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Economy job No. 1 when Parliament resumes June 2, Tories say

Government House Leader John Baird speaks to reporters in Ottawa on May 16, 2011.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The daily business of the federal government will resume on Thursday, June 2 with the election of a new Speaker of the House of Commons followed by a Speech from the Throne the next day.

Conservative House Leader John Baird told a news conference on Monday afternoon that it is time for the doors of Parliament to open.

"In choosing to elect a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government and granting us a clear mandate to govern for the next four years, Canadians said resoundingly they want parliamentarians to focus on the priorities of Canadian families," Mr. Baird said.

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"They are keeping taxes low, creating jobs, securing our economic recovery and laying the foundation for long-term prosperity."

Mr. Baird said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will quickly reintroduce the budget that was rejected by the House of Commons in March when the Tories were still held to a minority.

Parliament normally sits until late June but, given the amount of working time that was lost during the election campaign, Mr. Baird said the government will consult with the opposition parties to determine when the summer break will begin.

The "very different" majority government creates opportunities for "interesting times and good debates" as well as stability because the government can now look ahead four years, he said.

"I hope we will be able to change the tone and have a more productive working environment," Mr. Baird said. "I think a lot of people have suggested that and we will see how it goes."

The election of the Speaker to replace Peter Milliken, who retired before the vote, will be done by secret ballot, as per tradition, he said. There are a number of Conservatives who have expressed interest in the job.

"I wish them well," Mr. Baird said. "I do fear that they've got awfully big shoes to fill with Peter's retirement."

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised during the campaign that a number of crime bills that died when the election was called would be repackaged and introduced as one piece of legislation. Mr. Baird said that would happen within 100 sitting days - but that means it may not happen until the fall.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose party now forms the Official Opposition, took the microphone when Mr. Baird finished speaking to say that the millions of Canadians who voted for his party have sent a clear signal that they believe Ottawa is broken.

"We are very pleased that the government has announced they are recalling Parliament," Mr. Angus said. "We have to get down to business. We have many areas where we don't necessarily agree with the Conservative party but we are willing to work with them."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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