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Liberal and NDP MPs to show up for work at shuttered Parliament

Liberal and New Democrat MPs from across Canada will make a show of returning to work Monday even though the House of Commons has been shut down until March.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton both plan to hold events on Parliament Hill to highlight Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision over the Christmas holidays to prorogue Parliament.

The House of Commons was supposed to reconvene Monday following a scheduled six-week break but instead won't return until Mar. 3.

The opposition parties are hoping to ride the political momentum generated by weekend protests across the country that drew thousands of people angered by Harper's arbitrary shutdown.

New Democrats are adopting the language of labour unrest, claiming the Conservative government has "locked out" the country's elected representatives.

Liberals, meanwhile, are highlighting more than 100 detailed questions on the Commons order paper - many of them potentially embarrassing to the Harper government - that should have been answered this week but will remain under wraps until after a throne speech and budget are delivered in March.

The Bloc Quebecois, while also sharply critical of prorogation, does not plan to send its MPs back to Ottawa this week.

The NDP will hold a caucus meeting Monday on the Hill while the Liberals are staging a round table on jobs and the economy in a Commons committee room.

While the opposition parties are attempting to make a political point, they'll be fighting for media attention with a Conservative government that is involved in a number of public activities.

The prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon will be in Montreal for a key meeting Monday of international countries to begin planning the reconstruction of Haiti. And a half dozen other Conservative cabinet ministers have scheduled public events across Canada, but not in the capital.

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