June 20, 2019 / 10:25 PM / 2 months ago

Canada's House of Commons rises for the summer ahead of election

FILE PHOTO: The Canadian flag flies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa August 2, 2015. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian House of Commons adjourned for its summer recess on Thursday, kicking off a pre-election campaign period for the 338 seats up for grabs at the October national election.

The election is expected to be called before the House of Commons is set to return on Sept. 16. The Canadian Senate, an unelected body, is set to adjourn as early as next week.

Lawmakers will now be free to spend time in their electoral districts until the election is formally called, but one issue that could see Canadian politicians return to Ottawa earlier than planned is trade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has been under pressure to ratify the United States-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement (USMCA) before Canadians head to the polls. After the election is formally called, the House of Commons cannot be reconvened.

Trudeau has said Canada’s ratification process will be in step with that of the United States, where top level Democrats have raised concerns about the trilateral trade pact and are pushing for changes.

Mexico became the first country to ratify the USMCA on Wednesday.

The Canadian prime minister was in Washington on Thursday where he met with U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lobbied for a rapid USMCA ratification.

The United States is Canada’s top trading partner, taking in three-quarters of all its exported goods.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Sandra Maler

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