BREAKING - Anthony Rota has been re-elected as the Speaker in Parliament, resuming his work in the key role as MPs return to work in the House of Commons for the first time since June.
The Nipissing-Timiskaming MP has been the House Speaker since 2019, and was re-elected by MPs over six other candidates for the post, including former Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
“Now that we have a Speaker, it’s time to get back to work,” Mr. Rota told members.
Also on Monday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his party is engaged in “ongoing” discussions with the Liberals about fast-tracking legislation that both parties support, but warned that his party will strongly oppose the government’s plans to scale back COVID-19 benefits.
Mr. Singh made the comments to reporters on Monday as Members of Parliament returned to the House of Commons for the first time since June.
The first order of business was the election of the Speaker. The government will outline its policy priorities through a Throne Speech on Tuesday. The House is scheduled to sit for four weeks before recessing until Jan. 31.
The Sept. 20 federal election produced a Parliament with similar numbers in terms of party standings as what was in place prior to the campaign. The minority Liberal government will need the support of at least one other major party to win votes on spending and legislation in the House of Commons. In the previous Parliament, the NDP frequently voted with the Liberals to approve government measures.
“We’re open to looking at ways to speed up the passage of bills that we agree with,” said Mr. Singh, who described the discussions with the Liberals as “ongoing,” while also adding that no deal has been reached.
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VUONG TAKES SEAT IN PARLIAMENT - Kevin Vuong, a Toronto MP dumped by the Liberals for not disclosing a withdrawn sexual assault charge, says he believes people want to see him in Parliament and blamed political operatives and social media critics for wanting to see him fail. Mr. Vuong entered the House of Commons today to take his seat as an Independent MP. Story here.
GOVERNMENT PRESSED TO HELP TRAPPED AFGHANS - Opposition members of Parliament say they have heard heartbreaking stories from people trapped in Afghanistan and are urging the Liberal government to swiftly help those who have been left behind.
HYPERSONIC MISSILE LEAD HELD BY CHINA AND RUSSIA - China and Russia have surpassed the United States in the development of cutting-edge hypersonic missiles – regarded by some as first-strike weapons – and Beijing is on track to one day overtake the Americans in space technology, a senior U.S. general told the Halifax International Security Forum this past weekend. Story here.
SENATOR DIES AFTER TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 - Josée Forest-Niesing, a lawyer and Ontario senator, has died shortly after being hospitalized with COVID-19. She was 56. Story here.
CANADA’S FIRST TWO-SPIRIT MP - As he gets ready for Parliament’s return on Monday, Edmonton–Griesbach’s MP Blake Desjarlais spoke with The Globe about his upbringing, his role in the struggle for Métis rights and what he brings to the table in Ottawa. Story here.
KENNEY FACES UCP MEMBERS AT PARTY MEETING - There was not much in the way of loud, visible dissent during the annual general meeting of Alberta’s governing party – a relative win for its leader, Jason Kenney, and his supporters. But the United Conservative Party gathering this weekend wasn’t a definitive turnaround for Mr. Kenney, who entered Alberta politics five years ago as an unmitigated conservative star, and who is now the least popular premier in the country. Story here.
B.C. GOVERNMENT WARNED OF FLOOD RISK - Despite claims by British Columbia Premier John Horgan that there was no way to foresee the current flooding and mudslides in the province, the B.C. government had a shelf full of contemporary reports from experts, warning that such disasters were going to hit with greater frequency and bigger impact. B.C. Politics Reporter Justine Hunter reports here. Meanwhile, Andrea Woo reports here that a major breach in Abbotsford’s Sumas dike was successfully repaired this weekend, stopping the flow of water from the Sumas River into the prairie lake bottom and alleviating some concerns about further destruction.
TORY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS BATTERS PETITION - The Hill Times reports that, according to party president Rob Batherson, the Conservative Party’s national council will discuss Senator Denise Batters’ petition calling for an early review of Erin O’Toole’s leadership at a Dec. 10-12 meeting, if not before.
