A new parliament is only days away
November 27th, 2015 - 4:00pm
Now that the longest election in modern times is behind us and the new cabinet has been sworn in, the 42nd Parliament is set to begin sitting. While the cabinet has achieved gender and regional balance, how well they will perform will only be known after they deliver and debate some legislation. That wait won’t be long as the House will meet on December 3rd to elect a new Speaker with the Throne Speech being delivered the following day.
The election of a new Speaker will signal whether the government will continue with the trend of home-side partisans or attempt to add a level of impartiality to the post - as it is meant to be. In my time in parliament I have never seen the role performed in a neutral way and this has a lot to do with how the House of Commons is seen as entirely dysfunctional by Canadians.
A Throne Speech signals the intent of the government over the first session of the 42nd parliament. Like many Canadians, New Democrats are keen to see what the initial focus and direction of the new government will be. Their election was based on a desire to change as much as anything else and the policy direction spelled out during the campaign were both thin and vague. One thing is certain, there is much to do and undo after Stephen Harper’s tenure so there is no end of potential items to move on and we look forward to working in that direction for Canadians.
While New Democrats were disappointed by the election result, lost in the story is the fact that this was the second best electoral outcome for our party ever and bears no resemblance to the route that was a part of the last return of Liberals to government. We have secured roots in Quebec and have seen a return of MPs from Saskatchewan which is especially nice given the prairie roots of the party.
We will remain focused on holding the government to its word and ensuring that old habits don’t creep back in as the Liberals become comfortable in government. The long tradition of campaigning on the left only to govern from the right must be abandoned if we are to see movement on issues like child poverty that are in danger of becoming a permanent feature of our society. New Democrats are committed to provide a progressive opposition that will ensure the government remembers why they were elected and acts accordingly.