Inside Politics

Finance Minister Joe Oliver to undergo after-hours grilling in the House

When the Chamber reopens for business this afternoon, the New Democrats will devote the first of two back-to-back opposition days to a motion urging the government to boost funding for affordable social housing.

While unlikely to succeed, it's fair to say that today's proposal will make for a far less tension-fraught debate than the other item put on notice Tuesday, but as this is, as noted, the first of two NDP opposition days, there's still a chance the party will trigger a debate over abortion rights before MPs head back to their ridings for the Victoria Day constituency break.

Later this evening, MPs will get their second chance to debate the pros and cons of NDP MP Charlie Angus's motion in support of a pan-Canadian palliative and end-of-life care strategy, which has garnered the support of at least one Conservative backbencher: Harold Albrecht, who successfully passed a proposal for a national suicide prevention strategy last year.

After the regular parliamentary workday wraps up, the Commons spotlight will shift to Finance Minister Joe Oliver as the House transforms itself into a Committee of the Whole for an extended after-hours estimates review session.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

    • Citizenship and Immigration continues what has turned into an extensive pre-study of the government's bid to tighten Canada's citizenship rules with testimony from the Air India 182 Victims Families Association, the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations, Immigrant Quebec and lawyer R. Reis Pagtakhan.
    • Over at Finance, meanwhile, Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier, the Canadian Bankers Association and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and veterans activist Sean Bruyea are on the witness list as MPs resume their review of the spring omnibudget bill.
    • Auditor General Michael Ferguson fields questions on his recent report on how well Agriculture Canada is managing its disaster relief program at Public Accounts
    • Foreign Affairs gets a briefing on the protection of children and youth in development countries, courtesy of Right to Play, War Child Canada, World Vision Canada and UNICEF.

Also on the Hill today:

    • The Senate Liberal Caucus will hear from Conservative MP Steven Fletcher, Dying with Dignity director Derryck Smith and representatives from the Canadian Association for Community Living and Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association at an open-door meeting on end-of-life care choices, including palliative care and physician-assisted suicide.
    • Representatives from Development and Peace and United Steelworkers hit the stage of the Centre Block press theatre before heading outside to join MPs Irwin Cotler and Eve Peclet for a midday rally in support of their call for an extractive sector ombudsman.
    • Later this afternoon, Conservative MP James Lunney continues his series of press conferences excoriating Health Canada and its agencies over its approval of stomach drugs that, he contends, are linked to C. difficile outbreaks in hospitals.
    • Multiculturalism Minister of State Tim Uppal hosts a reception to mark National Apraxia Awareness Day.

Outside the precinct, International Development Minister Christian Paradis will "reiterate Canada's commitment to effective partnering with civil society," and "make a number of policy and program announcements" during his appearance at the 2014 Joint Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Finally, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision on Ottawa resident Mohamed Harkat's long-running battle to defend himself against accusations of links to terrorism.

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