Dan Albas

Dan Albas

COLUMN: Waiting for Parliament to resume

Canadians are awaiting news on federal pandemic relief programs

Normally the House of Commons is back in session during the third week in September, meaning we would be well into the fall session by now.

Obviously with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau having called an election on Sept. 20, the normal Parliamentary cycle was delayed.

Recently I have been increasingly asked the question when will the new Parliament be up and running in Ottawa?

For some context, the 2015 general election that was held on Monday, Oct. 19 and just over two weeks later, on Nov. 4, Trudeau announced his cabinet and the new Parliament resumed roughly one month after that, on Dec. 3 with a throne speech on Dec. 4.

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We are now three weeks past the Sept. 20 election and I would expect the Prime Minister to announce his cabinet within the next week, with Parliament likely returning with a throne speech sometime potentially as late as December.

It also should be noted that the first action of Parliament, once it returns, is to elect a new speaker.

Opposition parties will also be announcing who their critics will be as well as their house administration officers such as the house leader and whip.

The reason why I am often asked when will the new Parliament begin sitting relates to another question I am also receiving frequently that relates to the Canadian Recovery Benefit program that replaced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit program.

Currently the Canadian Recovery Benefit, much like Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada’s other pandemic relief benefit programs are set to expire on Oct. 23.

Many Canadians are awaiting news as to what will become of these programs.

While there have been hints that discussions around extending these benefits are being held, no conclusive statement has emerged from the minority Liberal government.

From my perspective, I would expect the Prime Minister would have a new cabinet in place as soon as possible and the fate on the future of these programs would be a priority topic of discussion.

With Statistics Canada announcing that Canada’s unemployment rate has now reached pre-pandemic levels, some are suggesting these programs should be wound down.

My question this week: What do you think should happen with Canada’s pandemic recovery programs on Oct.23?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament-elect for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola.

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ColumnistFederal Politics