Inside Politics

Election bill back on the agenda as MPs return to the Hill

As MPs return from what turned out to be a surprisingly news-filled two-week constituency break, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair is scheduled to deliver a mid-morning speech to caucus and staff on what his party unfailingly refers to as "the Unfair Elections Act," during which he will almost certainly claim credit for forcing the changes announced last Friday by embattled Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre.

Speaking of those promised amendments, MPs -- and along with them, the rest of us -- may get a first peek at the text later this morning, when Procedure and House Affairs holds a rare Monday meeting to hear from Director of Public Prosecutions Brian J. Saunders and Quebec elections director Jacques Drouin, who will almost certainly be the last witnesses to testify before the committee shifts to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, when the Chamber opens its doors later this morning, the first order of business on the parliamentary agenda will be New Democrat MP Nycole Turmel's bid to protect Gatineau Park by formally establishing both boundaries and responsibility, and ensure that it will be included in "the organization, sponsorship and promotion of public activities and events, in the National Capital Region, that will enrich the cultural and social fabric of Canada."

Later this afternoon, MPs will turn their attention to Bill C-13, the government's second attempt to crack down on "online crime," which is now under a time allocation order that will likely see it sent to committee by mid-week.

On the committee front:

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will field questions on his efforts to tighten the rules on Canadian citizenship as the committee begins a pre-study on C-24, which is currently paused at second reading.

Status of Women members get a briefing on the latest main estimates for the Office of the Co-ordinator, courtesy of responsible minister Kellie Leitch and senior agency officials.

Over at Foreign Affairs, representatives from Fairtrade Canada, Loblaw Companies Ltd and the Retail Council of Canada share their respective perspectives on what the notice characterizes as "corporate practices by companies supplying and manufacturing products in developing countries for Canadian consumers."

Auditor General Michael Ferguson discusses his report on disaster relief for agriculture producers at Public Accounts.

Also on the Hill today: Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak hits the National Press Theatre to update reporters on what the notice describes as "the ongoing rejection of Canada's Bill C-33, the 'First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act'."

Elsewhere in the capital, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal teams up with Governor General David Johnston and representatives from Scotland and the United Kingdom to kick off the Queen's Baton Relay, which will get underway at Rideau Hall this morning, with a second leg scheduled to take place on the Hill this afternoon.

Outside the precinct, Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Toronto, where he'll join International Development Minister Christian Paradis for a closed-door roundtable at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Also on the ministerial circuit today:

  • In Edmunston, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt holds a photo op to mark a five-year investment in affordable housing.
  • FedDev Ontario Minister Gary Goodyear drops by the University of Waterloo to "address delegates at the CIRP (International Academy for Production Engineering) 47th annual Conference on Manufacturing Systems."

Later this evening, Canadian and international experts descend on Ottawa City Hall for the Canadian launch of the "Campaign to Stop Killer Robots," which bills itself as "an international coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ban fully autonomous weapons."

Finally, later this evening, Samara co-founders Michael MacMillan and Alison Loat will chat with current and former female MPs on "making politics sustainable for all elected representatives" as part of the celebrations surrounding their new book, Tragedy in the Commons

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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