Getting Ready for the Return


The welcome to this week's episode of Blue Sky Strategy Groups at Canadian polly cast what you need to know about this this week in Canadian politics. I'm Alison Fair and joining me this week. My colleagues the honorable Joe Jordan and the honorable Andrew Leslie Welcome to you both for your first time in the podcast studio B here as a mice. The reason I they ask you both here today was to give our listeners. A little insight and firsthand experience when it comes to the return of parliament We've got a throne speech coming next. Let's say as a former journalist analyst that was I love the pomp and circumstance Seeing all you guys come back is like being back at the first day of school. Joe I want to start with you. you've had more throne speech under your belt. What do you think we can expect to see next week Well first of all. I think it's important to keep in mind that a lot of the things. That governments do aren't particularity prescriptive. They're not written down There's a lot of leeway and and it's based on precedent so so with throne speech when you talk about the pomp and ceremony. It's it's the official opening apartment selection of the speaker. It's the first time you have the three branches of government the House the Senate and the sovereign together and and technically Government can't function parliament can't function until they go through this process so it's up to the government then to figure out how it wants to use it It varies there's been thrown speeches that have been incredibly detailed and then there are thrown speeches. On the and Paul Martin's throne speech comes to mind which I think might have been two pages two and a half pages I'm so Circumstances dictate so rim already in this particular case I would expect. ACT This to be a forty thousand foot throne speech. They're not going to. I wouldn't expect they would get into detail that might cause division in the opposition ranks This government has has started publishing mandate letter. So I think what you'll find. Is that throne speech. It is a conduit between what was promised during the campaign. Maybe what they learned during the campaign and then the language will then be transferred into the mandate letter. So I I think it'll be a pretty general overview of the situation the country's situation and very very vague references references to to Things the government may or may not do to address those Andrew. Would you agree with the job I would agree with everything he said. I think the government's main and focus is going to be on trying to make sure a sense of unity. Is there because it was a very divisive election. I think some of the main topics obvious this you're GONNA be the economy the environment Some trade issues with close friends and allies But on top of all of that it's reaching Ching out and making sure that there's open dialogue between Prime Minister's Office Parliament Hill The premier's the big city mayors and civil society at large and to be fair. I think that process already started. and Are we going to you. You say forty thousand foot document is they're going to be any really insight though. Are we going to get the nitty gritty or do we have to wait Well I think you get a sense of the direction and I think more importantly you'll get a sense of their tone I don't I don't think there's anything in the government right now to to get too detailed. Keep in mind too that that doesn't matter what they say in a throne speech. It's not binding other than in the in the in the arena of public opinion. You're not you're not asking government for funds to do these sorts of things. There's other instruments for that. So it's it. It is really just very general instrument at their disposal and I think they would be wise to keep it at that level. Okay in terms of general public. Don't expect too much. Well I don't think it has that much of an impact. I think it's probably of more interest to lobbyists and the journalists than the average Canadian. You saving your head there. Oh no I'm agreeing. I'm it's a minority government as we all know. I think anybody anybody WHO's so foolish as to introduce a major surprise in a throne speech with a minority government Will probably pay a price in terms of house US unity. I don't anticipate the throne speech. failing I mean the. There's three broad categories of votes that are considered confidence fitness measures. One is the throne speeches section. The second is budget bills and anything that has to do with supply and funny enough the first time that a confidence motion in May arise is sometime in that first eight or nine days because there's a bunch of supply bills that have got to get through just because where we are in the year right and there was article old actually this morning saying that they could face the first one I guess on the tenth of Tenth of December or are we going to actually see the government fall the throne speech. You're shaking no why. Why what's your thoughts on that? We'll start with you enter. Well it's a question of the tactics ticks. Keeping in mind. The overall strategy of the opposition and their role is to criticize their strategies to try to get the government to commit major errors Or things which will resonate with Canadians is to the opposition's benefit no one way to election they go but Canadians have sent a pretty clear message. that They're comfortable with this government being a minority government. They're comfortable with their choices and We'll be tied those who cause an election to be triggered that expenditure and historically Canadians have not reacted well to people who force them to go to the polls and the dead of winter the the other thing is to keep in mind is parties will force an election when they think is in their your interest. Do it You know had the liberals one you know in the spectral of minority governments the liberals have a very strong minority Thirteen eighteen seats and I would probably see the speaker Jeffrey. You can so fourteen seats shy. It's highly unlikely that the the opposition may not like the government. But they're gonNA. They're not going to agree on why they don't like the government I mean so the liberals have probably a the average life of a minority in this country is about a year and a half. I think this one's GonNa last longer The MVP are are not financially in a