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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

Gun registry bombshell expected 

[PoliticsWatch Updated 1:35 p.m. May 12, 2006]

 

OTTAWA —  Auditor General Sheila Fraser is expected to make headlines next week when she releases a long-awaited follow-up report on the gun registry.  

The National Post reported this week on leaked details of Fraser's report that will be tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

According to the Post, the most troublesome aspect of Fraser's report will be that the previous government buried the ballooning costs of the program deep within reports.

When the program was launched in 1995 its costs were supposed to be $119 million. Some estimates in the media now place the costs between $1 billion and $2 billion.  

A large number of Conservative MPs have long opposed the gun registry and Fraser's report could provide them with the political ammunition needed to effectively kill the program. 

"Evidence that supports what we've long contended with respect to the firearm registry would be helpful to taxpayers in ending the waste," Conservative MP Jason Kenney said Friday. "We want to know where the waste is happening so we can identify it and eliminate it. I think everybody should support that including the opposition parties."

Meanwhile, the leak of details contained in Fraser's report has angered the auditor general. 

Kenney informed the House of Commons on Friday that the government is launching an investigation to determine who leaked details to the media. 

Also in the House next week, business will shut down on Thursday afternoon when Australian Prime Minister John Howard addresses Parliament. 

Howard will be the first foreign leader to address Parliament since the Conservatives were elected in January. 

The Conservatives reportedly modelled their successful election campaign on Howard's recent campaign. Brian Loughnane, a senior official of Howard's party, advised Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. 

In committee next week, expect some fireworks when Gwyn Morgan, the prime minister's controversial nominee as chair of the Public Appointments Commission, appears before the Government Operations and Estimates committee. 

The Globe and Mail reported Friday that some Tories are concerned the opposition MPs on the committee could use their majority to reject Morgan's appointment and embarrass the government. 

Morgan is an accomplished CEO and Tory fundraiser, but NDP and Liberal MPs are concerned about comments he made about gang violence, suggesting immigration policy could be a factor. 

MPs have also elected all of its committee chairs. 

The committee chairs are as follows.

Aboriginal Affairs                       Colin Mayes
Access to Information, Ethics Tom Wappel*
Agriculture                                  Gary Ritz
Heritage                                      Gary Schellenberger
Citizenship and Immigration   Norman Doyle
Environment                               Bob Mills
Finance                                       Brian Pallister
Fisheries                                    Gerald Keddy
Foreign Affairs                           Kevin Sorenson
Government Operations          Diane Marleau*
Health                                          Rob Merrifield
Human Resources                   Dean Allison
Industry                                        James Rajotte
International Trade                    Leon Benoit
Justice                                         Art Hanger
National Defence                      Rick Casson
Natural Resources                   Lee Richardson
Official Languages                   Guy Lauzon
Procedure and House Affairs Gary Goodyear
Public Accounts                         Shawn Murphy*
Public Safety                              Gary Breitkreuz
Status of Women                      Judy Sgro*
Transport                                    Merv Tweed
Veterans Affairs                         Rob Anders

*Opposition MP chairs committee

The Legislative Update is posted every Friday afternoon when the House is sitting. To stay informed on all the political events read PoliticsWatch's  Morning Briefing updated at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday to Friday and the Daily Agenda updated at 6:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.
  
______________

Here's what's happening in the House next week 

Monday: Continued debate on:
                 Bill C-13, the budget implementation bill,
                 Bill C-9, conditional sentencing, 
                 Bill C-10, mandatory minimum penalties.
 

Tuesday : Opposition Day
                   Auditor General Tables report on the gun registry

Thursday: Australian Prime Minister John Howard will address Parliament at 3 p.m. ET

____________________

Committee Highlights

Tuesday


> Gwyn Morgan, a CEO and Conservative party fundraiser who was recently named chair of the Public Appointments Commission, is expected to be grilled by opposition MPs when he appears before the government operations and estimates committee.

> Human Resources Minister Diane Finley appears before the human resources and social development committee.

> Justice Minister Vic Toews appears before the justice committee.

Thursday

> Public Works Minister Michael Fortier appears before the government operations and estimates committee.


> Full Schedule

____________________

Bills the Tories have tabled in this Parliament 

C-2 An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability

Status: Referred to committee April 27

This is better known the Federal Accountability Act, which a number of new measures and a massive list of amendments to current laws aimed at cleaning up government. The bill is the government's No. 1 priority and the Tories want it passed before the summer recess in June, but already some senators are threatening to hold up the bill because it creates a joint ethics commissioner for the House and Senate. 

C-3 An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels and making a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Referred to transport committee May 1

C-4 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-5 An Act respecting the establishment of the Public Health Agency of Canada and amending certain Acts

Status: Referred to health committee May 8

C-6 An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Second reading May 5

C-7 An Act to amend the National Defence Act

Status: Introduced April 27

C-8 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2007

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-9 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentence of imprisonment)

Status: Introduced May 4

C-10 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Introduced May 4

C-11 An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Introduced May 4

C-12 An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts

Status: Introduced May 8

C-13 An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006

Status: Second reading May 12

This is the budget implementation bill. 

: Related Links

> Read last week's Legislative Update
> Harper's Parliamentary agenda 

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