Today in Politics and Podcast: BQ Split, Budget Debate, PM in QP

Today in Politics and Podcast: BQ Split, Budget Debate, PM in QP

UPDATED February 28, 2018 1:12pmET

BREAKING: Seven MPs have quit the Bloc Québécois caucus in a dispute with the party’s direction under leader Martine Ouellet.

Here’s Louis Plamondon, Dean of the House of Commons (French-language only):

Watch: MPs Discuss Caucus Departure

Watch: Martine Ouellet

Debate continues this afternoon on the budget motion: That the House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Official Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is expected to resume his speech in response to the budget — including the traditional opposition amendment to the budget motion. That’s likely to be followed by the NDP subamendment.

Budget 2018: CPAC’s Full Coverage

Watch more on what happens after the budget speech:

Before the budget debate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected in the House of Commons for Question Period at 2:15pm ET / 11:15am PT.

The continuing controversy over his India trip — and the presence of Jaspal Atwal at official events — may arise again thanks to a terse response from the Indian government about that country’s involvement in any invitation.

Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, posted this statement earlier today:

We have seen the recent exchange in the Parliament of Canada regarding two invitations issued to Jaspal Atwal by the Canadian High Commissioner, for functions hosted in honour of the Canadian Prime Minister in India.

Let me categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner’s reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.

Atwal was convicted of attempted murder for a 1986 assassination attempts against an Indian cabinet minister on Vancouver Island.

MPs also vote on last week’s NDP motion on the Phoenix pay system — one day after the budget pledged $431 million over six years to help fix continuing problems faced by federal employees, and to move towards a replacement for Phoenix.

Here’s Mark Sutcliffe with more in the Today in Politics podcast:

-Andrew Thomson