This week, more than two months since the September federal election, the House of Commons is finally back in session.
The first order of business is always to elect a new Speaker, which is a democratic process voted on by all Members of Parliament. This year there were seven different candidates for Speaker before the MP from Nipissing—Timiskaming Ontario, Anthony Rota, was re-elected to this same role he held in the previous Parliament.
With the Speaker elected, the next order of business was the throne speech, that was, for the first time since her appointment as Governor General, read by Mary Simon in three different languages.
The title of this year’s throne speech was “Building a resilient economy” and contained many of the same promises the Liberals made in the recent election.
Over the next week in the House, there will be debate on the throne speech by both government and opposition MPs.
There are also some ongoing procedural debates occurring in Ottawa this week. How vaccination and medical exemptions are regulated within the House of Commons is one active topic of discussion. Another is the ongoing debate between an in-person Parliament and a hybrid Parliament, where MPs do not have to physically be in the House of Commons to participate in votes or debates.
The Liberal government is also expected to table bills it expects to be passed before the House rises in mid-December. When these bills are tabled, I will provide more information on them in future weekly reports.
Finally, this week, I have joined with other opposition MPs from British Columbia and have requested an emergency debate regarding the disastrous flooding situation in parts of British Columbia, including in the communities of Merritt and Princeton in my riding.
At the time of writing this report, I can announce the request for the emergency debate was granted and was to occur during the evening hours on Wednesday (Nov. 24).
I have been in regular contact with elected leaders and members of both Princeton and Merritt and have serious concerns that adequate levels of provincial and federal government resources can be delivered in the manner requested and as needed.
This will be a topic I will raise both provincially and federally to ensure communities such as Merritt and Princeton receive the support they need.
My question this week relates to the hybrid versus in-person parliament.
This week’s question is:
Is it your preference that MPs show up to work in Ottawa to participate in votes and debate or are you supportive of the hybrid model, where debate and votes can occur with MPs back in their home riding?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.