Singh says NDP, Liberals having ‘ongoing’ discussions about fast-tracking legislation through Parliament

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says his party is engaged in “ongoing” discussions with the Liberals about a fast-tracking law, which both sides support, but is warning that his party’s government’s COVID-19 Strongly oppose the plan to reduce benefits.

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Mr Singh made the remarks to reporters on Monday when the Member of Parliament returned to the House of Commons for the first time since June. The first course of business is to elect the president on Monday afternoon. After this, the government will outline its policy priorities through the throne speech on Tuesday. The House is scheduled to sit for four weeks before retiring by January 31.

The federal election of 20 September produced a parliament with the same number in terms of party standings as it had before the campaign. A minority Liberal government would need the support of at least one other major party to win votes on spending and legislation in the House of Commons. In previous parliaments, the NDP often voted with the Liberals to approve government measures.

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“We are open to looking at ways to expedite the passage of bills that we agree to,” said Mr. Singh, who described discussions with liberals as “ongoing”, while also adding that no agreement has been reached.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced plans in October to end Canada Recovery Benefits, while expanding a more limited version of wage and rent support to businesses in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy.

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Extending trade support through May 7 is estimated to cost $7.4 billion and would require parliamentary approval, but Mr. Singh cautioned the government that his party was not on board with the plan.

“We’ve seen this government take an approach of cutting off helping people, and if they want to hurt people, and they’re going to bring in laws that will make it harder on people, they’re going to be conservative. or block for support, but we will vote against something that makes life worse for people,” he said.

Government House Leader Mark Holland said at a news conference Monday that immediate legislative priorities would include implementing 10 days of paid sick leave, pledging a campaign to protect health care workers from threats and intimidation, and Including reintroducing a bill that effectively bans the practice of conversion therapy. ,

Much of his news conference focused on raising questions about the Conservative Party’s approach to COVID-19 vaccines.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has said that all Conservative lawmakers in the House of Commons will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption.

Hollande said he does not know how many Conservative lawmakers have been exempted, but he is under the impression that there are a “majority” in that position. He did not say how he came to that conclusion, but called for an increased investigation.

“Given that we are dealing with public health, I am seeking reassurance on that. And to me, it already seems logical,” he said.

He also said he wants an all-party agreement on procedural rules for the House of Commons, including continuing the practice of hybrid meetings in which MPs can participate by remote video link. Conservatives and Block Québécois are opposed to hybrid meetings.

Mr O’Toole and the Conservatives did not schedule the Ottawa news conference for Monday and the Conservative leader’s office repeatedly declined to say how many of the party’s 119 lawmakers have been fully vaccinated.

Josie Sabatino, the acting communications director for the Leader of the Opposition’s office, said in a statement that with the exception of Conservative MP Richard Lehoux, who has tested positive for COVID-19, no Conservative MPs are in the House of Commons. are away due to reasons unrelated to the coronavirus or the House of Commons vaccine mandate. He did not elaborate.

Conservative MP and Deputy House Leader Michael Barrett addressed the issue during a CPAC interview on Monday.

“People have been asked and some have opted to share that information and others have not. And to be clear with you, I don’t know the numbers,” said Mr. Barrett. “The question we had for this was: are you going to be able to attend? Have you provided the house with the appropriate certificates? And we got a yes all around from our members.

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