Since the Federal Election took place close to a month ago (I know, it feels like it’s been longer, hasn’t it?) and Canadians elected a minority Parliament, many have been wondering when we’d see that Parliament at work. There has been a lot of speculation as to when MPs would come back to Ottawa and take their seats in the House of Commons, getting back to the work of the people. Given the minority situation, most of the speculation has revolved around the strategy of when they come back, who it advantages and how. Well this morning we finally got an answer to that question, and it’s an interesting one:
Thursday December 5th, 2019 is the day when the 43rd Parliament of Canada will officially reconvene and kick things off. On that day we’ll see MPs elect the new Speaker of the House of Commons and once that task is done, we’ll see a Throne Speech come. It promises to be a very short sitting of the House, typically the House of Commons rises at the end of the second week of December. That would basically make this a seven day sitting before everyone takes off for the Holidays.
I wouldn’t expect any big drama during those seven days for a big reason; no one wants to trigger an election right now. This short sitting will most likely be all about getting the place set up, getting the functions of Parliament up and running so that they’ll be good to go when the House comes back at the end of January. So yeah, I don’t expect the drama to come from the parties themselves in this sitting.
But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some interesting questions out there. One in particular of a very practical procedural nature was raised by David Akin of Global News; now that the House of Commons and Senate are in different buildings because of the renovations to the Centre Block, how exactly will the logistics of the Throne Speech work? Normally the way it works is that the Black Rod is sent from the Senate down to the House, inviting MPs to come stand outside the Senate chamber to listen to the Throne Speech.
Historically that has involved a short walk down a hallway only a few minutes apart. But with the House of Commons now sitting in the West Block and the temporary Senate now located a few blocks down Wellington Street in the old Ottawa Train station, how exactly will this all work? That’s a new twist as this will be the first Throne Speech since the Centre Block closed. Add to the fact that it’s December in Ottawa and it makes one wonder what they might do. But being the helpful person that I try to be, I come with a suggested solution that involves recreating a unique moment in Canadian history:
Yes remember when Wayne Gretzky got in the bed of that Chevy pick up, hoisting the Olympic flame high as he rolled through the streets of downtown Vancouver as they lit the Olympic torch? I propose we take some inspiration from that moment. Let’s get a similar set up for the Black Rod, and he can ride up the Hill to the West Block in the December snow to invite MPs down the street. Then he could return to the truck, and lead the MPs down the street to the Senate, like the pied piper of Canadian democracy. Okay, that probably won’t happen but hey, we can hope, right?
Anyway, probably more importantly we now have a firm date as to when our Parliament will come and the circus that can be minority Parliament will begin. We’ll start to see the results of what Canadians elected and what they end up accomplishing. The next act of this show is about to begin and this morning we found out when the curtain will rise on it. Get your popcorn ready folks, this will likely be quite the show.