Trudeau to unveil key priorities for minority mandate with Speech from the Throne

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lay the groundwork for one of his minority mandate’s first major tests on Thursday afternoon.

That’s when Governor General Julie Payette will read out his Speech from the Throne, outlining the legislative priorities on which he plans to focus over the coming months. Members of parliament will cast their votes either in support or against.

Trudeau must get a majority of the MPs in the House of Commons to vote for his Speech from the Throne, which is a confidence vote.

If Trudeau cannot get that majority support, he will be deemed to not have the confidence of the House of Commons.

That’s scenario would give Official Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer the chance to try forming a minority government of his own.

So far, however, all indications suggest that Trudeau expects he will be able to get the NDP or the Bloc Quebecois — or both — to offer their support in the vote.

All eyes will be on that speech for an indication of what policy priorities Trudeau sees as most crucial and achievable in a minority Parliament where every vote will require the support of at least one other party in order to pass.

A government official told Global News the speech will last between 30 and 45 minutes, similar to the speech the Liberals presented in 2015, and will be broken up into a number of themes with a main focus on collaboration and working with other parties on bold priorities.

The vote will not happen right away, though. In fact, the official said it’s likely the first confidence vote will actually be a bill on what’s known as the business of supply — basically, a bill authorizing Parliament to spend money — which happens several times each year.

Because of the timing of the election, this will likely be needed in order to authorize the spending of money for regular government functioning between the opening of this new Parliament and the looming winter break.

After sitting for roughly 10 days this week and next, MPs will be on the break until the end of January, with traditional timing of the budget not set to come until March 2020.

Once the throne speech is presented, it normally gets about six days of debate, so it’s likely the supply bill will need to be introduced and voted on before that.

Electing the Speaker of the House of Commons

While the Speech from the Throne and the supply will be the big tests for the minority government, both cannot happen until MPs do one thing first.

When they gather back on Parliament Hill on Thursday, the first item on their agenda will be electing a new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Voting takes place by secret ballot and once the votes are clear, a Speaker is elected.

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