Canada

NDP join Liberals to cut short debate, move pandemic election bill forward

OTTAWA — New Democrats have joined forces with the Liberals to cut short initial debate on a bill aimed at ensuring a federal election could be held safely, if need be, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move ensures that Bill C-19 will be put to a second reading vote Tuesday, allowing it to be referred to a House of Commons committee for greater scrutiny and potential amendments.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says the move short-circuits democracy on a bill meant to protect democracy.

Conservatives are complaining bitterly that they’ve had only four hours to debate the bill since it was introduced almost five months ago.

But they also ate up the three hours that were supposed to be devoted to C-19 today, using a procedural tactic that forced the Commons to debate instead a committee report on the Line 5 pipeline dispute with Michigan.

NDP MP Daniel Blaikie says his party supported time allocation on C-19 after the Conservatives made it clear they’re only interested in blocking the bill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021.

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