Inside Politics

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.

Also on the Hill this morning: the Senate Liberal Caucus holds an open-to-all discussion on parliamentary oversight for Canada's intelligence and national security organizations.

Today's speakers' list includes Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier, former CSEC chief John Adams and security expert Wesley Wark.

When the Commons reopens for business this afternoon, MPs will begin working their way through the government's pre-recess priority list, starting with its bid to tighten up the rules surrounding Canadian citizenship; a bill that has been languishing at second reading for weeks.

The bill is also under notice of time allocation, which means that the government can -- and almost certainly will -- impose a deadline that will see it whisked off to committee as early as later tonight.

Before that bit of scheduling business can be crossed off Government House Leader Peter Van Loan's to-do list, however, MPs will have to get through a lengthy list of private members' bills in the weekly Wednesday voting queue, which will likely postpone post-QP activities for at least a half hour, and possibly longer.

On the afternoon committee front, which may be slightly delayed by the above-noted votes:

    • Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander joins a bevy of senior departmental officials for a new round of questions on the latest batch of main estimates
    • Public Accounts begins its review of the auditor general's findings on public sector pension plans by hearing from a wide variety of senior officials, including representatives from Treasury Board, Finance, the RCMP, National Defence and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.
    • Over at Industry, MPs will learn more about the impact of "research, technology and innovation" on Canada's pipeline sector, with witnesses from Natural Resources, the National Research Council and the Transportation Safety Board slated to share their respective and collective expertise.
    • Foreign Affairs investigates the "protection of children and youth in developing countries," with assistance from the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, Journalists for Human Rights and the United Nations Population Fund.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Toronto to kick off a three-day international summit on maternal, newborn and child health, which is slated to get underway this afternoon with remarks from the PM and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Also in Toronto today: Health Minister Rona Ambrose, who will tour a SickKids Hospital research centre before announcing a new round of humanitarian assistance to the United Nations that will, according to the advisory, allow Canada to continue "its global leadership in nutrition."

On the other side of the country, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism Maxime Bernier will "deliver remarks" at an international tourism tradeshow in Vancouver.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, will be in Quebec City this afternoon to meet with newly minted provincial premier Philippe Couillard.

Finally, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May gives the keynote address, and takes part in panel discussions at an "advanced biofuels symposium" in Ottawa.


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.

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