Prime Minister Justin Trudeau portrayed parliament as a “toxic” and “obstructive” place and opposed his minority government agenda, which has fueled speculation about a possible election later this year.
The Liberal Party’s budget enforcement bill is one of the legislation being debated in the House of Commons, and the bill is set to expire in the summer on Wednesday.
With time running out for the pending bill to pass, Trudeau and his ministers have been calling on the opposition Conservative Party to use procedural tactics to delay voting.
On Tuesday, Trudeau said that with the help of the Quebec Group and the New Democratic Party, his government has promoted a ban on conversion therapy and made it possible for Canada to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century (both introduced last fall).
The Prime Minister said that he welcomed the parliamentary review of the work of the government, but it was disturbing to find that opposition lawmakers asked the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada to publicly humiliate in the House of Commons for failing to release information.
Conservatives said that the agency needs to explain in detail why two scientists were escorted out of Canada’s highest security laboratory in Winnipeg two years ago and were eventually fired, indicating that security issues in China may be involved.
But Trudeau said that PHAC Chairman Iain Stewart’s recent admonition to lead the agency in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic was motivated by “purely partisan political purposes.”
Trudeau said outside the steps of Rideau Cottage: “We have seen a certain degree of obstruction and toxicity in the house, which is really worrying,” he said after going to Europe to attend an international conference and was quarantined under COVID-19 regulations.
“You never know when the election will come”
Inside the House of Representatives, a government official responded to the difficulties that this moment posed for opposition parties and political authorities.
“One of the unquestionable problems with minority parliaments is that you never know when the election will come,” said Mark Grayson, a member of Ontario and a permanent member of the House of Representatives.
“Regardless of whether the rumors are true or not, according to traditional views, two years must be equal to the standard length of the minority parliament.”
October will be two years after Trudeau was re-elected after forming a majority government for the first time in 2015.
At a meeting of the House of Commons late on Monday night, the Liberal Party’s proposed changes to the Canadian Broadcasting Law were passed during the third reading and will be submitted to the Senate.
Conservative MPs strongly opposed the C-10 bill and voted against it, saying that it gives the government the power to monitor Canadians’ social media and calling it an attack on freedom of speech.
“If this controversial bill is passed, the Conservative government will support Canadians and repeal this severely flawed legislation,” Alan Reyes, a critic of the party’s heritage, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Only Canada’s Conservative Party will continue to fight for Canadian freedom.”
Another vote faced by lawmakers is to propose a ban on the widely condemned practice of changing someone’s LGBTQ status to heterosexual, which the Liberal government reintroduced last fall after adjourned last summer.
Some Conservative MPs rallied to oppose the government’s definition of conversion therapy, saying that it not only criminalizes coercive practices, but also violates people’s ability to speak freely and seek help on sexual and gender issues.
His press secretary said before the vote on Tuesday that, despite his concerns from backbenchers, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole would vote for the ban on conversion therapy.