A quick guide to the Hill today

OTTAWA – It’s back to reality for Prime Minister Stephen Harper after receiving a warm welcome during a week-long visit to the Middle East.

The reception won’t be as warm today, however, as Harper and members of Parliament head back to work in Ottawa, ending their six-week winter break.

The Conservatives are expected to take every opportunity in the coming weeks to highlight their economic prowess in advance of the federal budget, which could be introduced by mid-February.

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan will kickstart the day, along with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Denis Lebel, by outlining the government’s plans for the parliamentary sitting.

Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair will follow with a speech on his so-called affordability tour of last week, where he’ll lay out the NDP’s plans for the new session.

During the same hour (11 a.m. ET), Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will hold a news conference with Thunder Bay, Ont., MP Bruce Hyer, who joined the Green Party in December after leaving the NDP in 2012.

Other events expected in Ottawa today include:

— Question Period.

— The Senate defence committee will hear from Defence Department officials about the committee’s report on the Canadian Forces reserves.

— Another Senate body, the official languages committee, will hear witnesses on the CBC’s obligations under the Official Languages Act.




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