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Today on the Hill: Mayrand talks elections

Today on the Hill: Mayrand talks electionsChief electoral officer Marc Mayrand arrives at the Commons house affairs committee in Ottawa on Tuesday May 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand could add today to the controversy around the government's Fair Elections Act.

Mayrand will appear at the Commons house affairs committee that's debating Bill C-23, and senior Elections Canada legal officials will hold a technical briefing to fill in the blanks.

Critics warn the legislation will undermine Mayrand's powers and prevent hundreds of thousands of Canadians from exercising their right to vote.

The New Democrats announced Wednesday they will hold consultations across the country on the bill, which they have dubbed the Unfair Elections Act.

Other events around Ottawa today include:

— Prime Minister Stephen Harper will speak at an awards ceremony for outstanding public servants, being held at Rideau Hall.

— Royal Canadian Legion Dominion president Gordon Moore will appear at the Commons veterans affairs committee as part of a statutory review of the enhanced Veterans Charter Act.

— We'll get a glimpse of things to come in the housing sector as Statistics Canada releases building permit figures for January.

— Government spending will go under the microscope as several cabinet ministers appear at various committees looking at both the main and supplementary spending estimates. Ministers appearing include Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

— And former NHL player and mental-health advocate Theo Fleury visits Algonquin College in support of Mental Health Week.

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