“Well, it's allllright, everything'll work out fine. “Well, it's allllright, we're going to the end of the line.” The Conservative caucus is in a very Travelling Wilburys kind of mood these days. Leader ERIN O’TOOLE is expected to face a vote of confidence in his weekly caucus meeting today, with almost a third of the 119 Conservative MPs calling (figuratively) for his head, according to The Globe and Mail. One imagines that long-serving Liberal MPs have a bit more skip in their step today. That’s what winning elections gets you: a caucus that stays relatively united even when its leader and his inner circle shoot themselves in the foot, as we saw in 2016 (the Aga Khan controversy), 2018 (the India trip), 2019 (SNC-Lavalin, Blackface), 2020 (We Charity), and 2021 (Tofino). Now, it’s the opposition Conservatives who are committing ritual hara-kiri in front of the nation: tying themselves to the anti-vaxxers raiding Ottawa’s downtown, being photobombed by Nazi flags, and attempting to give their leader the boot. Or, maybe the Tory rebels know what they’re doing: ripping the Band-aid off now, with the next election likely far in the distance. The Conservatives and Liberals were effectively deadlocked at about 30 per cent popular support in the latest Nanos poll, taken January 28. Read into that what you will. Pre-budget consultations open Better late than never. The government officially launched its budget 2022 public consultation yesterday. Members of the public who visit the consultation website have the choice of completing a survey, or uploading a document that explains their views on how the government should structure the spring budget. The consultation ends on Feb. 25, so odds are pretty good the budget will come in mid-March or later this year. Chrystia Freeland's Finance Department is now taking public suggestions for the spring budget. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade The final budget is put together by the Finance Department with significant input from the PMO. Cabinet ministers and department heads also lobby inside government for their priorities, and lobbyists will have been chasing political staffers for months now to plug the interests of their clients or member organizations. MPs on the House Finance Committee also hold their own pre-budget consultation, inviting experts and lobby groups to weigh in on how the government should spend any extra cash it scrapes together (i.e. borrows) this spring, and Liberal MPs will use caucus meetings to remind ministers of the needs of their ridings. Nonetheless, PTM has faith that someone plugging away in the depths of the James Michael Flaherty Building will pour over every suggestion and survey submitted by the public at large. “Wait!”—he or she might cry, dashing upstairs to the C-suite offices on the eve of the 25th—“Craig, from Waterloo, might be onto something here!” You never know. In Parliament The Liberals have gotten the legislative ball rolling quicker than usual upon their return following the winter break. The government introduced legislation to fast-track the dispersal of rapid COVID-19 tests to the provinces on Monday, and gave notice yesterday of their bill to bring streaming services under the Broadcasting Act. We’ll soon find out whether, or how, they addressed the criticisms that erupted when a version of that Broadcasting Act legislation in the last Parliament was criticized for classifying some of Canadians’ social media posts as content that falls under government regulations. (Need a refresher? Look here.) Natural Resources Minister JONATHAN WILKINSON is appearing before the House Natural Resources Committee today at 3:30 p.m. Ottawa time as part of its study of the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, a program that subsidizes oil and gas companies that want to retrofit their equipment to reduce emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Representatives from Canada’s vehicle manufacturers and trade unions are testifying before the House International Trade Committee, also at 3:30 p.m., as part of its study of the Canada-U.S. trading relationship, which, as usual, is being strained by various protectionist policies by our southern neighbour. The House National Defence Committee is also meeting from 3:30 to 5:30 to hear from witnesses including DAVID MULRONEY, a former Canadian ambassador to China, and DAVID PERRY, a well-known military analyst and president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, as part of its study of military threats facing Canada, and our Armed Forces’ readiness to meet them. Macklem to face the Senate The Senate won’t properly return to action until next week, but some of its committees are getting busy already. Bank of Canada Governor TIFF MACKLEM and Senior Deputy Governor CAROLYN ROGERS will testify before the Senate Banking Committee at 3 p.m. to discuss the BoC’s January 2022 Monetary Policy Report, which outlined the central bank’s point of view on fighting inflation. Spoiler: the bank expects inflation “to decline relatively quickly to about three per cent by the end of 2022,” and then closer to the benchmark of two per cent in the following two years. If inflation is keeping you up at night, this might be a meeting worth watching (you can see it here, through the Senvu streaming site.) The Senate Banking Committee’s members have the chops to direct some meaty questions to Macklem and Rogers. To single out just a few: YUEN PAU WOO once worked as an economist in Singapore’s central bank; DIANE BELLEMARE and CLÉMENT GIGNAC had impressive careers as economists before joining the Senate; ELIZABETH MARSHALL served as the auditor general and as a senior finance department official in Newfoundland; and PAUL MASSICOTTE once served as the lead director on the Bank of Canada’s board. Woo told PTM yesterday that he’d like to hear whether Macklem still thinks Canada’s high rate of inflation is “transitory”, caused by supply chain jams and spiking energy prices, or more or a long-run phenomenon, as the United States’ central bankers have suggested. He also wants to know more about the BoC’s plans for its “bloated” balance sheet, and how it is going to put into practice its new secondary goal of supporting employment, which was added to the Bank’s mandate after some negotiating with Finance Minister CHRYSTIA FREELAND’s department. Count Woo among the sceptics who think that carefully-worded addition won’t do much to change how the BoC operates. Still, he wants to hear what Macklem and Rogers have to say about it. “If the bank says they’re going to focus on maximum sustainable employment, then the rest of us need to figure out what that means,” he said. What else is happening today? Environment Minister STEVEN GUILBEAULT and Tourism Minister RANDY BOISSONNAULT are holding a virtual press conference at 1 p.m. Ottawa time with Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief PETER POWDER to make an announcement about Alberta’s Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is making an announcement about conservation in Alberta today. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade Kitaskino Nuwenëné was established as a provincial park in northern Alberta in 2019. Just last month the Alberta government finalized a plan to expand the park. In case you missed it The government released its departmental results reports for 2020-21 yesterday. Departmental results reports—previously “departmental performance reports”—are sort of like what you’d get if you asked a student to write their own report card: hard-hitting scrutiny, they are not. But if you know what you’re looking for, the reports are full of facts, figures, and disclosures that shouldn’t be taken for granted: including how much was spent, how many people were employed, and which major projects were underway. They can also be a source of trivial details that absolutely could be taken for granted, or used for a geeky trivia night: How many cargo-ship stowaways were caught trying to sneak into Canada? Eleven, says the CBSA. How many kids were chosen for an adorable-sounding (but sadly, virtual) Junior Astronaut Summer Camp? Fifty-two, says the Canadian Space Agency. Which of these obscure government agencies—Polar Knowledge Canada, Invest in Canada Hub, National Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve, National Battlefields Commission—did Politics This Morning just make up? You got us, there’s no such thing as the National Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve—it’s actually a Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve, and in keeping with true Canadian spirit, it falls under provincial jurisdiction. In The Hill Times In today's issue of The Hill Times, MIKE LAPOINTE assesses the public's mood as we start year three of the pandemic. LAURA RYCKEWAERT checks in on the status of renovations to the Parliamentary precinct. NEIL MOSS has an interview with Russia's ambassador to Canada, and another with Israel's ambassador, as well as a story on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. JESSE CNOCKAERT has a story on the bio-technology sector. ALICE CHEN has a story on barriers to Parliamentarians with disabilities. And CHELSEA NASH has a story on what activists of social movements like Black Lives Matter and Idle No More are saying about the ongoing 'freedom' protest. Send your news tips and trivia stumpers to email@example.com.