Inside Politics

Election bill back on the House floor - along with 145 newly proposed amendments

The government's contentious bid to rewrite Canada's election laws returns to the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon as MPs kick off report stage consideration of the newly amended legislation -- and, specifically, the 145 opposition-backed amendments currently on the Order Paper, which, even after being grouped by the speaker, will likely require a long night of voting before the bill can move onto a final round of debate..

After the standard parliamentary workday wraps up, MPs will move to committee of the whole for the first of two extended ministerial Q&A sessions.

On tonight's agenda: Transport Minister Lisa Raitt faces four hours of questions on her department's projected budget as the House considers all pending main estimates votes under the Transport heading.

Later this month, Finance Minister Joe Oliver will undergo a similar ordeal, although the date for his primetime appearance has not yet been set.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

  • Public Accounts gets its first chance to go through the fine print of Auditor General Michael Ferguson's latest report, which they will do with the assistance of the AG himself, as well as several senior auditors.
  • Citizenship and Immigration continues its pre-study of the government's bid to tighten citizenship with testimony from a wide variety of witnesses, including representatives from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and the National Forum for Civic Action, as well as other academics and immigration experts
  • Over at Industry, Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency vice-president Denise Frechette will provide her perspective on the 2013 budget, which would give the agency control of the formerly stand-alone Cape Breton Enterprise Corporation.
  • Later this evening, Finance Minister Joe Oliver will take questions on the spring omnibudget during an appearance at the Senate finance committee, which is also scheduled to hear from senior officials from virtually every department and agency affected by the bill, as well as Bank of Canada special counsel Ron Turnbull and Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation director Mark Maltais.

Also on the Hill today:

  • Campaign Life Coalition organizers Alissa Golob, Matt Wojciechowski and Johanne Brownrigg kick off Thursday's March for Life by urging the government to "reject the importation application for the deadly abortion drug RU-486 into Canada."
  • New Democrat MP Charlie Angus joins representatives from the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service and Anishinabek Police Service -- which, the advisory notes, are "the two largest First Nation police services in Ontario -- to share their respective and collective thoughts on yesterday's report from Auditor General Michael Ferguson.
  • An all-party trio of MPs -- Libera Irwin Cotler, New Democrat MP Helene Lavardiere and Conservative MP Rob Anders -- hit the stage at the Centre Block press theatre to show their support for Venezuelan congresswoman Marina Corina Machado, who will discuss her visit to Canada and meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
  • The association representing Canadian audiologists and speech-language pathologists issues its annual plea for the government to "invest in early communication health" in order to "avoid huge costs down the road."
  • Later this afternoon, Falun Gong practitioners and supporters will converge on the parliamentary lawn to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of "the introduction" of Falun Dafa with a parade, musical entertainment and speeches, including one from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
  • May will also be among those in attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast Dinner, where she will join Conservative MPs Colin Mayes and Joy Smith and Senators Don Plett and Yonah Martin, as well as Senate Liberal David Smith.

Outside the precinct, Health Minister Rona Ambrose teams up with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and BC MP John Weston at a Gatineau drug store to "highlight" National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day.

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