade. 

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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