Inside Politics

Tom Mulcair to be questioned by MPs over NDP satellite offices, mailouts

New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair will become the first official opposition leader to be grilled by a Commons committee by order of the House when he makes his much anticipated appearance at Procedure and House Affairs later this morning.

Mulcair is scheduled to spend the full two hours on the hot seat, fielding questions from MPs on both the government and opposition sides of the table on allegations that his party misused parliamentary resources by directing House funds to pay for staff at out-of-town 'satellite offices', and organizing bulk mail drops on the eve of an earlier round of by-elections.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

        • Justice hears what the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police have to say about the government's efforts to crack down on "online crime" by giving law enforcement more freedom to access information on internet use -- and users.

        • Ethics wraps up clause-by-clause review of Conservative MP Mark Adler's now amended backbench bid to force parliamentary agents and staff to disclose past partisan activity, and deals with a motion put forward by NDP MP Mathieu Ravignat.

        • Finance continues to work its way through the spring omnibudget bill, with Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Gregory Thomas and the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation among the witnesses scheduled to testify this afternoon.

        • Finally, three ministers hit the spring estimates circuit, which will see them take questions from their home committees on their respective departmental budgets: Health Minister Rona Ambrose, Minister of State for Labour Kellie Leitch and Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover.

Back in the Chamber, MPs will spend the day debating an NDP motion that calls on the government to restore the latest round of CBC funding cuts, and ensure stable, predictable funding for the broadcaster in future.

Also on the Hill today:

        • Supporters of Mohamed Harkat, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Amnesty International Canada secretary general Alex Neve, lead public counsel Norm Boxall and representatives from the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Union of Public and General Employees share their collective and respective thoughts on this week's Supreme Court ruling, which concluded that the security certificate process is constitutional, and he was treated fairly.

        • Later this morning, representatives from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers will be among those taking part in a press conference to discuss a second court ruling -- this time, the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the extradition of Dr. Hassan Diab.

        • The trio of 'Iran Accountability Week' parliamentary co-sponsors Conservative MP James Bezan, New Democrat MP Paul Dewar and iberal MP Irwin Cotler discuss their efforts to raise awareness to human rights within Iran.

        • Conservative Senator Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis "expresses Canada's continued commitment to improving maternal, newborn and child health in the developing world."

        • Later this afternoon, New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen holds a press conference to discuss the details of his new private members' initiative to, as the advisory explains, "strengthen victims' rights in relation to offences committed in Canada by a permanent resident or foreign national."

        • Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella teams up with Senator Asha Seth and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind at the launch of a new public awareness campaign to "educate Canadians on vision health." as well as "eliminate avoidable vision loss."

        • The Canadian Tamil Congress hosts a five-year "anniversary memorial" to commemorate "innocent lives lost in Sri Lanka's war," which will take place at noon in a Centre Block meeting room.

Outside the precinct, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation marks Gas Tax Honesty Day at a Bank Street gas station.

Finally, later this afternoon, parliamentarians will gather at the Canadian War Museum this afternoon to mark National Holocaust Remembrance Day at an afternoon ceremony organized by the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem

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