PM pans Poilievre for 'pulling stunts' by threatening to delay MPs' holidays with House tactics
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is threatening to delay MPs' holidays by throwing up thousands of procedural motions seeking to block the minority Liberal government's economic legislation until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backs off his carbon tax.
It's a move Government House Leader Karina Gould was quick to condemn as "completely irresponsible and completely reckless," and is warning the Official Opposition leader's "temper tantrum" tactics will impact Canadians.
"We're going to put in thousands of amendments at committee and in the House of Commons, forcing all night round-the-clock voting to block your $20 billion of inflationary spending and the rest of your economically destructive plans, until you agree to our demand to take the tax off farmers, First Nations, and families," Poilievre said Wednesday.
Poilievre made the threat during a morning caucus meeting where his MPs shouted "shame" over a Tuesday night vote in the Senate that saw senators narrowly pass an amendment to the controversial private members' bill, Bill C-234, regarding carbon tax carve-outs for farming fuels.
ACRIMONY FOLLOWS FARMING BILL VOTE
According to the Conservative senators who rejected the change and have been pushing forcefully to see the bill pass, the amendment has essentially "gutted" the bill and has effectively sent it to die in legislative limbo as it'll have to be referred back to the House.
Poilievre placed the blame on "Liberal" senators appointed by Trudeau, who Poilievre alleged were "intimidated" into voting to carve out the carbon tax relief from the bill.
Trudeau removed all senators from the Liberal caucus nearly a decade ago, and has since been appointing members of the upper chamber through an independent advisory process, though some of his appointees have had past party ties.
"I've got news for Justin Trudeau, you've ruined Christmas for Canadians. Common sense Conservatives are going to ruin your vacation as well," Poilievre said. "You will have no rest until the tax is gone."
Over the last few weeks, the Conservatives have quietly been putting on notice numerous motions seeking votes on line items of the government's spending plans and other committee agenda items.
If called, these votes could take up many hours of the eight remaining sitting days left in the House calendar during which the Liberals are pushing to pass a few priority bills, such as the fall economic statement implementation legislation, before a more than month-long holiday hiatus.
Gould said what Poilievre is threatening is "not leadership" and accused him of doing this for "his own personal aggrandizement."
"It will affect Canadians, because what he is doing is putting thousands of amendments on notice for things like the Sustainable Jobs Act. That's an 11-page bill. His party has put almost 20,000 amendments on it. And what are those amendments? They're all jokes. They're about amending the title, they're about amending specific words," Gould said.
"He is not threatening to hold Parliament hostage, but Canadians, because he is a bully and that's what he is trying to do right now," Gould said.
The Liberal legislative manager said Canadians should "see him for who he is," and meanwhile, the Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green parties will continue "working for Canadians."
In June, Poilievre threatened to filibuster the federal budget bill by calling hundreds of dilatory motions, vowing his caucus was ready to work "all summer long."
Ultimately, his party agreed to adjourn the spring sitting two days early.
While the Conservatives are suggesting they'll keep MPs from their holidays, they aren't in charge of making that call. Typically, unanimous consent is required to make changes to when MPs are sitting, or Trudeau would have to write to the Speaker to seek an extension, with cause enough for the House adjudicator to agree.
MP PULLED, TRUDEAU PANS 'PULLING STUNTS'
The drama over the Conservatives' plans and the setback delivered on the farming bill spilled into question period. While Trudeau panned Poilievre's approach as "pulling stunts," the Official Opposition leader accused his opponent of taxing food and making people "go hungry right before Christmas."
"It turns out the only farming the Conservative Party cares about is rage farming. All of this was just an attempt to fundraise off of the backs of farmers," Trudeau said.
"We have an Opposition leader who is so ideologically opposed to protecting the planet that he's willing to take Parliament hostage… The leader of the Opposition has threatened to ruin the holidays if his ideological demands are not met. Let us be clear, we will keep working for Canadians while the Conservative leader is only fuelled by the sound of his own voice."
As the raucous question period continued, Conservative MP Damien Kurek was ordered to leave the chamber for the remainder of the sitting day, after Deputy House Speaker Chris d'Entremont repeatedly asked him to apologize for using unparliamentarily language.
In a carbon tax question, Kurek said "the prime minister lied and his minions continue to lie." It is against the House Standing Order to accuse a colleague of lying, and after reminding the Conservative MP of this, inviting him to retract, Kurek instead doubled down.
"It's the truth. I will not apologize to the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker," he said. D'Entremont then instructed him to get out, and as he left he received a standing ovation from some of his Conservative colleagues. Kurek then clipped and shared the entire exchange on social media.