Weekly Round-Up: December 11, 2015

December 11th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

MPs back to work

After last week’s Speech from the Throne (which you can watch here), Members of Parliament were back at it on Monday with the return of question period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet fielded questions on subjects that included Canada’s military missions in the Middle East, the national debt and income taxes.

The current format for question period could soon change as the Liberals plan to introduce a “prime minister’s question period” similar to what is currently seen in the British Parliament. The British prime minister responds to questions each Wednesday from a randomly selected group of MPs. Éric Grenier examined some of the pros and cons of this potential shift.

Electoral reform update

The government has also committed to another change: that the 2015 federal election would be the last to use the First-Past-the-Post electoral system. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose is demanding the government hold a referendum on any proposed changes, but the Liberals will only commit to a “broad, cross-party consultation process”. Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail also support a public vote on the matter.

Electoral reform is also on the agenda in Prince Edward Island. After six months of public education and consultation, a plebiscite will be held in November 2016 to reconsider the use of First-Past-the-Post for future provincial elections. A similar proposal was rejected by voters in 2005.

Bélanger to serve as honourary speaker

Veteran Ottawa Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger intended to run for the Speaker’s chair but dropped out after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

On Wednesday, a motion to make Bélanger an honorary occupant of the Speaker’s chair for a day was met with unanimous consent and a “thunderous standing ovation”.

Leadership race rundown

The Conservative Party is “in no rush to select new leader”, according to the Toronto Star’s Chantal Hébert. Possible contenders for the yet to be scheduled race include Brad Wall, Jason Kenney and Lisa Raitt.

Will the NDP have a new leader for the next federal election? Tom Mulcair wants to stay on as leader, according to Postmedia’s John Ivison, but “anything short of 75 per cent” at his party’s mandatory leadership review in April could put that in jeopardy.

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

Posted in English, Weekly Round-Up |

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