Weekly Round-Up: December 13

December 13th, 2013 by Dan Allan

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

Christmas comes early for MPs

The House of Commons rose for Christmas break early this week as all parties agree to end proceedings on Tuesday evening. MPs were originally scheduled to sit until today.

The House of Commons will have four new MPs when proceedings resume on January 27. Chrystia Freeland, Emmanuel Dubourg, Larry Maguire and Ted Falk, who were elected in last month’s by-elections, were sworn in on Wednesday.

By-election breakdown

The Quebec Liberal caucus grew by two members this week after victories in two provincial by-elections. Party leader Philippe Couillard won in Outremont, and David Heurtel won in Viau. Voter turnout was low in both by-elections: 26 per cent of voters cast ballots in Outremont, while only 17 per cent of Viau voters made the trip to the polls.

Windsor, Ontario held a by-election to fill the council vacancy created when Percy Hatfield ran in and won the Windsor-Tecumseh provincial by-election this past summer. Irek Kusmierczyk won the by-election by 52 votes, becoming the new Ward 7 councillor.

Canada’s sends political all-star team to South Africa

An impressive roster of Canadian politicians past and present made the trip to South Africa to attend Nelson Mandela’s memorial. The delegation included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former prime ministers Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and Jean Chretien, Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, AFN national chief Shawn Atleo as well as several premiers, MPs and senators.

Two of the premiers who attended the memorial, Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil and the Yukon’s Darrell Pasloski, came under fire for their decision to travel abroad while other business remained at home.

Senator Hugh Segal to retire

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal will retire next June to take a seven-year post as master of Massey College. Segal was appointed to the senate by Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005. Segal previously served as the chief of staff to Ontario Premier Bill Davis and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Redford shuffles her cabinet

Premier Alison Redford shuffled her cabinet last Friday, and the new members will be sworn in today. The number of departments increases from 18 to 19 with the creation of the new Jobs, Skills Training, and Labour ministry. In response, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith shuffled her party’s critic roster.

The Alberta PC caucus is also now one member stronger. Edmonton-Manning MLA Peter Sandhu returned to the party’s ranks after being cleared in an ethics investigation. Sandhu had spent the first six week of the fall session sitting as an independent.

Hasta la vista, Shurmanator

Ontario PC MPP Peter Shurman (@Shurmanator on Twitter) announced his resignation this week after criticism from party leader Tim Hudak over mileage expenses. The former finance critic was under similar scrutiny in September over housing expenses. Shurman’s resignation will be effective December 31.

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

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