Inside Politics

House to deliver verdict on NDP pitch for e-petitions

New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart will learn the fate of his bid to have a House committee investigate the possibility of implementing an e-petition system, which is officially opposed by the government but could squeak through if a sufficient number of backbench Conservative MPs were to break ranks to support it. 

Also up for a vote tonight: New Democrat MP Charmaine Borg's efforts to give the privacy commissioner more power to lay down the law by issuing orders, Liberal MP Judy Sgro's proposal to create a 'Retirement Income Bill of Rights', and Conservative MP Blaine Calkins' plan to guarantee secret ballots for union certification and decertification votes. 

After the Commons has duly expressed its collective will on the above matters, Conservative MP Brad Trost will get his final chance to persuade his colleagues to back a potentially contentious procedural pitch of his own: namely, stripping the government -- and, in certain cases, opposition leadership -- of the power to appoint committee chairs in favour of a new system of preferential voting within the Chamber at the start of each Parliament. 

Before all that democracy gets underway, however, MPs will retreat behind closed doors for their traditional weekly Wednesday caucus confabs, which will likely keep most of them occupied for the better part of the morning, depending on just how lively and freewheeling the ensuing in camera conversation turns out to be. 

(In the case of the Conservatives, one has to wonder if the optics fiasco that transpired yesterday evening after Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino managed to further frustrate a delegation of already angry veterans will feature in the discussion.) 

According to a just-in notice from the Liberal caucus, Justin Trudeau will make himself available to the press before being whisked off to caucus. 

Outside Centre Block, members of the Ukrainian Canadian community will gather on the parliamentary lawn to call on the government to,as the advisory puts it, "impose sanctions on key Ukrainian officials, as a promised support of democracy development and human rights protection." 

It's not clear if the group is demanding more stringent sanctions than those announced earlier this week, which would bar certain Ukrainian officials from visiting Canada. 

Elsewhere in the capital, the Canadian Labour Congress releases a new report on corporate tax cuts, and specifically, what, exactly, such measures have "delivered." 

When the House reconvenes this afternoon, the occupants will have their first opportunity to debate the Canada-Honduras free trade deal, which was tabled amid mild to middling fanfare yesterday. 

Meanwhile, after Question Period wraps up, Treasury Board President Tony Clement will hit the Foyer to share the details of his latest legislative efforts to reduce red tape.  

For up to the minute dispatches from the precinct and beyond, keep your eye on the Parliament Hill Ticker below -- or, alternatively, bookmark it and check back throughout the day. 

Mobile-friendly auto-updating text feed available here

NOTE: Updates added in reverse chronological (newer to older) order.

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