Inside Politics

Australian PM Tony Abbott hits the Hill as MPs head into marathon budget vote

In what may well turn out to be the final frantic burst of parliamentary activity before the Commons shuts down for the summer, MPs can expect to spend up to four hours on their feet this afternoon, as the Chamber works its way through the votes required to wrap up report stage of the spring omnibudget bill.

The roll calls -- 17 to deal with the 200-odd amendments proposed by the NDP, plus one more to deal with the bill itself -- will begin just after Question Period, and will almost certainly preempt most other scheduled afternoon business.

Before that gets underway, however, the House will devote a few more hours to the government's bid to tighten Canada's citizenship laws, which is also now at report stage, and will likely be put under time allocation later today.

Meanwhile, the red carpet rolls out for visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who will start his day at Rideau Hall, where he'll meet with Governor General David Johnston.

Later this morning, Abbott and his entourage will make their way to the Hill, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be front and centre at a welcome ceremony "with full military honours," after which the two prime ministers will retreat behind closed doors for a one-on-one chat.

Just before noon, they'll emerge from their confab for the now traditional "Hall of Honour walk," which will be followed by a joint media appearance.

This evening, Abbott will be feted at the Chateau Laurier, where both he and Harper are expected to "deliver remarks."

Also on the Hill today:

    • Rideau Institute researcher Michael Byers presents 'One Dead Pilot', his latest report on military procurement, which will "question the suitability" of the single-engine F-35 for Canada.
    • The Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group holds its 54th annual gathering, which will bring together 24 Canadian and American "federal legislators," including Conservative Senator Janis Johnson and MP George Brown, to "discuss a range of issues ... significant to both countries."
    • Elsewhere in the precinct, the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians holds its yearly memorial service in the Senate Chamber.

Out and about on the ministerial circuit:

    • Industry Minister James Moore heads to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, where, alongside Canadian Space Agency president Walter Natynczyk and astronaut David Saint-Jacques, as well as "local students", he's set to launch what the advisory describes as "a new interactive tool" that will help students "better understand the role space and satellites play in their daily lives."
    • Across the river in Gatineau, Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel will give a keynote address to the Canadian Urban Transit Association, during which he will highlight the $53 million New Building Canada Plan, and specifically, "what it means for public transit and Canadians.
    • Finance Minister Joe Oliver hits the stage at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, which gets underway in Montreal today.
    • Justice Minister Peter MacKay is in his home province of Nova Scotia to "welcome the CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V. to the Canadian Coast Guard fleet," with members of the McLaren family scheduled to be in attendance.

Finally, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair is on the byelection hustings in High River, where he'll join MacLeod NDP candidate Aileen Burke for a tour of the town, followed by a press conference outside a local café.

Tags: blackberry jungle, orders of the day

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