Interim Parliament House leader Steven MacKinnon endeavors to enhance civility in governmental proceedings.


On Monday, January 8, 2024, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Liberal Member of Parliament Steven MacKinnon addresses the media following his oath of office as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. (The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick) Interim Leader of the Liberal House Steven MacKinnon stressed on Monday that when the House of Commons reconvenes later this month, lawmakers of all stripes need to strike a more upbeat tone.

Shortly after taking the oath in a private ceremony at Rideau Hall, MacKinnon delivered these statements. While Karina Gould is on maternity leave, MacKinnon will serve as the Liberals’ temporary House of Commons manager.

“There’s definitely space for improvement,” MacKinnon said.

In order to move legislation through the lower house, the MP for Gatineau, Quebec, is now in charge of negotiating with other parties. This temporary change to the cabinet comes amid worries about the decline in decorum in the House of Commons, which was demonstrated last month by personal heckling and parliamentary scheming that resulted in an all-night voting marathon.

Despite the “testy” atmosphere in the House this past fall, MacKinnon vowed to maintain a “open-door policy” in order to build rapport with opposing parties.

In addition to asserting—a claim that the Conservatives rejected—that Liberals follow House rules more than parties that hinder legislation, MacKinnon also underlined the need for improved behavior from MPs of all parties, including his own. He said, “At times, the climate and the atmosphere inside the House of Commons are not conducive to recommending it as a workplace.”

“All Members of Parliament need to bring a commitment to better respect for the rules and institutions into the House of Commons,” he stated.

MacKinnon emphasized that the deal with the NDP to sustain the Liberal minority government includes progress on pharmacare as a crucial component and continues to be a top government goal. MacKinnon emphasized the significance of the Liberals’ goal of introducing pharmacare legislation by March, but he did not provide any details on how they intend to achieve this objective. Pharmacare legislation was supposed to be passed by the end of 2023, according to the original agreement with the NDP. However, late last year, the parties decided to postpone this. Their current goal is to present the bill by March 1.

MacKinnon was elected in 2015 and held the position of main government whip in 2021. Ruby Sahota, a member for Brampton North, will take over as government whip.

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