Canada Opposition parties call out Trudeau over slow restart of Parliament
The West Block – Episode 4, Season 11
Watch the full episode of The West Block with host Mercedes Stephenson – Nov 21, 2021.Episode 4, Season 11
With the newly re-elected Liberal government more than a month into its third term and Parliament still not up and functioning as normal, the Opposition Conservatives are accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of dragging his heels.
"The prime minister said he was calling a pandemic election because it was a pivotal time for our country," Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said Tuesday during his speech in reply to the throne speech in the House of Commons.
Venezuela: Juan Guaido calls unity after the failure of the regional elections
© PHOTO / ARIANA CUBILLOS The head of the Venezuelan opposition and president by self-proclaimed interior, Juan Guaido, at his conference press November 22, 2021 in Caracas. In Venezuela, the count of the bulletins of the municipal and regional elections continues, in particular to clarify the situation of two states that we do not yet know the winner. If the opposition finally won more than a hundred municipalities, the results remain catastrophic for opponents of Nicolas Maduro.
The Conservative leader said Trudeau "took his sweet time to bring the House of Commons back to be accountable to Canadians at this pivotal time. So pivotal that, three months after, he has still not put in place the full structure of government, committees and Parliament."
The Parliamentary committees that scrutinize legislation have not yet been assembled and parliamentary secretaries — MPs who help ministers carry out their duties — still have not been named by Trudeau.
The House leaders for the parties met Tuesday afternoon to discuss a way forward for committees and legislation but it could be next week before Parliament has its committees up and operating.
Earlier in the day, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Mark Holland said committees could be up and running by Christmas with agreement from the other parties.
30 A-list actors whose early roles you've completely forgotten about
From teen soap operas to Scorsese blockbusters
During the federal election, the Liberals promised more than a dozen initiatives within the first 100 days of a new mandate — including the introduction or reintroduction of at least eight bills.
If Oct. 26 — the day the federal cabinet was sworn in — marked the start of that 100 day period, the government only has until Feb. 3, or 24 sitting days in the House, to make significant moves on its legislative agenda.
Looking for dance partners
The Liberals have introduced three bills so far: one banning conversion therapy (Bill C-4), another extending and tweaking pandemic supports (Bill C-2) and a third (Bill C-3) to protect health care workers and patients from intimidation and obstruction while trying to deliver or seek medical treatment. C-3 would also give all federally regulated workers ten days of paid sick leave.
The Liberals could introduce a motion in the House of Commons to fast-track one or all of those bills to a final vote in the House. Such a motion would require only a simple majority in order to pass.
John Ivison: Will inflation leave Trudeau with a bloody nose?
Now the Canadian Senate has moved off Parliament Hill, it really is the Outer Mongolia of our political institutions. But since it’s nice to go anywhere these days, I headed down to watch the new Governor General Mary Simon read the Throne Speech in Inuktitut, English and what may have been French. It proved instructive. At one point, when the Usher of the Black Rod had been dispatched to round up some MPs to witness the opening of the 44th Parliament, Senator Patrick Brazeau approached Justin Trudeau and waved his pony-tail — which the latter infamously lopped off after their boxing match — the Thrilla on the Hilla — back in 2012. “We had a good chat,” Brazeau said.
With their minority government, the Liberals would need the support of at least one other federal party to pass such a motion. And while the NDP has demonstrated a willingness to support some Liberal initiatives, the party says it's also frustrated with the slow pace.
NDP opposed to Bill C-2
"We haven't been able to get the work done we've needed to, and that's because the Trudeau government called an unnecessary and self-serving election, and then waited months to resume Parliament. Frankly, there is not enough time to get everything done that needs to get done," NDP MP Peter Julian told CBC News in an emailed statement.
The NDP says that it will work with the Liberals to pass legislation to protect health care workers and patients, introduce sick pay and ban conversion therapy before Christmas — but they have concerns with Bill C-2.
After the legislation was introduced, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his party couldn't support a bill that would cut help for workers unable to access employment insurance.
Singh also has said that he wants the Liberal government to help low income seniors who have seen their Guaranteed Income Supplement clawed back, and families who have had the same experience with their Canada Child Benefit, because they took pandemic supports over the past 18 months.
The Liberals could seek backing for their pandemic support bill from another party willing to fast-track it, but no such deal has been publicly discussed.
Conservatives fast-tracked conversion therapy bill to avoid a fight they would surely lose .
OTTAWA – Conservatives decided to push through the Liberals proposed ban on conversion therapy — even though more than half of their MPs voted against it in the last Parliament — to avoid a fight they envisaged losing a second time. One Conservative MP said there was an open debate about it in caucus and a general consensus that another protracted debate over the issue would do the party little good. “There was a long conversation about the bill and we polled the room,” said the MP who spoke on background in order to discuss internal caucus deliberations.