Parliament to return on Oct. 16 for new throne speech
Visitors come and go as the Parliament Buildings are silhouetted at dusk in Ottawa on June 13, 2012. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:44PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:53PM EDT
Members of Parliament will return to work on Oct. 16, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to usher in a new session of Parliament with a fall throne speech.
Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play, has confirmed that the House will resume on what was originally supposed to be a break week for MPs.
However, the parliamentary schedule was left up in the air after Harper declared his intention last month to prorogue Parliament in order to give his government more time to set the next legislative agenda.
The Prime Minister is expected officially ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament on Friday. The House was initially due back next Monday.
Martin said the new session marks a “turning of the corner” toward the next federal election, scheduled for the fall of 2015.
But before then, Harper will still face questions about the ongoing Senate expenses scandal. The RCMP is investigating the expense claims of Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb and Mike Duffy after outside audits found that all three had filed improper housing expense claims. Sen. Pamela Wallin was also found to have filed more than $138,000 in improper travel expense claims.
Duffy repaid his expenses with the help of a $90,000 cheque from Harper’s then-chief of staff Nigel Wright, an arrangement that had the Opposition hammering the government in the House over what Harper and his inner circle knew of the deal.
Brazeau missed a deadline to repay nearly $49,000 in ineligible expenses and his Senate pay is now being docked. Harb resigned from the Senate last month and announced he was dropping a court proceeding disputing an order that he repay expenses. He has repaid more than $230,000 worth of expenses.
Meanwhile, Auditor General Michael Ferguson has also begun a probe of all senators’ expenses.
Martin said that while “some of the heat” will be out of the issue by the time the House returns, “a lot of different balls are in the air on this scandal.”
However, the government can divert some of the focus from the scandal if it sets forth on a bold legislative agenda.
“If they have something exciting to talk about , then we’ll talk about it,” Martin said. “But if they don’t, then we’ll go back to Senate scandals.”