‘Power grab’: Opposition parties lambaste Liberals, NDP for deal keeping Trudeau in power until 2025

‘We are in a democracy, and we are not forced to believe what (Trudeau) believes, to do what he commands, and to agree with whatever he says or does’

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OTTAWA — Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs lambasted both the Liberals and NDP for their pact on Tuesday, accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “desperately clinging” to power and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh of “voting on command” for the government.

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The day was marked by an unusual political agreement between two federal parties and an even more circus-like question period than usual in the House of Commons.

The deal between the Liberals and the NDP — leaked on Monday night and announced on Tuesday — was greeted with vitriol and skepticism by the other two main opposition parties. It guarantees Trudeau will stay in power until 2025 in exchange for moving forward on New Democrat promises such as creating national pharmacare and dental-care programs.

Despite his signed support for the Liberals for the next three years, Singh told reporters he had not given Trudeau carte blanche to do anything he wants.

“We will remain an opposition party. We will continue putting questions to the government. We will vote against things. We have that power, and we will continue to use it,” Singh said. “We also have the option of withdrawing our agreement.”

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Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen accused Trudeau of having “hoodwinked” and “deceived” Canadians by forming an “NDP-Liberal majority government.”

“This is nothing more than a Justin Trudeau power grab, he is desperately clinging to power,” she told a morning press conference. “Make no mistake the NDP are in charge.”

She then accused both parties of conspiring to decimate the Canadian oil and gas and natural resource sector, going so far as saying that they are thus propping up Russia and President Vladimir Putin as he wages a bloody invasion of Ukraine.

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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused Singh of becoming the Liberals’ lackey in the House of Commons and creating an unneeded “false” Liberal majority government.

“There was no emergency, there was no instability, and there were surely other priorities, namely taking care of people who are living in much more distress than the prime minister’s career plans,” Blanchet told reporters.

He argued that both parties would now have more power to trample on provincial jurisdictions such as health care.

He also fought back against Trudeau’s accusations that the deal was necessary because “toxic partisanship” and “dysfunction” was bogging down Parliament.

“Anybody who is not in agreement with Mr. Trudeau is qualified as being toxic. We are in a democracy, and we are not forced to believe what he believes, to do what he commands, and to agree with whatever he says or does,” the Bloc leader said.

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The accusations and thinly veiled insults continued during a particularly rowdy question period in the House of Commons in the afternoon that annoyed even Deputy Speaker Chris D’Entremont as he tried and failed to keep heckling MPs under control.

When Singh began asking a question to Trudeau, Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs used their pens to tap the water glasses on their desks, replicating the common custom of wedding guests beckoning newlyweds to kiss during their marriage reception.

“Mr. Speaker, these bells ringing are not ideal for me,” Trudeau told D’Entremont at one point in the middle of a response.

“We don’t need to be ringing bells, we don’t need to be yelling and screaming,” D’Entremont then scolded MPs.

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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh of creating an unneeded “false” Liberal majority government.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet accused NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh of creating an unneeded “false” Liberal majority government. Photo by Patrick Doyle/Reuters

Only the Green Party of Canada had something positive to say about the deal, with Interim Leader Amita Kuttner and MPs Elizabeth May and Michael Morrice saying they were “happy” to support it.

“We’re very glad to see the spirit of cooperation. It’s something we’ve always championed, we’re happy to work for and we’re glad to see no matter who’s doing it. We’re also very happy to see commitments to pharmacare and dental care, especially for children,” Kuttner told reporters.

All NDP and Liberal MPs who publicly spoke about the pact on Tuesday said they agreed with it.

But not all New Democrats were happy: Camille Esther Garon, a star NDP candidate in Quebec City in 2021 told other faithful party on Twitter that it was OK to feel betrayed, bittersweet and even disappointed.

She said she fears the Liberals will “backstab” her party before 2025 by calling a snap election before then.

“I’m gonna say it without any shame: I don’t believe we will have pharmacare or dental care very soon,” she wrote.

• Email: cnardi@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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