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Today on the Hill: top court rules on Harkat

Today on the Hill: top court rules on Harkat Mohamed Harkat is shown arriving at the Supreme Court of Canada Thursday October 10, 2013 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Mohamed Harkat will hear today whether the Supreme Court of Canada considers the government's controversial security certificate system constitutional.

The high court will rule on whether the certificate regime can be used to remove non-citizens suspected of involvement in extremism or espionage.

Harkat is an Algerian refugee who was taken into custody in late 2002, accused of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent.

The federal government issued a revised security certificate in his case in 2008 after the secretive process was struck down by the courts and then overhauled to make it more fair.

The Supreme Court will rule whether those reforms went far enough.

Other events happening on and around Parliament Hill include:

— A conference on the future of competitiveness in North America will hear from International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Perrin Beatty and Tom Donohue of the Canadian and U.S. Chambers of Commerce, along with a host of other speakers;

— The debate over assisted suicide continues as the Senate Liberal caucus holds an open forum to discuss end-of-life choices. Speakers include wheelchair-bound Conservative MP Steven Fletcher, Dr. Derryck Smith of Dying with Dignity and Rick Firth with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association;

— International Development Minister Christian Paradis will address the 2014 Joint Annual Conference of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation;

— B.C. MP James Lunney, a medical doctor, has planned a news conference to talk about C. difficile remedies approved by Health Canada agencies in the past two years;

— Multiculturalism Minister Tim Uppal will host National Apraxia Awareness Day with parents of children with the motor speech disorder;

— And while aboriginal communities have had to deal with everything from flooding to polluted drinking water to missing women and girls, the Canadian Dental Association is meeting with MPs and senators to remind them that First Nation and Inuit Canadians also need better dental care and improved oral health.

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