Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Friday we asked:

Is the government doing enough to aid spouses of veterans with PTSD?

-Yes: 109 votes (6%)
- No: 1558 votes (93%)
- Not sure: 17 votes (1%)

Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and May hit the out-of-town speaker circuit

MPs wrap up their first week on the pre-recess midnight sitting schedule with a comparatively brief half-day session, during which they will consider the government's proposal to crack down on contraband tobacco.

Before the Chamber closes up shop for the weekend, Conservative MP Colin Mayes will get his first chance to pitch his private members' bill to ensure "respect" for "families of murdered and brutalized persons" by limiting parole for those convicted of the abduction, sexual assault and murder of the same victim.

Outside the precinct, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be on hand for the final round of discussion on maternal, newborn and child health care in Toronto, where he's also scheduled to attend an evening event. 

On the opposition front, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair spends a second day on the road in Saskatchewan, where he'll tour the Regina Trades and Skills Centre before making his way to Moose Jaw for the provincial NDP convention.

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau hits the stage at the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference, which gets underway in Niagara Falls today. 

Finally, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be front and centre at a rally to reveal the candidate who will carry her party's banner into battle in the Trinity -- Spadina byelection.

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Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Yesterday we asked:
Should Canada's international maternal health funding include access to safe abortions?

- Yes:1152 votes (84%)
- No: 203 votes (15%)
- Not sure: 15 votes (1%) 

NDP 'outreach offices' back on the agenda at House Affairs committee

Just two weeks after New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair underwent a two-hour grilling over his party's taxpayer-funded 'outreach offices,' MPs will get the chance to put a few follow-up questions to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer, deputy House clerk Marc Bosc and chief financial officer Mark G. Watters, who are scheduled to spend an hour at Procedure and House Affairs this morning.

Although the meeting is officially designated as part of the annual main estimates review, the subsequent question-and-answer session will almost certainly include pointed queries from the Conservative side of the table on the allegedly 'inappropriate use of House resources' by the Official Opposition.

The committee is also scheduled to hear from Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand.

Over at Justice, the ongoing review of the government's bid to crack down on 'online crime' continues, with University of Ottawa research chair Michael Geist, Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director James Turk, Federal Victims Ombudsman Sue O'Sullivan and representatives from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection on today's witness list.

Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino may find himself facing a considerably larger audience than he expected when he testifies on his department's latest estimates this morning.

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy group has arranged for "numerous veterans and representatives of veterans' organizations" to attend today's meeting to hear what he has to say on the effects of funding cuts on the department, as well as the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

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Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Yesterday we asked:

Do you support the AFN's rejection of the First Nations Education Act?
- Yes: 780 votes (72%)
- No: 256 votes (24%)
- Not sure: 47 votes (4%)

NDP accuses Liberals of 'selling out' opposition parties

Nettled, it seems, by the lack of support from the Liberals during Tuesday's debate over extended sitting hours, New Democrat House Leader Peter Julian will hold a pre-caucus press conference to "expose the decision" of the third party to "sell out the legitimate rights of opposition parties, and help the Conservative government pass its legislative agenda."

Some background, for those who missed the preceding procedural skirmish: The New Democrats voted against the government's proposal to add an extra shift to the parliamentary workday -- not, as its members made clear during the debate, because they don't want to sit late, but because they objected to a provision that will limit their ability to move motions and trigger votes outside regular House hours.

The Liberals, in contrast, voted with their Conservative colleagues, prompting much grumbling amongst their fellow travellers on the opposition side of the Chamber -- and, it seems, this morning's efforts to "expose" their decision by the New Democrats.


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Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Yesterday we asked: Should banks be forced to lower banking fees?
Here are the results:
Yes: 938 votes (89%)
No: 103 votes (10%)
Not sure: 15 votes (1%)

Tories to invoke closure on midnight sittings motion

As reported yesterday, the government has set the stage to keep the Chamber open until midnight every night but Thursday until MPs head home for the summer.

Later this afternoon, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan -- or his duly designated substitute -- will invoke closure to end the debate on the motion to extend the sitting day, which was introduced on Monday and will almost certainly get the necessary nod of House approval in time to tack a night shift on to the end of today's schedule.

Before that gets underway, however, the Commons will devote the morning to second reading discussion of the government's proposal to "strengthen safety oversight" for prescription drugs and other "therapeutic products," as well as tighten the rules surrounding reporting of adverse reactions and "medical device incidents".

Later tonight, Conservative MP Michael Chong will get his first chance to sell his Commons colleagues on his pitch to rebalance caucus dynamicsby providing a mechanism that would allow MPs to trigger a leadership review, and take away a party leader's ability to veto a particular candidate. 

His bill is set to undergo an opening round of second reading debate today, after which it will likely not return to the parliamentary spotlight until the fall.

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Power & Politics' Ballot Box question

Yesterday we asked: Should Turks and Caicos become part of Canada?

- Yes: 649 votes (63%)
- No: 337 votes (33%)
- Not sure: 41 votes (4%)

Tories launch bid to keep Chamber open until midnight

With four weeks left to go before the Commons shuts down for the summer , Government House Leader Peter Van Loan is so keen to kick off the traditional pre-recess legislative blitz that he wants to switch to extended sitting hours immediately, rather than wait until June 9th when it would automatically come up for consideration.

Later this morning, Van Loan will put forward his bid to keep the Chamber open until midnight every night but Friday, which could well prompt a debate that could keep the Commons busy for much of the afternoon -- depending, as always, on the degree of orneriness with which his gambit is greeted by the opposition parties.

Before that gets underway, however, MPs will begin third reading consideration of Conservative MP Dave Mackenzie's proposal to tighten the rules for "escorted temporary absences" from federal institutions.


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