I have received many emails asking for clarification on the news reports that the Liberal government was attempting to usurp Parliament’s constitutionally-mandated power to legislate taxes and spending.
For the most part I have taken care not to focus too much on politics during the COVID-19 crisis. I believe my constituents want information on what is being done to help them, and expect Parliament to work together to deal with this crisis. These are unprecedented times. This is why our Conservative caucus has been flexible in our approach, while also continuing to ensure government oversight
This is what made the Liberal’s move so disappointing. We had agreed to recall Parliament and quickly pass the Liberal’s previously announced initiatives.
But the Liberals tried to use a public health crisis to give themselves the powers to raise taxes, debt and spending without parliamentary approval until January 1, 2022. This would have meant that the Government would not have had to answer to the people of Canada for almost two years. This plan was an incredible breach of our democratic tradition and an unprecedented and unconstitutional power-grab.
However, the Conservatives and NDP refused to grant unanimous consent to this plan. As a result, Parliament was suspended shortly after noon on Tuesday. After hours of negotiations, the Government backed down on those demands. Parliament resumed shortly after 3 AM on Wednesday morning to debate and pass the amended legislation.
I am very proud of the leadership of Andrew Scheer, Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen, and Shadow Minister of Finance Pierre Poilievre in ensuring that the constitutionally mandated role of Parliament was protected and that your voices would continue to be heard in Parliament.
With their leadership, we were able to pass a clean Bill with the Government’s previously announced initiatives to provide assistance to those who need it.
We can never allow a crisis to be an excuse for surrendering our rights to Government under the guise of “protection”.