Tuesday, May 6, 2008
How much parliamentary scrutiny does one budget implementation bill need? At least a couple of committees’ worth, it turns out — if, that is, said bill would radically revamp the immigration system by providing the minister with the power to rearrange the waiting list on the fly. This afternoon, Citizenship and Immigration will devote four hours – double the usual meeting length – to the subject; on Wednesday, the Finance committee will resume its consideration of the entire bill, but is scheduled to hear from several groups concerned over the proposals, including the Chinese Canadian National Council, and Status Now, a coalition that promotes the rights of undocumented immigrants.
A few months after she appeared alongside her minister to defend the decision to fire former Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen, Natural Resources Deputy Minister Cassie Doyle goes back before the Natural Resources committee later today. During her much-scrutinized (by ITQ, at least) testimony earlier this year, Doyle made a valiant, if ultimately futile effort to protect her political master, Gary Lunn, from political fallout over his handling of the Chalk River isotope debacle. It’s unlikely that she will be forced to provide ground cover to her minister during today’s meeting, which will look at the considerably less incendiary issue of her department’s annual main estimates, although the pair may face a few follow-up questions on the Keen Affair, particularly given recent events involving other ostensibly independent officers of Parliament.
Lunn isn’t the only minister making the main estimates rounds today, however: his cabinet colleague, Loyola Hearn, fields questions at Fisheries and Oceans this morning.
- The Health committee begins a statutory review of “the 10-year Plan to Strengthen Health Care”: in the interest of journalistic integrity, ITQ is required to disclose that she has no idea what on earth that 10-Year Plan might involve, although she believes that it might have something to do with that affable Paul Martin fellow, who never met a plan – or a priority – he didn’t like.
- The Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics committee continues its consideration of the Privacy Act – at least, for the moment; given its mandate, it’s hard to see why its members wouldn’t be willing to put privacy on hold for the moment, and launch an immediate investigation into the Conservative government’s decision to mothball CAIRS, the much-consulted ATI request database.
- Committee clairvoyants take note: there are four motions on the table at Canadian Heritage this afternoon, including two from Conservative MPs. (ITQ’s prediction: At least one of the two government-backed proposals will somehow involve the CBC; bonus points if it also works in a reference to the “Liberal camera crew” that showed up at the recent raid on Tory headquarters.