House of Commons.

AuthorChaplin, Andrew Bartholomew

This account covers events leading up to the First Session of the 43rd Parliament from October to December 2019 and the House's several sittings before rising for the holiday season on December 13.

General Election and Party Leadership

The 43rd general federal election, held on Monday, October 21, returned a deputation to the House of Commons in which no party held a majority of the seats. Justin Trudeau (Papineau) continued as Canada's 23rd prime minister, forming a minority Liberal government. Thirty-six ministers took their oaths at Rideau Hall on November 20.

The election's outcome meant that the House now has four recognized parties: the Liberal Party of Canada with 157 members, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) with 121, the Bloc Quebecois (BQ) with 32 and the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 24. The remaining four seats are held by three Green Party members and one independent member. The Leader of the Official Opposition is Andrew Scheer, but, on December 11, he stated his intention to resign his post as soon as the CPC chooses his successor as party leader. Jean-Yves Blanchet leads the BQ and Jagmeet Singh leads the NDP.

Opening of Parliament: Election of a New Speaker and Speech from the Throne

The Governor General convoked Parliament on December 5. Answering her summons was a logistical challenge, as the House's members had to travel from West Block to the Senate, now lodged some 700 metres away in what was originally Ottawa's central train station and, until recently, the Government Conference Centre. Enjoined there by Chief Justice Richard Wagner, in his role as the Deputy of the Governor General, to elect a Speaker, the House returned to West Block where, as dean of the House, Louis Plamondon (BasRichelieu--Nicolet--Becancour) presided for a fourth time over the election of the Speaker. The Commons chose Anthony Rota (Nipissing--Timiskaming) using a secret ranked (or preferential) ballot.

That afternoon, the members again made their way to the Senate. Governor General Julie Payette delivered the Speech from the Throne to open Parliament, outlining the government's agenda. The House returned to West Block to initiate its business and then to consider the Speech from the Throne. The Standing Orders provide for up to six additional days of debate on the motion for an address in reply to the Speech from the Thone and on any amendment or subamendment proposed to it. On December 12, the fourth day of debate on the motion, a...

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