The Trudeau government is being accused of draconian and undemocratic tactics for attempting to give power over parliamentary proceedings to the Prime Minister and his cabinet.
A notice of a motion filed by Liberal House Leader Dominic LeBlanc would give cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries control over extending hours in the House of Commons and even when it breaks for the summer.
It would also work to prevent surprise votes initiated by the opposition, which happened this week when the Liberal government almost lost a vote on Monday on its own legislation to change Air Canada rules.
The move comes as the parties bicker over extending debate on the government's doctor-assisted dying legislation, Bill C-14, which the Liberals hope to pass by the end of this week. The opposition couldn't agree on extending hours and the bill was delayed by the government, leaving only two days to debate and pass it in the House.
The Liberals defend their motion, which has yet to be introduced in the House, as a way to keep debate going in the face of obfuscation from the opposition.
"What this would do is allow Parliament to continue beyond the normal hours of adjournment. The opposition constantly says they want more members of Parliament to be able to speak. That is exactly what this motion would do," Mr. LeBlanc told reporters on Wednesday.
But the opposition says the government is acting undemocratically.
Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer said the move is "vindictive" and retribution for the government almost losing its own vote, calling it "draconian, authoritative, undemocratic."
"It's one thing for the government to use the tools that are available to it to implement its agenda. It's another thing to take away tools from the opposition, and that's what we're seeing," he said. " This is a very undemocratic proposal by the government and I think it speaks to, perhaps, bruised ego or pride about what happened on Monday when their members weren't here to work."
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair accused the Liberals of lying about their intentions.
"This attempt to put a straitjacket on Parliament deprives Canadians of their most important democratic institution and it's childish petulance by the Liberals," he said.