Liberals in no rush to get back to work, say Opposition of two month gap between election and Parliament resuming – National Post

Posted: October 19, 2021 at 10:45 pm

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'Its clear that the $600 million "urgent" election was nothing more than a power grab for Justin Trudeau trying to secure a majority government'

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The Liberal government is taking too long to get MPs back to work in Ottawa, the Opposition charged Friday, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Parliament will return Nov. 22

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That means Parliament wont resume until 63 days after the Sept. 20 federal election.

Thats 63 days that Members of Parliament should be working in the House of Commons to address the pandemic, inflation, labour shortages, and a number of other issues important to Canadians, Conservative House Leader Grard Deltell said in a statement.

Its clear that the $600 million urgent election was nothing more than a power grab for Justin Trudeau trying to secure a majority government, and that he is in no rush to get back to work, Deltell said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said in his own statement that by waiting until Nov. 22, the Liberals are showing that they are not interested in helping struggling families and small businesses in this fourth wave of COVID-19.

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The House of Commons and the Senate rose for the summer in late June, making for a five-month break in between parliamentary sessions.

The Liberals also announced Friday the new federal Cabinet will be sworn in on Oct. 26. Following their re-election, the Liberals are down four female cabinet ministers, after Catherine McKenna chose not to run, and Maryam Monsef, Bernadette Jordan and Deb Schulte lost their seats. Trudeau has already announced Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will stay in her role.

Daniel Bland, a professor of political science at McGill University, said it could be taking time to announce a Cabinet because of the need to ensure gender balance and regional representation, and because more ministers will be moved around this time.

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There is the sense that well see a much bigger shuffle of major changes to the Cabinet than in 2019, Bland said.

Bland said historically, the time between elections and Parliament resuming varies, and there have been longer gaps than 63 days, but its the context of how the election was called thats leading to frustration. He cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the rationale Trudeau gave when he called the election in August, including that Parliament wasnt working and that he needed a clear mandate from Canadians to get the work done.

There is a sense that this is quite long, especially considering that there was an emergency to call elections to get things done, he said.

On Friday, the Liberals also outlined their priorities for when Parliament does return. That includes five COVID-19-related measures mandating vaccination for federal public servants, requiring proof of vaccination to board a plane or train, establishing an international proof of vaccination Canadians can use to travel overseas, funding provincial vaccine passports, and criminalizing harassment of health care workers.

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Early priorities include re-introducing legislation to ban harmful conversion therapy, moving ahead with 10-day paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers, and bringing the provinces and territories together to work on better sick leave for Canadians across the country, the press release said. It added other priorities are making home ownership more affordable, accelerating climate action, and reconciliation.

The government will also be working to get the provinces and territories who havent signed deals for $10-a-day child care on board, and will be focusing on the COVID-19 support benefits that many Canadians and businesses still rely on.

The Liberals said they will be working with the opposition parties to ensure all MPs are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Canadians expect their elected representatives to lead by example in the fight against this virus, and the Prime Minister will be raising this with other leaders, the release said.

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Not mentioned in the press release were three internet regulation bills the Liberal platform promised would be introduced in the first 100 days of the new parliamentary session, two of which stand to draw controversy over their impact on free speech and Canadians constitutional rights. That includes the reintroduction of controversial broadcasting bill C-10, which would allow the CRTC to regulate what social media content Canadians see in order to ensure the promotion of Canadian content.

Experts have also urged the government to send the upcoming online harms bills back to the drawing board, citing numerous issues with the proposal. Allowing social media platforms to proactively monitor and take down social media posts, as the government has proposed doing, amounts to censorship, they said.

Given the Nov. 22 return date, Parliament will only have a few weeks before its interrupted again for the holidays. That means committees wont have much, if any, time to get their work underway before the New Year.

Bland said coming back even a couple of weeks earlier could have made a difference.

It doesnt seem that they have any sense of urgency, on the part of Trudeau and his team, to get back to work, which is a bit puzzling, at least if you take seriously the rhetoric that they used to justify the federal election in the first place, he said.

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Liberals in no rush to get back to work, say Opposition of two month gap between election and Parliament resuming - National Post

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