POLITICS

Pensions, privilege and economic pressure top Commons agenda

01/26/2015 05:57 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT
When the House reopens for business this morning, Conservative MP John Williamson will kick off what could be the final round of debate over his proposal to revoke the pension benefits of parliamentarians convicted of specific serious offences related to their activities in public office.

Currently at report stage, the bill was initially drafted to include a wider scope of criminal conduct, but had its scope significantly narrowed by amendments put forward by the government at committee with the full support of its sponsor.

Once that debate wraps up, New Democrat MP Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe is expected to rise on a point of privilege over what she contends was a deliberate attempt by the office of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to interfere with the department's efforts to reply to her written parliamentary query on visa applications.

Before all that gets underway, however, New Democrat finance critics Nathan Cullen and Guy Caron hit the Commons Foyer to give reporters a preview of the motion they intend to bring forward on the first Opposition Day of the new sitting, which has yet to be scheduled.

Currently on notice, that motion would call on the government to "immediately present an Economic and Fiscal Update to Parliament outlining the state of the nation’s finances in light of the unstable economic situation," and come up with a budget that "addresses the economic challenges facing the middle class by creating more good-quality full-time jobs, and by encouraging economic diversification."

The New Democrats are also expected to call on the speaker to hold an emergency debate on Canada's ongoing mission in Iraq in the wake of last week's revelations that some special operations forces have come under fire while training Iraqi soldiers.

PM in St. Albert for RCMP funeral

Also making themselves available to the media this morning:

- Government House Leader Peter Van Loan and Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel provide a "brief statement" on the upcoming sitting.

- Bloc Quebecois Leader Mario Beaulieu joins MP Louis Plamandon to discuss his party's priorities.

Outside the Chamber, meanwhile, the House subcommittee charged with coming up with a new code of conduct for MPs in the wake of last fall's wave of harassment allegations holds a mid-morning closed-door meeting to discuss "committee business".

Later this evening, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is slated to speak to Ottawa-area Liberals during an evening rally at the Sala San Marco Banquet Hall, which is located deep within the electoral territory currently held by Ottawa – Centre New Democrat MP Paul Dewar.

Finally, neither Prime Minister Stephen Harper nor Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney will be in the House today, as they, along with "other members of caucus," will be attending the regimental funeral service for slain RCMP Constable David Wynn, which will take place this afternoon in St. Albert.

Mobile readers: Follow the Parliament Hill ticker here.