By Chris Hannay (@channay)
The House of Commons sits again tomorrow, for the first time in nearly six months. Here's how the first days will unfold.
Today: Liberal MPs meet for a national caucus meeting. One possible subject of discussion: who the parliamentary secretaries – sort of junior ministers – will be.
Thursday: The House returns at 1 p.m. (ET). After some ceremonial proceedings, the most important item of the first day is for the members of Parliament to elect a new Speaker of the House. Four MPs have so far expressed interest in running: Nova Scotia Liberal Geoff Regan, Quebec Liberal Denis Paradis, Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Scott Simms, and Ontario MPs Yasmin Ratansi (Liberal) and Bruce Stanton (Conservative).
This year features a slight change in how the Speaker is elected. In past years, there were multiple rounds of secret ballots. This time, MPs will vote only once, with a ranked ballot. This vote will go much faster than previous Speaker elections, though some parliamentary watchers may miss the drama. Five House of Commons staff will count the ballots in secret, then destroy them and announce the winner.
Friday: The Speech from the Throne, laying out the Liberal government's first legislative priorities, will be read by Governor-General David Johnston. The timing of this speech has not yet been announced, but will likely fall in the afternoon. Various other appointments will be made, including which MPs will be on the Board of Internal Economy, a body that governs House administration.
Next week: Monday will feature the first Question Period of the new Parliament. MPs are expected to vote on the cost of settling Syrian refugees next week, and will likely need to pass a motion to adjust income taxes in line with Liberal campaign promises. The Conservatives will likely get one opposition day. And the House will rise by Friday and not return until Jan. 25, 2016.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> Canada could be welcoming as many as 50,000 refugees to the country by the end of next year.
> And other countries are looking to see how Canada resettles 25,000 Syrian refugees in the next few months, as a potential model for others to follow.
> Electoral reform is popular with Canadians, and proportional representation is the preferred alternative, according to a new poll. (A previous analysis for subscribers by Paul Fairie found the Liberals would win more seats under ranked ballots, but fewer under proportional representation.)
> High-profile Ottawa lobbyist Jacquie LaRocque has left a management position at Ensight to start her own company (for subscribers).
> Senate Speaker Leo Housakos was the source of leaks of an auditor-general's report into senators' expenses, sources tell Huffington Post Canada.
Did you know you can share information with Globe journalists with much more security and anonymity than traditional means? Read more about SecureDrop and encrypted communication.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Stephen Harper made sure that social conservatives never came close to holding the levers of power when he was leader. If they grasp those levers now and foist a leader on the party who would limit a woman's right to an abortion, or who advocates the return of capital punishment, then the Conservative Party could remain in the wilderness for a very long time."
– John Ibbitson (for subscribers) on the future of the Conservatives.
Cindy Blackstock (Globe and Mail): "When an inquiry [into missing and murdered indigenous women] gets under way and explores how these tragedies can be prevented, it should turn its attention to the long-standing gaps in children's services in First Nation communities."
Julie Smyth (Globe and Mail): "If [the Trudeaus] object to rich people getting government handouts to raise their children, why do they think the public should pay for two nannies?"
Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "Renewables are growing in importance in some parts of the world, but they are far, far from replacing fossil fuels."(for subscribers)
Tim Harper (Toronto Star): "[Saskatchewan Premier Brad] Wall's power as the voice of conservatives in this country cannot be denied."
Aaron Wherry (Maclean's): "The boy who had a nanny at 24 Sussex is now the man who employs a nanny... If that matters, it is mostly because of what Justin Trudeau, like Mulroney, said along the way to becoming Prime Minister."
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.
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