position. to go to an election and I think the Conservatives are in the process of swelling themselves so at least leadership both agree. Well you never know the Liberals may decide sooner than that they wanna go but You know I think I would not don't want to be the party that you know caused an election on a throne speech in the next two weeks at the door and you know the other thing visit if if if the liberals put something in there that no one could live with on the opposition parties They might actually get a chance to form government but this is. This is highly highly unlikely I would be absolutely shocked that you know. We'll get through the throne speech. We'll get through the initial supply the next big challenge for the government. I think is there budget. Okay Okay Andrew. I want to ask you speaker That that'll come after the throne speech before. Sorry my apologies. First thing speaker are we gonNA see Jeff Regan. Come back to you have confidence that he's going to return as I speak. The will of parliament is always dangerous in terms of trying to predict it having said that I believe Jeff will he i. He's he's fair he's balanced. He's he's I think he's well respected by a whole host of of parliamentarians. It was a pleasure to work with them when I was chief. Government whip He's got credibility he's got experience which I think. Most people will see as being critically important especially the minority government so I would be personally surprised and disappointed if jeff does not elected by his peers. That the one thing that could cause him grief is the the process this time because historically It's a it's a round of ballots and people are eliminated each round They're going with a ranked ballot now and I understand there's three liberals running so so jeff's challenge might be. How do you come out of a ranked ballot if if your own party hasn't got a clear strategy on how to deal with his other liberals that are on it so it strange things come out of that pipe so I I think he's probably doing what he needs to do to try to to lineup? I absolutely agree with Andy I don't you know. I think he has demonstrated. He understands the role of speaker and the heat. The house was very well served By Jeff and minority house those things become a little bit more important -portant but politics as you know is a funny thing. Parliament will decide. Never wrong. Um on what do after the throne speech. We've got a speaker in place. Andrew you both been there What are we going to? What are we going to see? Play out before we break for the holidays while. I think there's three things that have to happen. The first is technical bill which is C. One which is essentially goes back to the miss or the the dawn of time Where the House of Commons was telling the sovereign? Thanks no no matter. What's in the throne speech? We parliamentarians will decide to vote on whatever we want to decide to vote on so that that's that's the first one across the start line. The second of course is the throne speech. Usually they have to allocate six days unless there's a certain degree of consensus they want to cut it short and then by the ninth or tenth certainly by the week after and I don't think too many folk one actually be here for that. There's a variety of supply bills that have got a got to be put into action otherwise Things don't happen happen. In terms of the allocation of funds. They're scheduled to rise in the thirteenth. I I think that the plan is to get all that in and having said that the throne speech just apt to be rather boring. The throne speech debate won't be because the throne speech debate would be the each political party in each opposition parties ladies chance to carve out their space. So I think that'll actually be the more interesting element of this. Because they can then that you know they they can essentially Talk about any aspect of of the throne speech which is an unlimited scope. And you'll get a bit of a sense of Where each party is trying to position itself? Because that's that's what's going on here. Okay so how do we see. The party's positioning then. Like where do you see the the Liberals Roles Conservatives and EP and we gotTA consider the block here which I never thought we would. Well I mean I'm I'm spending long. I mean I think I think the the liberals will will try to position themselves as sort of steady hand on the wheel. I think that in in spite of the best efforts of the parties to not deal with policy policy in the last election the climate change clearly emerged They'll they'll grab that because it's a natural issue for them and and as Andrew said this whole issue of Western Alien Nation. You know. They're going to. They're going to try and position themselves as the as the best Party to handle it because this is really about the the next election the conservative a bit of a pickle because they're they're in the middle of their own internal battle about whether or not Do do they stay a Social Conservative Party Or do they move closer to the center and become more of the Red Tory progressives It's GonNa be very hard for them to have a public A narrative when internally. They're fighting that battle so that'll be interesting to watch. I think at the end. EP are going to want to position themselves as as change agents as using their leverage to force the Liberals to to be To be more sensitive to the issues they find important but their challenges. They can't get to the can't get into bed with the liberals are going to have a hard our time campaigning against in the next election block. I think the block who are probably going to ride this out as long as possible. They will engage when they see Z.. Issues that impact Kubeck and issues that don't they will probably try to negotiate some kind of agreement to to advance their causes. I don't see them triggering any any election anytime soon. But there's a lot of room for movement in those silos but I think that's that's it's That's kind of the way I see it. Come Down Andrew any degree or disagree with what Joe has to say. Actually I fully agree and I'm sorry. This is the best panel ever now. That's okay but having said that I would I would go slightly further Actually I think Joe was was sort of implying it I I see for just the the reason that Joe stated Mr Shears going through a whole bunch of internal issues. I see them or him trying to get his