Home » Liberals push forward with COVID-19 bill despite likely impasse

Liberals push forward with COVID-19 bill despite likely impasse

by newsking24

The Liberals are pushing forward with a contentious piece of emergency legislation that would extend COVID-19 aid programs, even though opposition parties appear unlikely to allow it to move forward quickly.

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez says the bill is the quickest and most efficient way to get help to some of the most vulnerable Canadians impacted by the pandemic, and he hopes the other parties will give unanimous consent to allow the bill to be debated today.

The bill would bring in a number of promised measures, including benefits for Canadians with disabilities and an expansion of the wage-subsidy program to include seasonal workers and some additional businesses.

But it would also impose penalties for fraudulently claiming the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) — a move that appears to have no support among the main opposition parties.

Watch | ‘These changes matter’: Qualtrough says of new COVID response bill

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough faces a battle with the opposition over a bill to increase benefits for seniors and people with disabilities while laying out penalties for fraud. 0:57

The Liberals need unanimous consent from all MPs in the House of Commons to allow the bill to be debated today, but all three main opposition parties have raised objections to the bill.

In his negotiations with opposition House leaders, Rodriguez says he does not feel they are heading toward unanimous consent, but he says he remains an optimist and hopes things can change.

He also expressed disappointment at the indications coming from the other parties that they may block the bill from moving forward, as it contains measures they have been pushing government to adopt, including help for Canadians with disabilities.

Watch | ”Why aren’t they allowing the debate today?’: Rodriguez

Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez says he’s “disappointed” that other parties won’t debate proposed CERB fraud legislation today because it also includes measures they’ve pushed to be adopted, including help for Canadians with disabilities and seasonal workers. 1:03

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