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Liberals back on Jan. 25; budget officer to release three reports

The National Post reports that, “Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has asked his party’s MPs and senators to return to work in Ottawa later this month to draw attention to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s shutdown of Parliament. The Liberal caucus will return to work on Jan. 25, the date when Parliament was supposed to resume…”

“Toronto Liberal MP Bryon Wilfert said MPs returning to Ottawa would be a ‘symbolic’ gesture protesting Harper’s snubbing of Parliament because there would be no question period and all committees were disbanded when Parliament was prorogued.”

“Wilfert is vice-chair of the Commons committee studying the Afghan detainees issue. He has been in touch with the New Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois and both are interested in holding quasi committee hearings. Since the committee was officially struck down when Parliament was prorogued, the hearings would be like an ‘information forum’ where witnesses would not have parliamentary immunity.”

“It’s unlikely MPs could sustain the faux Parliament until March 3rd, but Wilfert said it has not been decided yet how long MPs would be back in Ottawa.”

The Globe and Mail also reports today that, “Prorogation will not silence Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, who plans to release three substantive reports in the run-up to the March budget.”

“Through a quirk – or, more accurately – complete silence in the rules when it comes to the conduct of his fledgling office during a prorogation, Mr. Page says nothing stops him from continuing with his work.”

“Mr. Page (will) post his reports on-line. He said his office will also provide background briefings to interested MPs, members of the media and government officials when he releases his next report on the topic of a structural deficit (as early as next week).”

The National Post also reports that, “A Facebook group called Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament has attracted more than 45,000 members” over the past six days.

That Facebook page asks, “What can we do about (prorogation)? Ask your MP to attend parliament anyway.” They then provide a draft letter with this message to send to your MP.

Under the ‘Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament’ umbrella, rallies are now being planned in 29 communities across Canada for Saturday January 23 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

The National Post article is at