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Today on the Hill: Harper heads to Toronto for maternal, child health summit

OTTAWA - Far removed from Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will host a three-day international conference in Toronto on child and maternal health.

The gathering, which begins today, follows on a promise Harper made at the 2010 G8 summit to help improve health care for women and children in poor nations.

Canada has so far pledged to spend nearly $3 billion to combat the problem.

Almost three million newborns die each year after birth, although the number of deaths of mothers in childbirth and children under age five has been cut in half since 1990.

Here are some other events taking place today in and around the national capital:

— How much is your house worth now? What about three years ago? Statistics Canada will release numbers today on residential property values for 2011;

— Interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier is set to appear at the Senate Liberal caucus to discuss parliamentary oversight for Canada's intelligence services and national security organizations;

— Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will both appear separately at a Commons committee, along with officials from their departments, to discuss the government's main spending estimates for the current fiscal year;

— The Commons public accounts committee will hear from officials from Finance, the RCMP and National Defence as they discuss the Public Sector Pension Plans chapter of the auditor general's latest spring report;

— And Industry Minister James Moore appears at the Senate transport and communications committee, which is studying Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will later appear at the same committee to discuss the proposed New Bridge for the St. Lawrence Act.

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