The Liberals’ regular Wednesday caucus meeting was cancelled because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and severalÂ Montreal-area MPs wanted to be in Montreal forÂ the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations.
âWe went to a birthday party,â Caucus Chair Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Que.) told The Hill Times in an interview on his way back to Ottawa from Montreal on Wednesday morning.
Montrealâwhich just last week was in a state of crisis due to devastating floodingâcelebrated the anniversary of the May 17, 1642, founding of the city with events such as: the ringing of church bells around the city; a special mass at the Notre-Dame Basilica attended by Mr. Trudeau (Papineau,Que.), his wife Sophie GrĂ©goire Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre; and a tribute to the cityâs founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 17, 2017
There are more birthday activities scheduled for later this evening, but Liberal MPs were heading back down the Trans-Canada Highway around lunchtime in order to attend Question Period.
— Anju Dhillon (@adhillonDLL) May 17, 2017
Mr. Scarpaleggia said the caucus executive decided to allow MPs who wanted to be in Montreal for the festivities the option to do so, and added that cancelling a caucus meeting has happened on âone or two occasionsâ before.
âItâs a big deal, this Montreal 375th, and so the prime minister obviously had to be there, and we wanted to be there as well,â he said.
Mr. Scarpaleggia added that caucus would return to its regularly scheduled meetings in Centre Blockâs Reading Room, 237-C, on Wednesday, May 31. The House is on recess next week.
— MĂ©lanie Joly (@melaniejoly) May 17, 2017
Despite the cancelled national caucus, some regional caucuses still met on Wednesday morning to discuss ongoing regional issues and to plan future business, including the Quebec regional caucus, which had a smaller attendance considering the dozen or so MPs who were with Mr. Trudeau in Montreal.
âIt was an opportunity for us to discuss, perhaps, more regional issues. Itâs an opportunity for us to have a smaller group. âŠ There is always planning, we always look ahead in the calendar of whatâs coming in terms of bills, in terms of the schedule, whatâs happening over the next few weeks,â said Quebec Caucus Chair RĂ©mi MassĂ© (Avignon-La Mitis-Matane-MatapĂ©dia, Que.), adding that one of the topics currently up for discussion is the planning of the summer Quebec caucus meeting.