POLITICS

John Baird to announce resignation from cabinet this morning

02/03/2015 06:20 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT
While the news may have leaked out on Monday night, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is expected to rise in the House this morning to formally announce his resignation from cabinet — and, ultimately, exit the federal political stage entirely, as he doesn't intend to stand for re-election.

That will likely happen shortly after 10am, and may or may not be followed by tributes from his Commons colleagues, depending on exactly how the speaker decides to proceed.

(In some cases — particularly when an MP isn't stepping down from his seat, as appears to the case here, the traditional send-off speeches take place a few days later, in order to accommodate the schedules of party leaders and others who would likely want to take part.)

Once that bit of unexpected parliamentary excitement wraps up, MPs will turn their attention to the government's bid to tighten up the laws on absentee voting by imposing new restrictions and requirements on expatriate Canadians who want to cast their ballots from afar.

Later tonight, the Commons will host back-to-back debates on two Conservative backbencher-initiated bills that appear virtually assured of passage, at least through the House: John Williamson's bid to strip pension benefits from parliamentarians convicted of serious offences stemming directly from their time in public office — but not, despite the best efforts of the NDP, those committed under the Canada Elections Act — and Michael Chong's proposal to set up a voluntary system that would rebalance the power structure between caucus and its leader.

Outside the Chamber:

The Dignity for All coalition — which includes Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice — deliver their "long-awaited federal anti-poverty plan" to the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus before heading to the Centre Block press theatre to issue their call on Parliament to take action.

On the committee front:

- Muslim Canadian Congress founder Tariq Fatah shares his thoughts on Canada's ongoing efforts in Iraq with the Foreign Affairs committee, which will also hear from University of Western Ontario professor Salim Mansur and Sherbrooke professor Sami Aoun before switching to an hour-long video briefing from former Iraqi parliamentarian Ayad Jamalaldeen.

- Meanwhile, Public Safety begins — and likely finishes — clause-by-clause consideration of a bill that will, if it works as intended, crack down on drug use within federal correctional facilities by cancelling parole if an inmate tests positive for drug use in a urinalysis — or even if he or she refuses to submit to such a test.

- Over at Status of Women, legendary pseudonymous litigant and activist Jane Doe of Jane Doe v. the Toronto Police Force testifies on "promising practices to prevent violence against women" alongside Plan International President Rosemary McCarney and White Ribbon Campaign director Todd Minerson.

- Also this afternoon: Health hears from CropLife Canada and Pulse Canada as it kicks off a statutory review of the Pest Control Products Act, and Procedure and House Affairs goes behind closed doors to work on a report on NDP MP Yvon Godin's privilege complaint, which was triggered by RCMP refusing him access to Parliament Hill.

Finally, Minister of State for Consular Affairs Lynne Yelich makes an appearance at Humber College, where she will be front and centre at the launch of a new photo exhibit on Canada's efforts within the UN World Food Programme.

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