Old Customs, New Parliament: Here's what to anticipate as MPs return this week

By Eva Olsen [Published 23 Nov, 2021 | 05:08 AM]
Old Customs, New Parliament: Here's what to anticipate as MPs return this week

This week will see the opening of the 44th Canadian Parliament, which will be steeped with age-old British customs that may appear foreign to some. On Monday, a new Speaker of the House of Commons will be elected. Following that, Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon will read the royal address, which outlines the government's legislative goals and officially launches a new session of Parliament.

While members of Parliament are unable to conduct legislative business until the throne address is read, the path to that point is not simple. The MP with the "greatest duration of uninterrupted service" who isn't a minister or party leader, commonly known as the Dean of the House, is to be called up to the large green chair to preside over the election of a new Speaker on Monday, according to the standing orders.

The new Speaker will offer remarks and accept congratulations from party leaders, but that will most likely be the extent of the Commons' session on Monday. When the Governor-General arrives in the Senate on Tuesday, the Usher of the Black Rod will be dispatched to the House to call MPs for the throne address.

The speech to inaugurate a new Parliament is always read in the upper chamber, where the Queen or her representative, the Governor-General, has a throne. While the government writes the address, previous governors-general have contributed portions of their own.

The new Speaker and MPs are only permitted to enter the Senate chamber as far as a brass bar at the chamber's entrance, a barrier supposed to represent the independence of both Houses of Parliament. The prime minister, on the other hand, may cross the line for the throne address.

The Speaker will request that the Crown acknowledge all of the MPs' "undoubted rights and privileges," including the ability to speak freely during debates. The Senate Speaker will then react on behalf of the Governor-General, stating that she will "recognize and allow their constitutional privileges." Finally, the throne address will be delivered.

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Following the reading of the royal address on Tuesday, MPs will be able to return to the Commons and go back to work, but not before partaking in a few additional customs. First, the Speaker will notify MPs that the position has "fallen upon me" and that they have made "the customary demand for your privileges."

A "pro forma" bill, which means "for the sake of form," will then be introduced, usually by the prime minister. Bill C-1, "An Act Respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office," will be granted the first reading but will not be debated further. The Senate will take a similar move with the introduction of Bill S-1.

The rite is intended to demonstrate both Houses' independence from the Crown and their ability to pursue their agendas regardless of the direction given forth in the throne address. The Speaker will offer to reread the throne address in the House but will instead table a copy "to avoid errors," and the prime minister will ask for the speech to be considered "later today."

On Tuesday, the Speaker might name members of the House of Commons' governing body, the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE), as well as the procedural and House affairs committee. The address in reply to the speech from the throne, on the other hand, is a crucial piece of business.

Before presenting a motion to express "humble gratitude" to the Governor-General for the throne speech, a Liberal backbencher (frequently someone who has never served in the House before), will deliver a 20-minute statement articulating why they support the government's program.

According to Erin O'Toole, all Conservative MPs have been vaccinated or given exemptions ahead of the House's return. Another Liberal backbencher will speak for 20 minutes, seconding the motion, before O'Toole or other Conservative motions that the discussion is adjourned for the day.

The regulations allow for up to six days of debate on the address in response to the throne speech. After the pomp and ceremony are through, MPs will have around four weeks until the planned Christmas break on December 17 to get things done.

In this phase of the epidemic, the Liberal government will go through with legislation to create new emergency relief benefits that it claims would be more "targeted" toward individuals and hard-hit companies. In addition, the Liberals pledged that they would propose or bring back eight measures within their first 100 days in office in the last election. Liberals also vowed to amend the Canada Labour Code to offer federally regulated workers with 10 days of paid sick leave.

Mr. Singh stated that he expects a substantial throne address that includes significant investments in health care, including higher allocations to provinces, pharmaceutical care, and dental and mental health care. In addition, he stated that his party would want to see an emphasis on assisting workers in finding jobs in renewable energy and assisting communities in dealing with climate change and investments in the construction of half a million new houses. It will further give a boost to Canada’s immigration while upgrading the lives of the immigrants and permanent residents in Canada.

Tags: Canada, Canadian Government, Canadian immigration news, Conservative Party of Canada, federal government, Government of Canada, Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada, NDP, prime minister, speech from the throne

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