Inside Politics

NDP challenges Tories over use of government jets

The New Democrats are set to challenge the Conservatives over the use of official, taxpayer-funded planes for business not strictly related to the business of government -- with an opposition day motion that, if passed, would have the House remind the prime minister that such travel perks are not to be used by anyone other than those "associated with such purposes" -- or, it allows, "those required for the safety and security" of the PM and his family.

The all-day debate will get underway when the Chamber opens for business at 10am, and New Democrat ethics critic Charlie Angus will give reporters a preview of what to expect during a pre-sitting scrum in the Commons Foyer.

Meanwhile, over at Procedure and House Affairs, the ongoing scrutiny of the government's proposed rewrite of the election bill will see committee members meet this morning to hear from groups representing Canadians with disabilities, as well as senior CRTC compliance and enforcement official, who will likely limit their comments to the proposal to crack down on mass calls.

Later this evening, they'll reconvene for an after-hours session with both the current and former commissioners of elections, Yves Cote and William Corbett, respectively.

Elsewhere on the committee front:

  • Government Operations continues to parse the fine print of the latest batch of main estimates, focusing its attention specifically on the budget allotted to the Privy Council Office
  • Over at Ethics, MPs kick off a new study of what the terms of reference describe as the "growing threat of identity theft" with briefings from senior departmental officials.
  • Meanwhile, Transport launches a review into the Canadian transportation safety regime -- and particularly, the transport of dangerous goods -- with an appearance by Transportation Safety Board chair Wendy Tadros, with Transport Action Group and Laval law professor Daniel Gardner also slated to testify.
  • On the afternoon circuit, Citizenship and Immigration continues to explore ways of "strengthening the protection of women" within the current immigration regime, with the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, the Muslim Canadian Congress and other community support groups expected to provide their respective perspectives.
  • Finally, Veterans Affairs hears from a panel of national veterans' groups as it continues its statutory review of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act.

Elsewhere on the Hill today:

  • Maritimes United for Medical Marijuana representatives hit the Centre Block press theatre to stress the importance of allowing patients to "grow their own cannabis and make derivatives."
  • Canadians for Safe Technology CEO Frank Clegg outlines his objections to the conclusions of a just-released Royal Study of Canada study into wireless radiation technology, which the advisory describes as "conflicted and biased."
  • New Democrat critics Robert Aubin and Mathieu Ravignat join former employment insurance fraud investigator Sylvie Therrien, who, as the advisory notes, "blew the whistle on quotas set for federal EI employees," to call for better whistleblower protection, and also share their thoughts on cuts to employment insurance benefits.
  • The All-Party Oceans Caucus, co-chaired by Conservative MP Bruce Stanton and New Democrat MP Fin Donnelly, host their parliamentary colleagues at an "Oceans on the Hill" event.
  • Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch teams up with colleagues Senator Asha Seth and Deepak Obhrai to show their support for the Elspeth Hayward Centre for Women with an evening reception on the Hill.

Outside the precinct, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario Gary Goodyear "highlights the role of technological advancement in Southern Ontario) during a keynote address at a conference of electrical and electronic engineers.

Finally, Laureen Harper, UK High Commissioner Howard Drake and NAC conductor Pinchas Zukerman will be among the guests in attendance as a "massed choir" sings an excerpt from 'A Ballad of Canada' to mark the launch of a tour to the United Kingdom "to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I." 

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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