NANTEL TO RUN FOR PQ - The Parti Québécois says former NDP MP Pierre Nantel will run in a by-election in the Marie-Victorin riding in Longueuil, south of Montreal. Mr. Nantel previously held the seat of Longueuil – Saint-Hubert between 2011 and 2019 before being removed from the party. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
GARNEAU STICKING AROUND - Former astronaut Marc Garneau has been in cabinet since the current Liberal government was elected in 2015, first as transport minister and then foreign affairs minister. He was dropped from the cabinet named after the Liberals won a minority government in September. But the member for the Montreal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount said Sunday he is sticking around amid speculation he was up for a diplomatic appointment. “The 44th Canadian Parliament begins tomorrow. Just to be clear because many have inquired, I will not be retiring from political life. I will continue to serve the people of NDG–Westmount,” he said in a Tweet.
WANTED: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR DEFENCE MINISTER - Canada’s new Defence Minister will be getting a new director of communications. Todd Lane announced Friday that he was stepping down as director of communications for Defence Minister Anita Anand. According to Daniel Minden, Ms. Anand’s press secretary, Mr. Lane joined the office as a press secretary in March, 2019, and in January, 2020, became director of communications. “After several years at National Defence, Todd has decided to move to a new portfolio in the federal government,” he said in a statement. Mr. Minden added that no new communications director has been named yet.
NOVA SCOTIA PREMIER VISITS OTTAWA - Tim Houston made his first visit to Ottawa as Premier of Nova Scotia today, meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But Mr. Houston noted it was another personal milestone as well – during his opening remarks at his meeting with Mr. Trudeau, the Premier said the visit was also his first time in Ottawa ever. Among the issues Mr. Houston said he was keen to discuss were health care, housing and immigration.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister met with Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston on Parliament Hill, and later attended the election of the Speaker of the House of Commons.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
The Deputy Prime Minister attended the election of the Speaker of the House of Commons.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a news conference to discuss the return of Parliament.
No schedules released for other leaders, though they were in Parliament as it opened.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Erin O’Toole is safe, for now, as Conservative Leader, mostly because there’s little alternative: “Not only is there no obvious person available to replace Mr. O’Toole, there is no obvious idea, either, no stream of political thought that Mr. O’Toole rejects but that could take the party to victory. Economic conservatives are angry with Mr. O’Toole because he abandoned the traditional conservative commitment to cutting taxes and spending, while balancing the budget. Social conservatives are angry with Mr. O’Toole for backtracking on his commitment to loosen gun controls and for supporting, however reluctantly, vaccine mandates for MPs. But while deficits have reached frightening levels, austerity in these final months of the pandemic would do more harm than good. And to champion the rights of gun owners and vaccine refuseniks is to champion lost and unpopular causes.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the illness in the United States that Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal exposes: “The reality is that in certain states, armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. That’s why Mr. Rittenhouse’s acquittal was not only likely, but also legally just – even if, to casual observers, it might seem profoundly, morally unfair.”
Coleman Molnar (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on questioning whether to keep living in B.C. amid catastrophic weather events: “The optimism, that feeling of natural bounty that used to rise from the land here, has been tainted with the heaviness of potential danger. Now, when I gaze at the flowing rivers or lift my face to the falling rain, I’m filled not only with the sense of beauty and abundance, but with a fearful respect for this place’s destructive potential. As we continue our holding pattern at a friend’s condo in Vancouver and await the reopening of routes and the repopulation of Merritt, we once again count our blessings. Among B.C. homeowners and residents, we are lucky. Still, all this disaster so close to home makes me wonder: Might we be luckier somewhere else?”
Mireille Lalancette and Vincent Raynauld (Policy Options) on how Martin Francoeur’s successful bid for the riding of Trois-Rivières speaks to the importance of personalization in political life: “The process of putting an emphasis on the candidate during a campaign is known as personalization. This is not a new phenomenon. Individuals have always played an outsized role in politics. However, personalization has gained importance in political life in recent decades as political news coverage by media organizations and journalists has evolved, coupled with the central role played by identity-centric media platforms in the political process. At the same time, politicians have adapted their personal image-making and political messaging approach to the structure and format of dominant media channels.”
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