Most recent entries for April 2014

Yesterday we asked: Are telecoms sharing too much personal info with federal agencies?
- Yes: 1771 votes (96%)
- No: 51 votes (3%)
- Not sure: 23 votes    (1%)

It's Wednesday, which means MPs will spend much of the morning sequestered behind the closed doors of their respective caucus meetings, with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau the only leader currently scheduled to make himself available reporters after those meetings wraps up.

When the House reopens for business this afternoon, members will turn their attention to the government's ambitious plan to revamp the First Nations education system, which begins second reading debate today.

When that debate wraps up later today, they'll vote on the New Democratic Party's proposal to impose a moratorium on the use of the Temporary Foreign Workers program within the food sector, as well as two NDP-backed private members' initiatives: Nycole Turmel's pitch to better protect Gatineau Park, which will likely pass, and Pierre Dionne Labelle's motion on tax evasion, which, despite its non-binding status, may not.

On the committee front:

Hit the jump for the full post. 

Learn more about our new interactive features for Power & Politics and how you can take part in the political conversation -- live and on-screen -- here. Ballot Box refreshes daily -- the question you see above is the current question.

Internet Explorer 8 users please note: browser cookies must be enabled to vote in Ballot Box. Consult your browser's privacy settings.

The government is refusing to release detailed information on the controversial Temporary Foreign Workers program on the grounds that doing so "would produce a prohibitively large document."

Last month, New Democrat MP Jinny Sims filed a written query for a full breakdown of all TFW-related Labour Market Opinions issued by the department since 2000, including the total number of applications submitted, approved and denied broken down by year, region and province.

She also wanted to know the average length of time taken to reach a decision, and the median length of time that employers reported advertising for Canadian workers before applying for an LMO.

Yesterday, Employment Minister Jason Kenney's parliamentary secretary Scott Armstrong responded to the request by informing the House that "the nature of this request requires significant data manipulation and would produce a prohibitively large document."

As a result, he concluded, "Employment and Social Development Canada is unable to answer this question in the time allotted."

Unlike the access to information system, there's no avenue of appeal for MPs left unsatisfied by responses to written questions. That hasn't stopped some opposition members from attempting to convince House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to intervene in the process, however.

Perhaps not surprisingly , Scheer has thus far managed to resisted those entreaties on the grounds that it's not up to him to judge the quality of a particular reply.

Hit the jump to read the full text of Sims' question and Armstrong's answer.

As the Hill returns to its traditional post-recess state of perpetual parliamentary motion, MPs get set to spend the day discussing the pros and cons of a New Democrat-sponsored opposition motion urging immediate action on the controversial Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which, it states, "as been open to abuse resulting in the firing of qualified Canadian workers, lower wages and the exploitation of temporary foreign workers."

"Therefore," it continues, "the government should: (a) impose an immediate moratorium on the Stream for Lower-skilled Occupations, which includes fast-food, service and restaurant jobs; and (b) request an urgent audit of the whole program by the Auditor General."

The Temporary Foreign Workers program will also be on the agenda at Human Resources this morning, where Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner will attempt to put forward a proposal to hold "televised hearings" on problems within the program, with Employment Minister Jason Kenney at the top of the witness list, followed by Saskatchewan waitresses Sandy Nelson and Shaunna Jennison-Yung, who claim they lost their jobs at a Weyburn pizza restaurant to temporary foreign workers.

Depending on how members choose to proceed, the ensuing debate may or may not take place in public.

Meanwhile,a little over a month after launching their review of the government's proposed election law rewrite, Procedure and House Affairs heads into the final stage of committee consideration before sending the bill back to the House: clause-by-clause review.

That process is scheduled to get underway this morning, and resume later this evening, in an effort to discuss each and every one of the 158 clauses that make up the 200-plus page bill -- not to mention those 344 proposed amendments -- before Thursday afternoon, when the committee's self-imposed deadline comes due, and all remaining votes must be put without further discussion.

Hit the jump for the full post.

We asked: Do you believe TFW program is taking jobs away from Canadians?

Here are the results:

Yes: 1922 votes (95%)
No: 79 votes (4%)
Not sure: 12 votes (1%)

As MPs return from what turned out to be a surprisingly news-filled two-week constituency break, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair is scheduled to deliver a mid-morning speech to caucus and staff on what his party unfailingly refers to as "the Unfair Elections Act," during which he will almost certainly claim credit for forcing the changes announced last Friday by embattled Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre.

Speaking of those promised amendments, MPs -- and along with them, the rest of us -- may get a first peek at the text later this morning, when Procedure and House Affairs holds a rare Monday meeting to hear from Director of Public Prosecutions Brian J. Saunders and Quebec elections director Jacques Drouin, who will almost certainly be the last witnesses to testify before the committee shifts to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday.

Hit the jump for the full post. 

Friday we asked: What should the government do about the Senate now?
- Hold national referendum: 359  votes (13%)
- Reopen constitutional talks: 1421 votes (50%)
- Status quo: 1033 votes (36%)
- Not sure: 51 votes (2%)
As the Hill holds its collective breath in advance of today's historic Supreme Court ruling on Senate reform -- which, for those who want to watch the clock along with the rest of us, is scheduled to drop at approximately 9:45 AM ET -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Kitchener, where he'll take part in a noon-hour "moderated" Q&A session with members of the Greater Kitchener and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce.

Hit the jump for the full post. 
Yesterday we asked: How serious a problem is voter fraud in Canada?
- Very serious: 566 votes (25%)
- Somewhat serious: 88 votes (4%)
- Not a problem: 1595 votes (70%)
- Not sure: 25 votes (1%)
View all April 2014 posts »