Parliament is Back, and the Liberals Have Some Big Decisions to Make

Article by John Ibbitson, The Globe and Mail

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Parliament returns, Monday, with little to do. The Trudeau government, nearing a year in office, is moving quickly on several fronts, while dragging its feet elsewhere. But like majority governments before them, the Liberals are concentrating power in the offices of the key ministers and in the Prime Minister’s Office. Behind those doors, some big decisions have to be made this fall.

Of pot and PR
A parliamentary committee must recommend by Dec. 1 how to replace the first-past-the-post system of electing MPs, as the Liberals have pledged to do. Some form of proportional representation, in which the number of seats a party has in the House mirrors its share of the popular vote – would have the support of the NDP and the Green Party. The Conservatives, arms folded, insist on a referendum to ratify whatever is proposed.

Meanwhile, another committee, headed by former health minister Anne McLellan, must report by November with recommendations on how to legalize the sale and purchase of recreational marijuana. Both initiatives could be introduced during the spring sitting of the House, which would make that sitting considerably busier and more interesting than this one is set up to be.

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