Weekly Round-Up: June 5, 2015

June 5th, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Federal election excitement

June is here and the federal election is just four and half months away. The latest federal polls show a “tight three-way race” in what could be “the ‘mother’ of all elections.” Abacus Data reports that the campaign is “up for grabs” and the battle between the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals is still a toss up.

Want to get your class involved in the election? More than 1,700 schools from across the country have already registered for our federal Student Vote program. Educators can sign up here.

New MLAs sworn in

Believe it or not, it has now been a month since provincial elections in Alberta and Prince Edward Island. Alberta’s new MLAs were sworn in on Monday and took part in a mock legislature session. A judicial recount in Calgary-Glenmore confirmed the NDP’s slim six-vote victory; PC candidate Linda Johnson will not appeal.

In PEI, the legislature opened on Wednesday with a throne speech read by Lieutenant Governor Frank Lewis. The province also saw its second ever election for the role of speaker, and its first in 18 years. Buck Watts, the Liberal MLA for Tracadie-Hillsborough Park, was ultimately selected by his peers.

Resignations and retirements

It has been a busy week for retirements and resignations in the province of Nova Scotia! Last weekend John Percy announced that he was stepping down as leader of the Nova Scotia Green Party after six years at the party’s helm. A leadership convention will be held in the next six months.

Percy’s resignation came on the heels of the retirement last Friday of Peter MacKay, Canada’s justice minister and the MP for Central Nova since 1997. MacKay will stay on until the fall federal election, avoiding the need for a cabinet shuffle.

Legislature lowdown

Other legislatures are also in full swing, and the Nunavut and Northwest Territories legislatures returned to session last week for their spring sittings.

The Ontario legislature wrapped up yesterday, the British Columbia legislative session came to an end last week, while Manitoba MLAs “might be stuck at the legislature” past the scheduled end date of June 11.

Remembering Jacques Parizeau

Former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau died on Monday at the age of 84. Parizeau led the province from 1994 to 1996, and played an instrumental role in the 1995 Quebec referendum. A state funeral will be held for Parizeau next week, and flags across the province are flying at half mast.

Electoral changes

Ontario voters could head to the polls four months earlier than expected for the next provincial election. Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled “sweeping” new electoral reforms that include moving the election date to a weekend or school holiday in June, imposing spending limits on third-party advertising, lowering the age of voter registration to sixteen and the addition of fifteen new ridings to match the new federal boundaries.

Big changes are coming at the municipal level as well. Last week, Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin officially launched a review of the Municipal Elections Act and is consulting Ontarians on how to let municipalities use ranked ballots in 2018. Some cities are taking things further: Sarnia is considering term limits for councillors and Penetanguishene has eliminated their ward system.

In the Quebec, the provincial government announced that it will end school board elections in favour of a new regional administration system. In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Paul Davis will table legislation to move the provincial election to the last week of November.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

Posted in English, Weekly Round-Up |

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