Inside Politics

Election bill committee hears from civil libertarians, academics

As the parliamentary work week hits the halfway point, MPs will disappear behind the closed doors of caucus for their regular Wednesday confabs, which will be followed by a post-caucus appearance by at least one party leader: Justin Trudeau, who will submit to the glare of the cameras after his MPs head to the cafeteria for lunch.

When the Chamber opens for business later today, MPs will get their first opportunity to discuss the spring omnibudget bill, which was tabled last Friday amid the now traditional fanfare of suspicion and outrage from the opposition side of the House.

New Democrat and Liberal speakers will almost certainly use today's debate to highlight measures that, in their collective and/or respective opinion, have no place in a budget implementation bill, but should instead be brought forward in stand-alone legislation.

Later this evening, the committee charged with parsing the fine print of the proposed changes to Canada's election laws will meet for another extended after-hours session.

On the witness list for this evening: the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canada Without Poverty and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, as well as a second panel of academics and legal experts, including lawyer James Quail and a trio of political science professors from Carleton University, Memorial University and Harvard University.

Also on the committee agenda this afternoon:

    • Agriculture members continue to study the details of the government's bid to end the grain backlog, with representatives from the Canada Grains Council, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Inland Terminal Association of Canada scheduled to share their thoughts on the issue today.
    • Over at Fisheries, MPs will get a briefing on the ongoing battle against the European Union ban on Canadian seal product imports from senior foreign affairs officials.
    • Finally, Citizenship and Immigration resumes consideration of possible measures to "strengthen the protection of women" within the immigration system with testimony from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations, the South Asian Women's Centre, the Afghan Women's Centre of Montreal and other experts

Elsewhere in the precinct, Calgary School of Public Policy researcher Jennifer Winter releases the results of her examination of "railway incident data," and her thoughts on whether the government "is giving railway safety the attention it deserves."

Meanwhile, on the steps of Centre Block, parliamentarians mark World Autism Awareness Day at 'Autism on the Hill', which will include speeches by Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen, Independent Liberal Senator Jim Munson, Conservative MP Mike Lake and New Democrat MP Glenn Thibeault, as well as QuickStart Early Intervention founder Suzanne Jacobson.

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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