Inside Politics

Trio of parliamentary watchdogs on the Ethics witness list

A trio of parliamentary watchdogs is set to appear before the House Ethics committee this morning, as Auditor General Michael Ferguson, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson and Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand share their respective and collective thoughts on Conservative backbencher Mark Adler's bid to force agents of parliament and their staff to publicly declare past political activity -- including, but not limited to ministerial staff gigs, riding association executive positions and part-time work for a political party-- as part of the job application process.

Adler himself will also be given one hour to explain the rationale behind his private members' bill, which has already managed to garner the preliminary support of the government at second reading.

Under Adler's bill, successful applicants would also have to sign an undertaking vowing to "conduct themselves in a non-partisan manner," and could find themselves under investigation if an MP or senator files a written request alleging partisan conduct.

Elsewhere on the committee front, the New Democrat-led campaign for cross-country hearings on the government's proposal to rewrite the country's election laws is expected to resume when Procedure and House Affairs reconvenes this morning -- and, by all accounts, carry on for the foreseeable future, until either a compromise is reached or the chair shuts down debate by calling the vote.

Outside the Chamber, co-founder Adam Shedletzky joins Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, New Democrats Craig Scott, David Christopherson and Alexandrine Latendresse and Liberal MPs Stephane Dion and Scott Simms at the Centre Block press theatre, where the group will unveil a petition with "over 50,000 signatures [...]" from Canadians who are, as per the notice, "opposed [to ]voter suppressing elements of the Conservative government's proposed election law."

Meanwhile, back in the Commons, MPs will spend the day debating the pros and cons of the most recent budget.

Also on the Hill today: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada co-authors Philip Cross and Peter Jon Mitchell, who will give a "brief presentation," and field questions from reporters on the "major research findings" on the link between marriage and income in Canada.

A few blocks from the precinct, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, in cooperation with the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Research Network, will "bring together leading researchers, policy-makers and stakeholders" for a debate on inequality in Canada.

On the ministerial circuit:

  • Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver heads to the Museum of Nature, where, alongside Sustainable Development Technology Chair Jim Balsillie and Canadian Gas Association president Timothy Egan, he's scheduled to announce what the advisory describes as "a major proposed investment in clean technology."
  • Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz speaks at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
  • Later this evening. Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover will be on hand for the "Red Carpet arrivals" at the Ottawa premiere of Gabrielle.
  • On the other side of the world, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty takes part in a Q&A with Australian treasurer Joe Hockey in Melbourne, where he's also slated to attend an Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum dinner.

Finally, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair starts his day with a breakfast chat with the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in Canada at the Irish Ambassador's residence in Rockliffe. 

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