Liberals block Conservatives' attempt to delay budget
Josh Dehaas, with files from CTV's Annie Bergeron-Oliver
Published Sunday, March 17, 2019 6:16PM EDT
The Liberals have foiled a Conservative plan to delay Tuesday’s budget by forcing up to 40 hours of votes in the House of Commons to protest what the Tories say is a “gag order” on former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould.
The Conservatives’ filibuster-like tactic of scheduling 257 fiscal votes starting on Monday evening will no longer be possible after the Liberals moved the Conservatives’ “opposition day” from Monday to Wednesday, after the budget is already delivered.
A spokesperson from the office of Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Bardish Chagger confirmed the opposition day had been moved and called the Conservatives’ plan a “stunt” and accused them of playing “political games.”
“It’s clear that Stephen Harper’s party which shut down Parliament twice when it was in power hasn’t changed its colours (sic) in Opposition under Andrew Scheer,” the statement goes on.
Earlier in the day, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre told reporters that Conservatives would “use every parliamentary tool in the toolkit to end the coverup and let (Wilson-Raybould) speak.”
Wilson-Raybould testified at the Justice Committee last month that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other top Liberals pressured her and issued veiled threats related to her decision over to proceed with the prosecution of Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.
Wilson-Raybould has so far been limited by the prime minister from speaking about what occurred after she was shuffled out of her job as attorney general and minister of justice. She has suggested there is more she would say if the government’s solicitor-client privilege was lifted.
“You’ll recall that Justin Trudeau imposed a gag order on Jody Wilson-Raybould with respect to events that occurred after she left the post of attorney general but before she resigned from cabinet,” Poilievre said Sunday. “This period is incredibly important in getting to the truth.”
Last week, the Liberal majority on the Justice Committee shut down debate on a motion to have Wilson-Raybould testify again. The motion will now be considered behind closed doors on Tuesday, just as much of Ottawa will be focused on what’s in the Liberals’ budget.
Poilievre said he predicts “a massive public backlash if Justin Trudeau tries to cover up this scandal and shut down the investigation into his role in it.”
He said he believes the Liberals will try to use the budget to “spray money in all directions in hopes that Canadians will be distracted by the sights of their own money flying at them."
In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that failing to let Wilson-Raybould give more testimony would amount to “obstruction.”