Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Election bill, First Nations education top today's House agenda

by Kady O'Malley

As previewed yesterday, the Liberals will use one of their few designated opposition days to argue in favour of a blanket ban on using time allocation or closure to curtail House debate on bills related to the electoral process.

Before that gets underway, however, the government will unveil the much-anticipated First Nations education bill, which will be tabled in the Commons this morning.

Meanwhile, Procedure and House Affairs wraps up its review of the election bill with testimony from LeadNow.ca, Apathy is Boring and the Quebec federation of college students.

Before that panel assembles, however, Conservative MP Laurie Hawn will provide more detail on his claim to have been offered illicitly obtained voter information cards during a long-past election, while former Conservative turned Independent MP Bill Casey is expected to enlighten the committee on how he believes the changes will make it more difficult for candidates not aligned with a major party to run in future campaigns.

That same point will be emphasized at the Senate legal affairs committee 'pre-study', which will hear from Pirate Party representative Ric Lim and Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency Leader Michael Nicula, as well as Elections Commissioner Yves Cote and former BC chief electoral officer Harry Neufeld

Elsewhere on the committee front:

• Government Operations continues its investigation into open data within the federal government

• International Trade hears from the Honduras Solidarity Network and other domestic and international human rights advocates as it resumes parsing the pros and cons of a proposed free trade deal with Honduras.

• Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq fields questions on her departmental budget at Environment

• Representatives from the Canadian Petroleum Producers Association and Canadian Fuels Association share their perspectives on the state of the Canadian transport safety regime at Transport.

• Defence gets a briefing on North American defence from the Conference of Defence Associations Institute

Also set to pay a visit to the Hill today: Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso, who will spend much of the day in closed-door meetings with the prime minister, with the pair expected to emerge just before Question Period for the traditional Hall of Honour stroll and joint media availability.

Elsewhere in the precinct:

• Representatives from the Climate Action Network release a new report on 'impacts and vulnerability in Canada'

• New Democrat MP Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet launches a new social housing campaign with a press conference to present a motion that would "ensure adequate financing for the program."

• Later this afternoon, her caucus colleague Paul Dewar calls on the government to "take in more Syrian refugees."

• On the ministerial circuit:

• Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird breakfasts with his Panamanian counterpart and members of the House international trade committee.

• Health Minister Rona Ambrose will, according to the advisory, "experience what it's like to be a resident physician at one of the busiest community teaching hospitals in Ontario when she dons scrubs and tours St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto.

• Finance Minister Joe Oliver jets off to Washington for a confab with his G-20 colleagues and counterparts.

Finally, New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair heads to the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in the heart of Trinity Spadina, where he'll join members of the local riding association to celebrate the nomination of unopposed byelection candidate-in-waiting Joe Cressy.  

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