Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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PM Harper keeps Fantino in Cabinet because Tories can't afford to lose seats in GTA, say critics

In mini shuffle, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints Erin O'Toole as new Veterans Affairs minister and demotes Julian Fantino to associate minister of National Defence.

Too soon to judge how ‘stunning’ NDP MP Thibeault defection to provincial Liberals will play out

In a stunning move, NDP MP Glenn Thibeault quit the federal caucus and announced he was joining Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s party. Political observers say it’s too early to read too much into it, but say NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s biggest challenge is to convince his caucus he can win the next election.

Prime Minister Harper does a few year-end media interviews, but still no major National Press Theatre year-end press conference

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has given his normal sprinkling of year-end Parliamentary Press Gallery interviews, but he has had only one news conference in the National Press Theatre since first winning power in 2006 and a comparison of G8 ranks shows Mr. Harper is least likely of the major leaders to open up to journalists who cover them and their governments on a daily basis.

All-Party Women’s Caucus tells Speaker Scheer they’re ‘happy to help’ inform on Hill sexual harassment policies

A handful of MPs on the All-Party Women’s Caucus met with House Speaker Andrew Scheer Monday morning to discuss how they can help to establish a harassment policy as both the Commons Board of Internal Economy and a Subcommittee of Procedure and House Affairs begin work on the explosive issue.

Suspended Senators Duffy, Wallin, Harb repay $465,000

Three of the four Senators who were suspended last year for filing false expense and living allowance claims have repaid a total of $465,000 over the past year-and-a-half, including interest on the money they wrongly received, public accounts and Senate records show.

Two unnamed NDP MPs decline to lodge formal complaints of ‘serious personal misconduct’ against Liberal MPs Pacetti and Andrews

Two female NDP MPs who allege serious personal misconduct on the part of two male Liberal MPs have declined to lodge formal complaints with the powerful House of Commons Board of Internal Economy, a government MP spokesman for the board said Tuesday.

Angry vets mount ‘Anyone But Conservatives’ campaign for 2015 election

Canadian veterans, angry over the government’s closure of nine regional veteran support offices in the past year as the federal Conservatives strove to balance the budget, are mounting an ‘Anyone But Conservative’ campaign to elect another party to government in 2015.

Hill shooter’s unreleased video could be key to defining him as a ‘terrorist’

Video evidence that the RCMP has not made public appears to be a key to deciding whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper was justified on Wednesday to describe the shooting death of a National War Memorial honour guard and the killer’s subsequent attack on Parliament Hill as acts of terrorism.

House Speaker won't talk about Hill security after gunman last week shot dead in Centre Block

House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has clamped down on information about security details for the Parliamentary Precinct after media scrutiny heightened following a barrage of gunfire that erupted in Centre Block last week when a gunman breached three lines in the security perimeter protecting MPs before being shot dead by security and RCMP officers.

RCMP release dramatic video footage of gunman behind Ottawa shootings

The official statement by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, delivered Thursday afternoon:

BREAKING: RCMP calls Parliament Hill, War Memorial shootings 'terrorist attack'

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says RCMP has identified 'persuasive evidence that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's attack was driven by ideological and political motives.'

NDP MP Godin claims his privileges breached after RCMP officer stopped him last month on the Hill

But RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said NDP MP Yvon Godin was delayed for no more than 70 seconds and that the RCMP officer escorted Mr. Godin through the entrance once the motorcade had passed.

Fall fiscal announcements signal Conservatives’ unofficial campaign kickoff

New lobbying code lays out conflict over political activities, could lead to campaign ‘chill’

Lobbyists who campaign for a political candidate who later goes on to become a Cabinet minister could end up being prohibited not only from lobbying the minister but the entire department.

Police officer likely to win next month’s Yellowhead byelection, to join growing number of former cops in Conservative caucus

A retired Mountie who is virtually guaranteed to win the federal byelection next month in Alberta will become the ninth former or serving police officer elected to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s caucus—nearly half of all the police officers elected to Parliament since Confederation in 1867.

Canadian airstrikes in Iraq important as ‘a reliable ally’ but won’t increase influence

Liberals support troops not Iraq mission, Conservatives say Libs ‘can’t have it both ways’

Liberal MPs disclosed Tuesday the party intends to support the Canadian bombing mission against radical Islamic terrorists in Iraq once the government majority in the Commons passes a motion the Liberals have staunchly opposed supporting the new combat role for Canadian troops.

Conservative Party uses Trudeau’s ‘juvenile’ CF-18 remark to fundraise, ‘whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are’

The Conservative Party has launched a fundraising blitz attacking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for being on the ‘wrong side of history’ over his stand that Canada should be helping refugees in Iraq rather than sending Canadian warplanes to take part in U.S. led bombing of radical Islamic terrorists.

Conservative Senators expected to oppose Liberal motion calling on AG to audit MPs’ expenses

The Conservative majority in the Senate has signalled it will oppose a Liberal motion urging the House of Commons to invite Auditor General Michael Ferguson to conduct a sweeping audit of Commons spending, including MP expenses, in the same way the Senate called in Mr. Ferguson for an audit of its own expenses.

Climate change affecting Canada’s northern forests ‘faster than the global average,’ says government report

One day after a world conference on climate change in New York City last week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to attend, his Cabinet minister for natural resources quietly tabled a report providing detailed background on the effect climate change is wreaking on Canada’s forest, and fingering the oil and gas industry as the only growing source of deforestation in the country.


Parliamentary Calendar
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
A preview of Parliamentary precinct renos March 30, 2015

Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist's rendering of what the outside of the Sir John A. Macdonald building will look like when construction is complete. A new addition has been built, connected to the main heritage space by a glass atrium. Public Works says work wraps up this month, aside from a few finishing touches.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A cut-away view at the glass-walled atrium that will connect the historic Sir John A. Macdonald building space, formerly the Old Bank of Montreal building, to its annex addition.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist's rendering of the interior of the Sir John A. Macdonald building's historic space, which used to house bank tellers and will soon host special Parliamentary events.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A look at the multi-purpose room space that will be located in the new addition to the Sir John A. Macdonald building.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A digital overhead shot of the West Block as it will look after construction. The building’s courtyard is topped by a glass-domed roof.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
The temporary House Chamber will be in an infill inside West Block’s courtyard, but MPs will be able to access the space without stepping outside, as the entire courtyard will be topped with a glass-domed roof.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist’s rendering of the inside of the temporary House Chamber to be located in West Block’s courtyard.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A rendering of a lobby area to be located near the West Block’s temporary House Chamber.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
The House of Commons is set to add 30 new MPs after this year's election, meaning 30 new seats are needed in the Chamber. Pictured is a prototype of the new seating arrangement, which will be installed in the current Chamber after this year's election. West Block's temporary House Chamber will accommodate all 338 MPs.
Photograph by Public Works
A prototype of the new seating arrangement was set up in the House Chamber last year for some MPs to test out. Having theatre-style seats in the back two rows of the Chamber will allow 30 more MPs to sit in the current House Chamber.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A blueprint of plans for the West Block, including the temporary House Chamber, which will be converted to committee space when renovations to Centre Block are complete. Workers have to dig down about two storeys to build up a foundation to support this new addition.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
West Block will have fully renovated committee rooms once complete, similar in appearance to this rendering.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
A view of part of the Wellington Building’s lobby, set to include a green wall.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An artist’s drawing of a common space to be located in the Wellington Building.
Photograph courtesy of Public Works
An example of what the Wellington Building’s committee rooms will look like, of which there will be 10 total.