Categorized | Editorial

5 Issues The Liberals Must Address With The Return Of Parliament

Posted on 28 January 2016 by admin

Here are five things to watch for this session.

Budget 2016 and the deficit
Finance Minister is Bill Morneau just wrapped up his cross-country pre-budget consultations. The first budget is widely speculated to be end of March. The size of the deficit is the item to watch for as oil prices continue to decline and the dollar has dipped to its lowest point since 2003.

Opposition and the Progressive Opposition
The Conservative Party is holding true to #NewYearNewYou with a leadership election announced for May 27, 2017. Expect them and the repositioned “Progressive Opposition” NDP to continue to push on issues such as electoral reform and Canada’s role in the war against ISIS, while aiming to portray the Trudeau government’s fiscal plans as irresponsible.

Key agenda items
The government will be moving forward on some of its significant Throne Speech items. The clock is ticking for the government to fulfill its promise on electoral reform within 18 months of coming to power, including a commitment that the 2015 election will be the last conducted according to first-past-the-post.

In the wake of COP 21 and Canada’s commitments in Paris, government actions to curb climate change and address environmental issues will be watched closely. Infrastructure spending is a hot topic for provincial partners and municipalities who have a lengthy list of to-dos and high expectations. Legislating and regulating marijuana will also be high on the minds of many Canadians.

Items added to their agenda
The Supreme Court has given Ottawa a four-month extension to pass a bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

Senate Reform
With a new process and advisory board in place for appointing senators to the upper house, it’s expected that five of the 22 vacancies could be filled early in the new year — with two from Ontario, two from Manitoba and one from Quebec — to restore regional balance. There are big questions about exactly how the new Senate will work, given that the Liberals promised to make the Upper House of Parliament more independent and non-partisan. Could government legislation be blocked by the newly independent senate?

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