Federal opposition leaders met with their parliamentary caucuses today — and both the Conservative and NDP leaders put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on notice that he’s coming back to a Parliament eager to hold him to account.
“Vacation time is over. No more free rides,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said. “Canada needs us. Canadians need their government to work for them, so let’s get to work.”
Scheer congratulated his team for working hard to knock the Liberals down to a minority government, praising two new Conservative MPs over their recent victories.
Michael Kram defeated Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale in the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Wascana, while Richard Lehoux beat Maxime Bernier, a former Conservative cabinet minister and current leader of the People’s Party of Canada, in the Quebec riding of Beauce.
Scheer said Canada had never been a more divided nation and promised to fight for workers across the country, arguing the Conservatives are “the only party that can heal this country.”
The Conservative leader accused Trudeau of delaying the return of Parliament because he’s afraid of what he’ll face in the House of Commons.
“Our economy is slowing down and the threat of a global recession is very real. And Canada, instead of being in a position of strength, is on shaky ground,” Scheer said.
“Trudeau’s never ending deficits and out of control spending not only threaten the livelihoods of future generations, but he’s also weakened our ability to respond in times of crisis.”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, said that while his caucus members are ready to work with Trudeau, the prime minister should not take their support for granted.
“We know if Mr Trudeau just wants to stay in power he can continue to find support from the Bloc or Conservatives to stay in power,” he said.
Singh said he is looking for a number of specific things in Thursday’s throne speech, including bolder targets for reducing carbon emissions to fight climate change.
He said the Liberal government has to drop its legal fight against a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order for Ottawa to compensate First Nations children who were inappropriately placed in foster care.
He also said he wants a firm commitment to universal pharmacare and greater investments in health care.
The Liberals and the NDP both campaigned on a promise to bring in some form of universal pharmacare.
CBC coverage of Thursday’s throne speech
Rosemary Barton hosts special coverage of the speech from the throne beginning at 2 p.m.ET on CBC News Network, CBCnews.ca and Facebook. Tune in to CBC Radio One for coverage of the speech starting just before 3:30 p.m. ET. And find analysis and reaction on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics at 5 p.m. ET, World at 6 on CBC Radio One and on CBC TV’s The National at 10 p.m.