Inside Politics

UPDATED - Orders of the Day - Way to go, Afghanistan committee!

It's Wednesday, which means party business takes precedence over parliamentary affairs for the morning. This afternoon, the House kicks off second reading of the budget implementation bill, which I'm almost certainly not going to henceforth refer to as The Jobs and Economic Growth Act, despite the minister-foisted moniker under which it appears on the Order Paper.

Outside the confines of the Commons, the Afghanistan committee has been promoted back to the A-list, as far as room assignment. No leisurely and very possibly lost-getting trek through the sedate halls of East Block will be required this afternoon -- we're back in Centre Block, and in one of the Big (and Television-Friendly) Rooms to boot!

On the witness list for today: Cory Anderson, who served as political director for the Provincial Reconstruction Team -- the same post held by Richard Colvin -- between 2008 and 2009. According to this op-ed that he wrote for the Globe and Mail earlier this month, he was also special advisor to the Manley Commission; he's now the executive director of the Hila Organization for Partnerships in Education. Anderson is slated to testify for the first hour; he'll be followed by Brigadier General Denis William Thompson, chief of staff for Land Operations.

The committee -- or, more precisely, its subcommittee on agenda and procedure -- also deserves credit for its proposal to cut back on the amount of time spent on opening statements, which was subsequently accepted by the committee:

3. That the series of meetings organized as part of the study on the transfer of Afghan detainees be limited to two (2) witnesses per panel, and that fifteen (15) minutes in total be allocated per panel for opening statements in order to maximize the time available to members for questions and answers.
As regular readers will know, the standard convention of giving every witness ten minutes to read the highlights from the About Us section of their organizational website has long been a grumbling point for those of us who have to sit through -- and, until I started explicitly downing thumbs for the duration in protest, liveblog -- material that could just as easily be have been distributed to MPs before the meeting, so hooray for the agenda subcommittee for this latest experiment in time management. Let's see if any other committees follow suit. Fingers crossed!

Also on the notice list today: Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities hears from the Metis National Council and the National Association of Friendship Centres on the role of the federal government in reducing poverty.  Status of Women, which continues its study on the participation of women in "non-traditional occupations," a term that apparently includes technicians, technologists and professors of neuroscience, if today's witness list is any indication. Fisheries and Oceans looks at eco-certification, and the members of Agriculture and Government Operations gather behind closed doors to hammer away at draft reports on sector competitiveness and the stimulus package, respectively.

UPDATE: Well, it seems the PM has lost -- or is in the process of losing, at least -- another director of communications, although in this case, he's gaining a future caucus member, at least. 

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