ITQ Committee Lookahead Thingy

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just one day left until break week! What on earth am I going to do with myself for a whole week without committees to liveblog? At least it’s a short one; thank you, Queen Victoria, for having the good sense to be born during patio season.

The orders of the day over at Government Operations and Estimates — maintenance of federal properties (buildings and parks) don’t sound like the sort of stuff of which lively committee meetings are made, but that’s before you notice that the lead witness is Auditor General Sheila Fraser, and remember that just a week ago, she was waggling her finger at the federal government over the state of disrepair that has befallen various official residences – all of them, really, but most notably Rideau Hall and 24 Sussex Drive, the homes of the Governor General and Prime Minister, respectively. She’ll probably have more to say about that during today’s meeting, which will put the Conservatives in an awkward position, as the current occupants of 24 Sussex don’t seem to be all that keen on her suggestion that they pack up the kitties and move out for a year to allow the necessary repair work to be done.

The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board goes under the microscope over at Human Resources, which will hear from both the big and the (ostensibly, at least) small business lobbies today, courtesy of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. (Fans of the habitually irascible and endlessly entertaining Tom D’Aquino will note, with disappointment, that he isn’t on the witness list; instead, CCCE will be represented by David Stewart-Patterson. Boo, CCCE!)

At least the equally entertaining, and frequently enlightening Michael Geist is on the docket at Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy, where he will discuss the Privacy Act, which the committee is hankering to reform.

Meanwhile, over at Official Languages, study of the Canada-Community agreements rolls on, which forces ITQ to admit that she doesn’t have a clue what that actually means, and feels vaguely guilty for neglecting what could very well be an important debate over linguistic policy in Canada. (As penance, she is planning to attend – and liveblog – the Library of Parliament committee this afternoon. No, really. Really.)

What else is on the agenda? Oh, Canadian science and technology – that’s at the Industry committee, of course, and will feature an appearance by the intriguingly-named-until-you-realize-the-context National Angel Organization. (We always thought it was fools who rush in where angels fear to tread. Someone should ask about that.) Foreign Affairs goes in camera to discuss their current work in progress; a report on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan; over at Veterans’ Affairs, the committee looks at how Canadian soldiers are treated after a war is over, with a study of the comparative veterans’ benefits offered by various other countries.

Finally, on today’s ministerial main estimates committee circuit: Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Health Minister Tony Clement.