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Today on the Hill: The long road home

Today on the Hill: The long road homeA person walks through the halls of the centre block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in a 2010 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - The official parliamentary schedule has MPs heading back to their ridings for the summer break some time Friday, but they could skip town today — if the Opposition New Democrats let them.

The Conservatives have had MPs sitting until midnight every night for several weeks to push legislation through the House of Commons.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, however, has been threatening to force the House to stay put until the bitter end.

Either way, Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't be in the Commons today. He's speaking at an event in Charlottetown.

Also today, the parliamentary budget officer will issue a report on how much money the federal government is expected to transfers to the provinces and territories in the current fiscal year. It will say Ottawa has shortchanged Ontario to the tune of $1.2 billion, sources say.

Some other events scheduled to take place in and around Ottawa today:

— Liberal MP Joyce Murray provides a briefing on her private member's bill on the oversight of one of Canada's spy agencies, the Communications Security Establishment, also known as CSEC;

— The Supreme Court of Canada will render its decision in the leave application between Deverett Professional Corp. and Canpages Inc. in a breach of contract and negligence case;

— The Senate foreign affairs committee hears from NATO officials on security conditions and economic developments in the Asia-Pacific region, and the implications for Canadian policy and interests in the region;

— The Centre for International Policy Studies presents a talk on the future of Afghanistan;

— The Coalition in Ottawa for Refugees holds a rally to mark World Refugee Week;

— Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers hold a conference to look at Canada Post's cutbacks from a human rights perspective;

— Statistics Canada releases the national balance sheet and financial flow accounts for the first-quarter and the employment insurance figures for April;

— And Sports Minister Bal Gosal will help to unveil a stamp dedicated to the Canadian Football League's new Ottawa Redblacks franchise.

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