Inside Politics

Hill harassment, House secrecy on MPs' agenda

The secretive all-party panel that oversees House spending and administration will meet behind closed doors to discuss how to handle the allegations of personal misconduct lodged against Liberal MPs Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti by two unnamed New Democrat MPs.  

A few hours after the in camera session is set to take place, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau Justin Trudeau will get the first chance to promote his bid to hold future Board of Internal Economy meetings in public, which is scheduled to undergo an opening round of debate this evening.

Before that discussion gets underway, however, MPs will spend the day discussing the government's efforts to expand the power of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) -- which would include, among other changes, a loosening of the current restrictions on keeping tabs on suspected terrorists who travel outside Canada -- which could be dispatched to committee as early as Wednesday if the Conservatives choose to invoke time allocation.   

Meanwhile, the fine print and footnotes of the annual fall budget bill will go under the microscope at four separate committees -- Finance, Human ResourcesNatural Resources and Industry -- as the countdown to the pre-Christmas legislative blitz begins in earnest.

One particularly controversial provision in the 400-plus page bill has raised serious concerns for Canada Without Poverty, the group has convened a mid-morning press conference to outline its opposition to the proposal to allow provinces to impose minimum residency requirements for access to social assistance, a move that they fear will hurt newly settled refugees who, in the words of the media advisory, "already struggle to get by."

Elsewhere on the committee front:

    • Procedure and House Affairs members consult House of Commons IT officials, expert witnesses from the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and the National Assembly of Quebec and newly installed Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Aaron Wudrick as they consider the pros and cons of NDP MP Kennedy Stewart's bid to bring electronic petitions to the Commons floor.
    • The government's proposed victims' bill of rights remains in the spotlight at Justice, where MPs are scheduled to hear from more victim support and advocacy groups.  

Also this morning: representatives from anti-child marriage activists Girls Not Brides share their collective and respective perspectives at Foreign Affairs, which will also hear from the United Nations Population Fund, Plain International Canada Inc. and CARE Canada as committee members continue their study on the protection of children and youth in developing countries.

After the meeting wraps up, the United Population Fund will release a new report: "The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future."

Later today, the Girls Not Brides delegation will take part in a "special ceremony and announcement" alongside Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.  

Also hitting the parliamentary media circuit today:

    • The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations meet with MPs and senators as part of a campaign that calls for "reforms" to "keep student debt from becoming family debt."
    • The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Sciences launches a new, career-focused website.

Outside the precinct, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and International Trade Minister Ed Fast  mark  what the advisory notes is the "14th Annual Mining Day" by making a joint appearance at a Mining Association of Canada-hosted "Hill luncheon," where the pair is slated to "deliver keynote remarks and make an announcement."

Elsewhere in the capital, Public Works Minister Diane Finley will "engage with industry" the Canadian Aerospace Summit, which is billed as "Canada's leading aerospace event," while Finance Minister Joe Oliver "addresses municipal leaders" as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities hosts its annual "advocacy day."

Finally, Minister of State for Science Ed Holder is slated to speak at the Mitacs Awards Reception, which will also be attended by several of his cabinet colleagues, including Minister of State for FedDev Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal and National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay.


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