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High stakes as House of Commons returns after divisive fall election

Last Updated Dec 5, 2019 at 1:20 pm EDT

FILE - People walk near Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

The 43rd Parliament of Canada is officially underway


Liberal MP Anthony Rota has been elected Speaker of the House of Commons


Throne Speech expected to highlight major election promises like pharmacare, tax cuts for middle class, climate action


OTTAWA – After a fiercely fought fall election, the 43rd Parliament of Canada is now officially underway.

As a first order of business, MPs elected Liberal Anthony Rota as the new Speaker of the House.

Rota represents the riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming in northern Ontario. He was up against four other MPs — the NDP’s Carol Hughes, Liberal MP Geoff Regan, and Conservatives Joel Godin and Bruce Stanton.

When the results were announced, Rota was dragged to the Speaker’s chair, as is tradition, and thanked his colleagues.

“For giving me the biggest honour of my political career,” he said.

WATCH: Trudeau, Scheer take part in tradition of dragging newly-elected Speaker to chair

Right after, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rose to give a speech, in which he helped open this new Parliament by acknowledging Canadians voted for a minority government.

“To keep our communities safe and our economy growing, to protect our environment and create more opportunities for people to get ahead,” Trudeau added.

Hughes was looking to become the second woman to hold the position, while Regan was hoping to remain in the position.

Next, MPs will head to the Senate on Thursday afternoon for the Throne Speech, to be delivered by Governor General Julie Payette.

It will unveil the Liberals’ blueprint for governing in this minority parliament, and is expected to highlight major promises from the election like a national pharmacare program, tax cuts for the middle class, banning assault rifles, and taking climate action.

There will also be a focus on finding common ground with the opposition, since they need their support to stay alive as a government.

The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have signalled they are willing to make this minority work while the Conservatives warn there will be no free rides.