::


:: PoliticsWatch Archives

> Frontpage
> Recent News
> News Archive
> Recent  Features 
> Features Archive


:: Inside PoliticsWatch

> Contact PoliticsWatch


:: PoliticsWatch News

MPs prepare for the House's return 

[PoliticsWatch posted 4:30 p.m. September 12, 2006]

MPs prepare for the reopening of Parliament next week.    

OTTAWA  — After a long summer recess, MPs are making preparations this week for the return of the House of Commons.   

Three of the four parties are holding caucus meetings this week in advance of Parliament's return next week.  

The fall sitting of Parliament is expected to be action-packed, with a confidence vote on the softwood lumber deal and a free vote on gay marriage to be among the expected highlights. 

The governing Tories will hold a two-day caucus retreat in Ottawa beginning on Thursday. 

The last time the Tory caucus met was earlier this summer in Cornwall while the conflict in the Mideast was at its height.  

This time another foreign policy issue will overshadow the meeting. 

Canada's military role in Afghanistan has come under greater criticism over the past two weeks. 

NDP Leader Jack Layton is now calling for Canada to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and one Liberal leadership contender, Gerard Kennedy, has also put the withdrawal option on the table. 

That coupled with the deaths of five Canadian soldiers over the Labour Day weekend has created a media frenzy of negative coverage. 

The prime minister defended the mission as a key part of the War on Terror during a televised address on September 11. 

The government's free vote on gay marriage will also be a hot topic at the Tory caucus meeting. 

Sun News reported Tuesday a government official expects the vote will be held during the second week of the fall sitting. 

Groups on both sides of the debate have been stepping up lobbying efforts, putting pressure on a group of Conservative MPs expected to vote against a motion that would reopen the previous Liberal government's gay marriage legislation. 

The NDP, meanwhile, will hold its caucus retreat in Thunder Bay beginning on Thursday. 

The NDP holds two ridings in Northern Ontario and plan to focus the retreat on resource issues, especially the softwood lumber deal. 

The lumber deal is expected to sail through the House when it is introduced this month after the Bloc Quebecois said they will back the minority government's legislation. 

"Liberals and Tories have sold out Northern Ontario," said NDP spokesman Ian Capstick in explaining why the party is holding its retreat outside Ottawa. 

The Bloc Quebecois will hold its first caucus meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday. 

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe has said he plans on increasing the political pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He says that after eight months on the job, Harper's honeymoon with Quebecers is over. 

Duceppe recently wrote the speaker of the House of Commons requesting an emergency debate on the Tory government's foreign policy positions, specifically the mission in Afghanistan and the PM's siding with Israel during the summer Mideast conflict. 

The only party that is not meeting this week is the Liberals. 

They held their caucus retreat just two weeks ago in Vancouver. 

Pat Breton, a spokesman for Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham, said the caucus is already prepared for the return of Parliament. 

"House strategy and tactics were discussed at length in Vancouver in late August," Breton said. "That conversation will continue when the House gets back next week."

: Related Links

> Politics Watch's Big 10 issues for the fall

© PoliticsWatch® 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.

> More Recent PoliticsWatch News...







:: Got a News Tip?

Call the PoliticsWatch
tip-line at 613.232.0516
or
e-mail

 

PoliticsWatch Home  |  News Services  Voter Resources  |  Research Base

© PoliticsWatch® 2004. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, 
including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of 
Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.
PoliticsWatch® | Canada's Political Portal™
85 Albert Street, Suite 1502, Ottawa ON K1P 6A4 |  phone: 613.232.0516
news@politicswatch.com  |  Terms of Service, Copyright, Trademarks, and Disclaimers Statement