OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – MPs are returning to Parliament Hill for their last sitting before the fall election, and the first one in the new House of Commons. But that will be overshadowed by the latest controversies in the dispute with China.
It’s supposed to be a special day, with the temporary House of Commons opening in West Block.
But the spotlight will be on China and the forced resignation of ambassador John McCallum over the weekend.
The prime minister is expected to take a grilling from the opposition after McCallum twice broke ranks with the government by weighing in on the legal case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s arrest at YVR Airport in December. McCallum suggested it would be good if the U.S. dropped its extradition request.
Critics say those words undermine our closest ally and could be political involvement in a court case Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted would be free of interference.
Conservatives also question if this was really just words of a rogue ambassador or if it’s actually a failed political strategy to appease the Chinese government as it holds two Canadians in detention and has a third sitting on death row.
In his statement, Trudeau offered no explanation for asking the ambassador to resign. But on Monday, the opposition will be looking for answers.
But this won’t be the only contentious topic in the spring. Maclean’s Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes says the federal carbon tax will also be in the cross-hairs, as both the Liberals and Conservatives use it as wedge for their voters.
“A test for the government: Can they sell that thing? A point of test, for the opposition: Can they successfully frame it as a bad thing for Canadians?”
Your pocketbooks will also be on focus, as the Liberals unveil a pre-election budget that will likely have goodies and a lot of heated rhetoric, as MPs prepare for their campaigns.