Well, we got a hint of it during yesterday’s Ethics meeting, but a quick scan of upcoming committee meetings suggests that the era of parliamentary gentility, multipartisan cooperation and political restraint may be about to draw to a (not entirely unwelcome, in ITQ’s case) close –—and it’s likely no coincidence that it’s happening right as the budget bill is about to head off into the sunset – that is, if the Finance committee makes it through clause by clause without any unforeseen delays. (Was ITQ on that committee, we’d be keeping an eye out for NDP and Bloc members bearing extra-large coffee mugs and sleeping bags.)
Over at Agriculture, meanwhile, they’re getting together this morning to discuss “committee business”, which will almost certainly lead to chatter about the investigation into the listeriosis outbreak – sorry, food safety that was supposed to get underway any time now. With the government playing ATI peekaboo with the notes from that infamous ministerial conference call, ITQ suspects that the Conservatives who backed – albeit less than enthusiastically – the NDP motion to look into the matter may be even less enthusiastic about it now, although if it turns out that they’re able to turn it into an investigation into everything but, opposition members will have nobody but themselves to blame, since they did agree to broaden the mandate to the more anodyne “food safety”. (And yes, if that happens, ITQ will totally say she told you so.)
Also this morning, the Chief Electoral Officer gives a command performance for members of Procedure and House Affairs; ostensibly, he’s there to field questions about his report on the last election, but his appearance may well turn into a passive aggressive bickerfest, given how certain members of the committee feel about the agency’s ongoing investigation into the election advertising expenses of certain political parties.
This afternoon, it’s a return to Chalk River for the Natural Resources committee – figuratively, that is; specifically, the activities of AECL at Chalk River, with special guests the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Canadian Nuclear Association. Over at Industry, they’re entertaining no fewer than five motions – all but one proposed by government members, which makes ITQ wonder whether a theme may pop up, but since it’s behind closed doors, we won’t know until the minutes are published later this week.
Tomorrow afternoon the Ethics committee will – at least in theory – get its first crack at the possibly soon to be infamous Freeman motion, which would resurrect the election-aborted investigation into the Conservatives’ in and out election expense scheme (which, to be clear, may very well be Perfectly Legal, not to mention that All The Parties Do It, So Why Is Elections Canada Picking On US?).
The Liberals should be on side, in theory, but the NDP – always a wild card – holds the balance of power, which means both sides will be pulling out all the stops to get that precious orange tie-making vote. (We’d suggest not mentioning Libby Davies for the duration of the meeting would be a good starting point for the Conservatives.)
Also tomorrow afternoon, the Battle of the Battle of the Plaines d’Abraham hits Canadian Heritage, which has summoned the National Battlefields Commission’s Andre Juneau to discuss the now cancelled reenactment. Whee!