Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 31, 2023
Members of Parliament are making their way back to Ottawa ahead of resuming sitting on Monday, as the city prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of “Freedom Convoy” protesters.
Liberal and Conservative MPs gathered on Parliament Hill Friday for respective caucus meetings, plotting out their priorities for the 2023 sitting of the House of Commons, which kicks off on Jan. 30.
Among the top issues facing federal politicians this winter are the ongoing cost-of-living crunch and risk of a recession; the state of Canada’s health-care systems and the prospect of massive new funding deals with the provinces; as well as the government’s ability to deliver services amid the recent increased reliance on private consultants.
In widely differing but similarly-rousing speeches to their caucuses, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre previewed the lines of attack that are sure to be repeated in question period, both centred around an ongoing debate the two leaders are having over whether Canada is “broken.”
“Everything feels broken,” Poilievre said in a speech that questioned what is happening in this country, from the rates of drug overdoses to violent crime.”[Trudeau] gets very angry when I talk about these problems. He thinks that if we don’t speak about them out loud that Canadians will forget that they exist.”
“You told us that better was always possible, and yet everything is worse, and you blame everyone else,” he said.
Responding to the claims from his Official Opposition counterpart, Trudeau shot back that Poilievre has “chosen to amplify people’s real anger, and instead of offering them solutions, to offer them more anger.”
In his caucus address, Trudeau spoke about how the Liberal “positive vision” for the future “could not be more different than Mr. Poilievre’s version.”
The New Democrats gathered on Parliament Hill last week for their pre-House strategy session. In a statement on Friday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that his caucus plans to leverage its supply-and-confidence deal with the minority Liberals to “to fight for relief from the crushing cost of living, and rebuilding and protecting public universal free health care.” (CTV)