Last Tuesday, residents in Kelowna-Lake Country awoke to the news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh had reached a backroom agreement.
The deal will see the NDP support the government on budgets and other confidence votes through 2025 in exchange for adding NDP priorities to the government’s agenda.
A government’s mandate is meant to come from Canadian voters, not the backroom operatives of political parties. Canadians gave the Liberal Party a second minority government at the last election. They did so to keep the accountability of Parliament.
Parties elected to serve as the opposition, often work collaboratively and cooperatively to hold the government to account. I have experienced this first-hand on committees. The Liberal-NDP deal gives the government a blank check on many decisions for the next three years in exchange for putting forth NDP priorities.
One of my greatest concerns, is with reported information on the agreement giving the NDP MPs access and advantages. It’s been reported there will be extra meetings between the party leaders and senior caucus members, advance notice given to the NDP of certain votes and extra collaboration between these two parties on committees.
These activities go against collaboration between all parties, particularly between opposition parties, for accountability and to hold the government to account.
It’s also been reported there is a formal, written agreement between the Liberals and NDP. The Official Opposition has asked for this agreement to be disclosed to the public. If political operatives have written an agreement to direct the government for the next three years, the public deserves to see it.
One of the early examples of how this new parliament will function was the Liberals and New Democrats choosing to vote down the Conservatives call for the federal government to end its federal vaccine mandates. That came after twice previously asking for a plan.
Every one of the 10 provincial governments have now either entirely lifted mandates and restrictions, partially done so or published their intent to do so.
While the speed of lifting may vary, no provincial medical officer of health has said these restrictions must continue. Even Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said we’re now within means to live with the virus.
In the House of Commons, I asked the prime minister what information the federal Liberals and NDP had that medical health officers did not. There was no answer to my question.
The Liberal Party and it new partner, the NDP, beg to differ from health experts. They refuse to publish the metrics they’ll use to lift restrictions on federally mandated industries and on federal employees. Their decision on this appears to be political rather than based on science.
Maintaining the mandates on federal employees leaves our public services needlessly underserved. One less postal worker, EI claims advisor, pilot or RCMP officer may not sound like a lot, but it will slow and weaken the reliability of service that Canadians rely on. I hear from people losing their livelihoods and from people affected by federal service delays. Most of these jobs were deemed essential throughout the pandemic and people in these positions worked safely and stepped up to serve. I’ve also heard from people who work from home, who still fall within the government’s rules.
We need to have common sense when making government policies. Medical science, not political posturing, should guide our decisions both for keeping people safe and for economic recovery.
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