Ottawa unveils new vaccine mandate for travelers and federal employees
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil on Oct. 26 the roster of cabinet ministers who will shepherd his government into a third mandate focused on finishing the fight against COVID-19 and rebuilding the pandemic-ravaged economy.
His ministers will then have about a month to settle into their jobs before Parliament is recalled on Nov. 22 -- just over two months after the Sept. 20 election returned Trudeau's Liberals with a second consecutive minority.
In a written statement, Trudeau's office says the prime minister plans to talk by phone with opposition leaders early next week to discuss Canadians' priorities and how the House of Commons should resume operations as the fourth wave of the pandemic continues to rage.
Among the first orders of business, the statement says, will be working with opposition leaders to ensure all members of Parliament are fully vaccinated before setting foot in the Commons -- an issue on which the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and NDP are in agreement.
But it creates a potential conflict with Conservative Leader Erin OToole, who has refused so far to disclose how many of his MPs have had two shots and who continues to defend the right of individuals to make their own personal health choices.
At the same time, the Conservatives want the Commons to resume normal, in-person operations and are adamantly opposed to any continuation of the hybrid model -- with only a small number of MPs physically in the chamber and the rest participating virtually -- used during the earlier waves of the pandemic.
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