ITQ Committee Lookahead Thingy for Monday, April 28, 2007

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley’s political security detail will be on high alert this afternoon, as she faces off against the Finance committee, where opposition members have a question or two about those totally-not-a-big-deal administrative changes to the country’s immigration policy that made an unexpected appearance in last month’s budget implementation bill.

In an example of scheduling serendipity, at the exact same time that Finley goes before Finance, over at Citizenship and Immigration, the committee is looking into immigration consultants, with the help of whatever departmental officials weren’t otherwise preoccupied by the minister’s appearanced, as well as the Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP.

Meanwhile, Environment has been upgraded from ‘critical’ to ‘serious’, or whatever the next worst stage is in med-speak (I admit it, I don’t actually watch Grey’s Anatomy, or any other hospital dramas, with the exception of House, and that’s only out of love for Hugh Laurie). There was an unexpected outburst of something awfully close to cooperation last time the committee got together: after weeks of filiblustering from the government, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen seemed to forge a truce of sorts between the Conservatives and everyone else over the Layton climate change bill.

This afternoon, they’ll spend half an hour putting the finishing touches on the somewhat paradoxical report to the House, which will explain why they were unable to actually produce a report on the bill, or make it through clause-by-clause consideration, and then move onto — uh oh, another opposition-backed bill; this time, to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Other highlights:

  • More Taser talk at Public Safety and National Security, courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, as well as Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer
  • International Trade continues to contemplate the prospect of free trade with Columbia, and how much of a factor human rights and the environment should be for Canadian negotiators
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development gets a recap of the National Aboriginal Women’s Summit
  • Members of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights once again sequester themselves for what has to be the most exhaustive consideration of a draft report in the history of parliamentary democracy. Who would have thought human rights in Cuba could be such a thorny issue?

Missing In Action:

Procedure and House Affairs — Patient Zero, really, as far as
that epidemic dysfunction that the Speaker frets could eventually
infect the parliamentary system as a whole, what with that six months
and counting filibuster instigated by the government against a proposal
to investigate allegations of election spending shenanigans by the
Conservatives during the last election. After opposition parties banded
together to oust former chair Gary Goodyear, and appoint his
Conservative colleague, Joe Preston to the job, despite his very
clearly (and somewhat plaintively) expressed wishes to the contrary,
the committee just stopped meeting a few weeks back. Given the latest
plot twists in the in and out scandal, however, it’s likely that the
Conservative contingent will be dragged back to the committee table
this week – possibly as early as tomorrow afternoon.

Justice — No meetings scheduled, no idea what’s going on in the
head of Runaway Chair Art Hanger. If committee members do manage to get together
this week – even if only to give Hanger a chance to stretch his legs – it will probably happen on Tuesday afternoon, since that’s
when they usually meet.

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