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Liberals accuse Tories of ‘hijacking’ Parliament after threatening to filibuster

But Liberal House leader Mark Holland says the federal government won’t cower over the Tory threats
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Flanked by Conservative Finance and Middle Class Prosperity critic Jasraj Singh Hallan and Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman and other members of Parliament, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre speaks with reporters in the Foyer of the House of Commons, Monday, June 5, 2023 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is threatening to use procedural tools to delay passage of the federal budget in the House of Commons if the Liberals don’t meet his demands.

But Liberal House leader Mark Holland says the federal government won’t cower over the Tory threats.

“We will continue to work through their juvenile tactics. They can ride tricycles, through Parliament if they want to. But we will get the work of Parliament done,” Holland told reporters Monday (June 5).

During a news conference earlier in the day, Poilievre outlined two conditions to avoid potential filibustering by his party.

He called on the government to present a plan to balance its budget “in order to bring down inflation and interest rates” and demanded the Liberals cancel any future increases to the carbon price.

Poilievre argued that by reducing spending, the federal government could make the Bank of Canada’s job of fighting inflation easier. And in turn, that would allow the Bank of Canada to cut interest rates sooner, he said.

“If the government does not meet these demands, we will use all procedural tools at our disposal to block the budget from passing,” Poilievre said.

Those tools include amendments and lengthy speeches, he said.

Poilievre’s threat comes as MPs gear up for their summer break, with the Commons set to rise June 23. Members are attending extended sittings every day until midnight to get bills passed before the break.

Holland, responsible for coordinating with other federal parties on bills in Parliament, said stalling tactics have already begun and he accused Conservative MPs of faking technical difficulties Friday.

“It is a hijacking of Parliament,” Holland said.

The House leader said MPs will continue to sit until the budget bill is passed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also played down the threat made by Poilievre. “The Conservative leader has no plan for the economy, proposes nothing but cuts.”

Trudeau said blocking the bill would amount to blocking support for Canadians, including enhancement of the Canada Workers Benefit.

“These are real-life consequences for the political and partisan games that the leader of the official Opposition is engaging in,” Trudeau said.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2023 budget in March after promising to keep spending plans restrained, given inflation is still high.

However, the fiscal projections in the budget show no end in sight for federal deficits despite the fall budget update in November projecting a balanced budget in 2027-28.

Following the release of federal and provincial budgets, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said that while government spending was not helping to bring down inflation, it was also not pushing it higher.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

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