It took five ballots yesterday to elect a Speaker. A process that began at 10 am went on until nearly 4.30 in the afternoon, but in the end, only one contender could emerge victorious. That contender was Peter Milliken, who once again takes the chair for his fourth consecutive session.
So what's next? The Speech From the Throne, of course. At 1.30 this afternoon, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean will arrive at the Peace Tower to get things under way. Things we can look forward to – Her Excellency inspecting the troops outside the Centre Block to the sound of a twenty-one gun salute, summoning the MPs from the Commons to attend her in the Senate chamber, where other notable figures such as the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada will also be in attendance, in their white-mink-trimmed scarlet robes and other such finery. Her Excellency will then deliver a speech that hopefully won't be so awful that she looks like she wants to cry (like she did with the Conservatives' first Speech From the Throne).
Uniforms? Pageantry? You bet. I'm looking forward to it.
In other news, Martin Cauchon has officially opted out of the Liberal leadership race. Cauchon was Jean Chrétien's Justice Minister at the time that Chrétien began the process of legalising same-sex marriage and decriminalising marijuana – both things that Cauchon argued in favour of. While marriage was eventually passed, decriminalisation was a victim of Conservative ideology. The speculation is now that Cauchon will throw his support behind Bob Rae, as he did in the 2006 leadership campaign, giving Rae a boost to his Québec organisation.