Opening of the Forty-third Parliament
The Opening of Parliament was held on December 5, 2019. The opening took place with two distinct sittings of the Senate on one day for the first time since 1988. During the first sitting, a new senator, the Honourable Tony Loffreda, was introduced and the House of Commons was directed to elect its Speaker. During the second sitting, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber.
Bill C-2, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, received Royal Assent on December 12. A traditional Royal Assent ceremony was held in the Senate Chamber.
Chamber, Procedure and Speaker's Rulings
On December 5, the Senate adopted a motion naming Senator Nicole Eaton as Speaker pro tempore until the Senate adopts a report of the Committee of Selection nominating the Speaker pro tempore.
In December, two motions to amend the Rules of the Senate were put on notice. The first motion would change the Rules to grant similar privileges and responsibilities to the leaders and facilitators of all recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups, as well as replace the definition of "Critic of a bill" with "Spokesperson on a bill" in English. In French, the term "porte-parole" would be retained, but its meaning would significantly change. Each party or group would be entitled to a spokesperson on each bill, with the exception of the party or group that the sponsor of the bill belongs to. The second motion would create a new standing committee, the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight. The committee would be composed of three Senators and two qualified external members. Both motions were on the Notice Paper and had not been moved when the Senate adjourned until February 4, 2020.
New Senate Groups
On November 4, the Canadian Senators Group (CSG) became a new recognized parliamentary group in the Senate. The 11 founding members include senators who previously belonged to the Conservative Party of Canada, the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and one non-affiliated senator. The interim leader of the CSG is Senator Scott Tannas and the interim deputy leader is Senator Josee Verner. On November 14, the Progressive Senate Group (PSG) became another recognized parliamentary group. The PSG counted nine members at its creation, all of whom previously belonged to the Liberal Party of...