Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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MPs to get first chance to debate pros and cons of First Nations education bill

by Kady O'Malley

CBC News

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 his party's confab 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.

UPDATE: Those who have paid closer attention to the trials and tribulations of Turmel's bill suggest that the above optimism may be misplaced, as the government has indicated it can't support it as written.

On the committee front:

• Public Accounts gets briefed on rail safety oversight, courtesy of Auditor General Michael Ferguson, who conducted an audit of the current regime last year, as well as senior departmental officials.

• Citizenship and Immigration resumes its pre-study of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, with today's witness list to include representatives from the Canadian Bar Association, B'nai Brith Canada, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform.

• Later this evening, Procedure and House Affairs will return to the painstaking process of reviewing, clause by clause, the government's efforts to rewrite Canada's election laws, which began on Tuesday evening, and is set to wrap up on Thursday afternoon.

• Over on the Senate side of the Hill, Legal and Constitutional Affairs hears from two former returning officers who worked in Ottawa Centre and Provencher as senators pick up where they left off before the Easter break in giving the election bill a thorough pre-study.

Also on the Hill agenda today: Conservative MP James Lunney hits the stage at the Centre Block press theatre to "expand" on what the advisory bills as "Health Canada's mismanagement" of C. difficile, which, he will argue, is responsible for 1,400 deaths a year, and may be related to the misuse of "commonly prescribed" stomach acid suppression drugs.

Outside the precinct, Finance Minister Joe Oliver drops by an Ottawa pharmacy to "highlight [his government's] commitment" to "better protect[ing] prepaid card users."

Finally, Canadian Heritage Minister Shelly Glover will attend an evening preview of a new documentary series, "Apocalypse - La 1re Guerre mondiale," at the National Gallery.

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.

Whatever Trevor

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