conservative team to vote against the throne speech because if he were to vote for than he would be savaged by even an ever increasing number of his colleagues or former colleagues for a whole host of reasons. I I see the. MVP probably trying to find an excuse to vote against to further differentiate themselves as being further to the left of the spectrum. Not Being pushovers. And not being pushovers. Exactly and of course the block is so delighted to be where they are. See them voting with a look. But Allison this is where it gets interesting. Because if the throne speech contains a paragraph Graf that says the government is going to finish the pipeline in order to provide market for alberta-based resources. How does the stories vote against that? So so it'll be interesting. There may be a few we call poison pills in there to see you know that one. I think you could get away with to go too far down that line and try and get to cute. It'll sometimes come back and bite you but You know the the the I would expect. The government will have a pretty clear understanding. WHO's with them and who's against them before that throw speeches? Read by the Governor John Speaking about poison pills We're going to the prime minister and the deputy prime minister going to meet with the premiers on Monday. Andrew do you think we're GONNA see a coup by WII moments coming out of this or do you think is particularly Christopher Face a lot of backlash from the premier's when they meet on Monday. That's a good one. I think that Since the election The Prime Minister the Deputy Prime Minister and an increasing number of The more energetic cabinet ministers have done good working getting Outta town and going and visiting the premiums in their capitals which was unlike last last time very unlike last time for different reasons And the reaction from everyone in the premiums that I've seen has been pretty positive or at best sorry at worst Slightly cutting but not overwhelmingly. So will that translate into you. Call it a Kumbaya moment when they all get together no but I suspect there will be some areas of common ground. That people are going to be keen on trying to resolve a couple of issues out there for all of US national unity but also an enormous backlog of money that is part of the previous wealth the same government but the previous legislative session. That has been built up up and now they've got to get it out the door right no more talking get on with it and the premiers are very much in the receptive mode because they need those resources to actually pass on down to their own citizens. So there's there's area for commonality there and I think Mr Ford's recent approach which has been a marked departure for him Reaching out the hand and telling people he's going to be a champion of national unity is is is welcome. Okay and how do you do you see the same thing Or we're going to see some premiers is that just aren't GonNa aren't GonNa shake the hand of Trudeau and Christophe land by the end of the day. Oh I hope we don't see that. I hope we don't see that but these these fed Prov Conferences are are usually the conversation. Goes like this We need more money than the feds. Say Okay I'm hearing you. We'll see what we can do it and never there's never going to be enough so that the more important issue is is Is Is there a relationship there that that's going to help candidate move forward. And I point to comments by Brian Pallister on the issue of Western separation. I you know I rarely applaud when I'm watching something over a computer screen I I was I thought he absolutely nailed it and the fact that Doug Ford sees a rule as well in building national you know some of this might be pre-positioning for leadership run but it's still helpful it's still helpful in terms of tone As opposed to the premier of Saskatchewan when he met with the Prime Minister Wrath the election action and walked out of the room that was a complete waste of time and I just don't think Canadians have a lot of patience for that and I think there there needs to be some water in everyone's wine As we try and move for because the other thing is that you know is is. We are running up a deficit. The debt is is is an issue. There isn't an unlimited amount of money. There's some huge price tag issues being bantered about and it's all about priorities and it's all about Triage Gosh so but at the end of the day these these meetings are about money there about cash from the feds to the provinces and just before are we go Andrew. I would be Not doing my job here. I mean putting my former hat on. Are we going to see anything on the agreement ratified ratified before the house comes back do you. What's your sense? I think we might be in there. good vibe. Talking to a couple of friends in Washington The president's enthusiasm for the candidates. Free Trade Agreement is increased markedly Michalik. Quite frankly he needs any kind of kind of win right now and the Democrats are a bunch of concessions from the third member of the tri-partite agreement Mexico which is good That's in terms of them being able to oversee or have a certain degree of oversight and For the detail on how the Mexicans we're going to address Labor code standards and stuff so yeah the the temperature appears to be right. The time appears to be right There's a ratification process down the states. Which is fixed in law in terms of time If having said that they can they can grind it out Relatively quickly so the dangerous having the house rise and the Americans ratifying it ratified afterwards but the whole idea is to get it done together. So we'll see we'll see us. One of the issues are going to have to face over the next week. Great well thank you guys. That was thoroughly enjoyable as always and I hope you come back and do it again Hope I didn't scare you off and thank you to the listeners. For Tuning into Blue Sky Strategy groups team political observers for the sweeps a Canadian. podcast asked what you need to know about politics this week in Canada Sky Strategy Group is one of Canada's leading public affairs affairs firms for government relations lobbying and strategic communications advice across Canada. visit us at blue sky. Strategy Group DOTCOM Blue-sky Strategy Group is is a proud member of the Global Communications Alliance Yeah yeah the.

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