Politics preview: Alberta election, Harper in Netherlands, Ont. PC leadership vote

A lot could change this week in Canadian politics.

All eyes will be on Alberta as it heads to the polls in an election that could end a 43-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in the western province.

Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the week ahead in Canadian politics.

Monday

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will continue his trip to the Netherlands on Monday. He is visiting for the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland. Harper’s trip comes after a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday, where he announced $139 million for Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon to help the region deal with the overwhelming refugee crisis triggered by the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. He also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The trial of suspended senator Mike Duffy resumes in Ottawa after a two-day break last week to prepare for a voir dire, which is essentially a mini-trial within the main trial.

This week, lawyers will argue over the admissibility of a 2010 Senate report based on an audit of senators’ offices expenditures and service contracts. While Duffy’s lawyer wishes to possibly use the report to prove the Senate’s rules were confusing, the Crown wants the document to be treated as opinion, not fact. The distinction between viewing the report as fact and opinion will weigh on the judge’s decision on its use as evidence.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino will visit Canada this week, but the exact date of his arrival is not known. On Monday, three Filipino groups will hold a press conference in Ottawa expressing their disapproval of Aquino’s visit to Canada. They will speak about the “dismal economic, political and human rights record” of the Aquino regime and highlight the “devastating” impact of its policies on Filipinos at home and abroad.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver will deliver a post-budget speech at an event hosted by the Canadian Club of Toronto Monday afternoon.

And in Quebec, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair will address the Sept-Iles Chamber of Commerce and outline his party’s economic plan to help create middle-class jobs. He will address media after the press conference.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson will appear before the House of Commons Public Accounts committee on Monday afternoon to take questions on the government’s main estimates for the fiscal year ahead.

Tuesday

Albertans head to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new provincial government, and polls indicate that voters may be ready to end the PC reign. Polls suggest Premier Jim Prentice and his PCs are in a tight three-way race with the NDP, led by Rachel Notley, and the Wildrose Party, led by former federal Conservative MP Brian Jean. With such a close race, the possibility of a minority government has dominated discussions on the campaign trail in recent days.

Friday

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland, a Second World War campaign that claimed more than 7,600 Canadian lives. A Canadian government delegation will host a number of commemorative events in the Netherlands this week, including visits to war cemeteries and participation in parades. The government will pay up to $2,000 in travel assistance for eligible veterans attending the ceremonies in the Netherlands.

Saturday

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party will choose a new leader this week. The choice will ultimately be between Ontario MPP Christine Elliott – also the widow of the late former finance minister Jim Flaherty – and Conservative MP Patrick Brown. More than 76,000 Tories are eligible to vote on Sunday and Thursday, with the winner being announced Saturday in Toronto.

 

Source: CTV News

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