Liberal majority wants greater control over timing in House of Commons

The Liberals are trying to change the rules of the parliamentary game to give their majority government even more power over how and when things happen in the House of Commons.

OTTAWA — The Liberals are trying to change the rules of the parliamentary game to give their majority government even more power over how and when things happen in the House of Commons.

Government House leader Dominic LeBlanc mounted a strenuous defence Wednesday of a controversial motion that his political rivals decried as an unprecedented affront to parliamentary democracy.

“In no other workplace is it acceptable to arrive at work and pull the fire alarm and make all your colleagues cancel their meetings at committees,” LeBlanc fumed during question period, returning fire on the opposition benches.

LeBlanc has filed notice of a motion that would give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet more control over the ins and outs of parliamentary business.

If the Liberals get their way, a day in the House of Commons would not end — and the summer break would not begin — until a cabinet minister or parliamentary secretary moves to adjourn proceedings.

The motion would also make it harder for the opposition to surprise the government like they did on Monday, when the Liberals had to scramble to their seats for a snap vote on proposed changes to Air Canada legislation.

The opposition said the Liberals are merely trying to extract a measure of payback for the embarrassing near-miss, which required Speaker Geoff Regan to cast a vote in order to break a 139-to-139 tie.

“It’s one thing for the government to use the tools that are available to it to implement its agenda,” Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer said Wednesday after the weekly caucus meeting.

“It’s another thing to take away tools from the opposition, and that’s what’s we’re seeing … this is a very undemocratic proposal by the government and I think it speaks to, perhaps, bruised ego or pride about what happened on Monday when their members weren’t here to work.”

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said the controversy should matter to Canadians, even if parliamentary procedure can be a little dry.

“This attempt to put a straightjacket on Parliament deprives Canadians of their most important democratic institution,” he said.

“It’s childish petulance by the Liberals, who almost lost a vote this week, who are now trying to put their straightjacket on Parliament and submit to their majority will, even though that majority is only 39% of Canadians.”

LeBlanc said it was all about making sure they are able to pass important legislation in a timely manner, something he said the opposition has given the Liberals no confidence they would otherwise allow them to do.

“It shouldn’t surprise Canadians that we feel strongly that Parliament should be allowed to vote on government legislation in an orderly and responsible way, at the same time balancing the ability of all members of Parliament to speak — and that’s why we’ve consistently tried to allow for more debate.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Red Deer says its roundabouts have sharply reduced the number of injury collisions at a pair of busy intersections. Alberta Transportation wants to incorporate five roundabouts into plans to twin Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Highway 11 roundabouts will increase safety based on Red Deer’s experience

Injury collisions sharply reduced at roundabout intersections in city

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

Alberta reported an additional 643 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province now has… Continue reading

About 110 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in March for Life rally in Edmonton May 9. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school has COVID-19 case

St. Joseph High School in Red Deer confirmed a positive COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Lacombe High School logo.
Two more COVID-19 cases at Lacombe Composite High School

Lacombe Composite High School confirmed two more positive COVID-19 cases at the… Continue reading

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

FILE - Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron sits for a portrait after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, in this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)
Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Hank Aaron, baseball’s one-time home run king, dies at 86

Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson (55) passes the ball around Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Powell, Raptors regroup after blowing lead, beat Heat 101-81

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

Tavares scores winner on power play, Leafs beat Oilers 4-2

David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, speaks during the Olympic Partnership kick off event at the Sobey's office in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, October 7, 2019. Shoemaker says the IOC remains committed to staging the Summer Games in Tokyo this summer.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Canada’s Olympic athletes try to tune out reports six months from Games

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley lifts the Voyageurs Cup after beating Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2 to win the Canadian Championship Final in Toronto on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Forge FC-Toronto FC Canadian Championship final to be played before April 6

Canada's Penny Oleksiak reacts after her heat of the women's 50m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Friday, July 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lee Jin-man
Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Penny Oleksiak, Kylie Masse among six swimmers named early to Canadian Olympic team

Ontario skip Glenn Howard watches a rock as they play Newfoundland and Labrador in draw 15 action at the Tim Hortons Brier curling championship at Mile One Centre in St. John's on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Curling Canada has decided to use the national ranking system as its selection criteria for the final wild-card berths at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Canadian rankings to be used to determine final wild-card spots at Scotties and Brier

Most Read