OTTAWA — Liberal MPs were surprised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to shut down Parliament Tuesday, but many say they believe it was the right call to hit the reset button and deliver a new throne speech, given how COVID-19 has changed the political and economic landscape.
Liberal cabinet and caucus members say they were not given advance notice of Trudeau’s plans to prorogue Parliament and only learned about it when it was reported in the media.
Francis Drouin, MP for the Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, says some may see it as a political tactic to silence committees probing the WE controversy, but he believes a new throne speech is needed to give Canadians a better look at government’s long-term plans.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay agrees, saying he believes the situation in Canada and in the world has changed dramatically since the pandemic and resulting economic crisis hit, and a new road map for navigating these new waters is needed.
Rob Oliphant, who is the parliamentary secretary of foreign affairs, says he is glad to see a new focus will be taken, as he did not approve of his government’s decision to award WE Charity a sole-source contract to deliver a pandemic volunteer program for students.
Wayne Easter, who is chair of the finance committee which has been probing the WE deal, says he too believes a reset and new throne speech is needed, but he has concerns other COVID-19 work of the committee has been left unfinished due to the suddenness the prorogation Tuesday.