Inside Politics

PM kicks off Greater Toronto Area mini-tour with announcement in Markham

Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicks off a mini-tour of the Greater Toronto Area in Markham, where he'll join Minister of State for Science Ed Holder and a trio of local MPs at IBM Laboratories, where he'll deliver an otherwise unspecified announcement.

Later tonight, he's slated to speak at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Hall.

Also out and about today: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who heads to St. John's for a meet-and-greet alongside local candidate Seamus O'Regan.

Back on the Hill, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May joins Conservative MP Scott Reid, New Democrat Tyrone Benskin and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler for a "multi-partisan press conference" to mark the anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela by speaking out on behalf of three "prisoners of conscience" still behind bars: Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, Mauritania "anti-slavery figure" Biram Dah Abeid and Iranian cleric  Ayatollah Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi.

Later this morning, May will team up with Liberal MP John McKay to "voice opposition" to what the advisory describes as the "flawed" bill to create the Rouge River Urban Park after the government voted down every substantive amendment put forward at committee to improve it "based on stakeholder recommendations."

Also mingling with the media today: newly appointed Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin, who will observe a tradition set by his predecessor by bringing reporters onto the floor of the Upper House for a question-and-answer session before whisking them off to his private dining room for "Christmas tea."

Back in the Commons, MPs will spend the day on two bills targeting northern resources: the Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve Act and the Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act, both of which were originally introduced in -- and subsequently passed by -- the Senate, and now require only House approval to become law.

Outside the Chamber, despite the supplementary estimates process having officially wrapped up upon passage of the required motions on Wednesday night, two committees are nevertheless scheduled to hold after-the-fact reviews on the subject matter thereof.

Later this morning, Industry Minister James Moore will spend an hour discussing the ongoing budgetary demands of his department at Industry.

Meanwhile, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault will field questions on the operations of her office at Ethics this afternoon.    

Also on the committee circuit today:

    • Representatives from Democracy Watch, Fair Vote Canada, Samara and Friends of the Reform Act, along with University of Toronto professor Nelson Wiseman, share their thoughts on Conservative MP Michael Chong's proposal to tweak the balance of power between caucuses and party leaders, which is expected to be sent back to the House by Procedure and House Affairs members next week.  
    • Auditor General Michael Ferguson outlines his findings on the transfer payment program managed by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency at Public Accounts, which will also hear from agency president Janet King.

    • Government Operations begins clause-by-clause review of the government's bid to cut back on administrative red tape, while over at Health, committee members continue to consider the pros and cons of e-cigarettes.

    • Natural Resources kicks off an investigation of Canada's propane markets with a briefing from department officials, as well as a one-hour session with senior Competition Bureau officials.

    • The Subcommittee on International Human Rights continues its survey of the aftermath of the Rwandan crisis, while Foreign Affairs hears from more expert witnesses as it looks at Canada's response to the "violence, religious persecution and dislocation" caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq.

    • Finally, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander briefs the Senate Human Rights committee on his proposal to crack down on forced marriage and other "barbaric cultural practices."

Outside the precinct, International Cooperation Minister Christian Paradis lauds his government's commitment to providing "appropriate, timely and effective humanitarian aid" and unveil a new initiative "aimed at identifying concrete areas for collaboration" with non-governmental organizations during his speech to the 2014 Canadian Humanitarian Conference, which is being hosted by the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat.

Elsewhere in the capital, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal will be in attendance as Hockey Canada launches its 100th anniversary celebrations.

Finally, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford ferries fresh federal support to Sudbury.

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