The Liberal government is preparing to break a month-old deadlock over parliamentary reform and seems ready to make substantive changes to the way the House of Commons works, with or without opposition support.
The government’s intention is outlined in a letter from Government House leader Bardish Chagger to her Conservative and New Democrat counterparts that was delivered on Sunday.
In the letter, Chagger says the government will introduce a motion in the House that includes a set of reforms that were promised in the last Liberal campaign platform, including changes to question period, the consideration of omnibus legislation, and the process through which MPs approve government spending.
The motion is to be introduced before the House adjourns for the summer in June.
The Liberals, with a majority of seats in the House, would be able to approve the changes without the support of MPs in other parties, a possibility that has been at the heart of a messy dispute between the government and opposition.
“In the last election, Canadians were tired of how Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had abused Parliament, so we really offered them real change and that’s where some of our campaign commitments came from,” Chagger said in an interview on Sunday.
“We have a mandate to really advance those changes and we really do want to deliver on the commitments that we’ve made to Canadians.”
Repeating an argument the government has made on this issue, she said the Liberals “will not give the Conservatives a veto over any of our campaign commitments.”
Chagger says she is interested in a “meaningful debate” and argues that the changes included in the motion will make the government more accountable to Parliament. But she suggests the government is committed to delivering on its promises of reform, regardless of opposition support.
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