OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – MPs head back to the House of Commons today after the winter break and there’s lots on the agenda.  Some of the things on the list include a belt-tightening budget, a new party leader, and a possible show-down over the government’s big crime bill.

All eyes will be on the fiscal plan.  The government is looking for cuts between $4 and $8 billion.  Joe Comartin with the NDP says from pensions to health care, we will feel the impact.

“For the average Canadian, it’s a reduction in both services available and certainly the quality of services available.”

However, Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan explains this isn’t about slashing services but rather about improving the system.  “What does the federal government do?  Are we efficient in the services we deliver?  Are we getting value for the money that is spent there?”

The opposition says thousands of jobs will be lost and vital services like old age security are on the chopping block.  During the spring session there may also have a standoff with the feds over the costs they face under the new omnibus crime bill.

The NDP will also be busy choosing a new opposition leader.  Eight candidates are battling for the job ahead of the party’s convention in March in Toronto.