Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez says he believes there is a “strong will” on the part of all parties to work together as Members of Parliament return to Ottawa.
With the House returning Thursday for the Speech from the Throne, the Liberals will soon face the challenge of working with other parties in a minority government.
The Speech from the Throne is delivered by the Governor-General at the beginning of a session of Parliament and lays out the government’s forthcoming legislative agenda.
Mr. Rodriguez said that ahead of the House returning, he had “excellent” meetings with his counterparts from the three main opposition parties where they discussed what to expect in the coming days.
While Mr. Rodriguez said he could not disclose what is included in the Throne Speech, he said the Liberals have made their priorities clear during the election campaign.
“Among our priorities are to make life more affordable for Canadians, to reduce tax for the middle class, fighting climate change … we took many steps in the past, but we need to do more and we will do more, fighting poverty and investing in social housing, so those are all priorities,” he told The Globe and Mail.
“We have this mandate from Canadians to govern the country, we take this with a lot of humility and we want to do things in a very responsible way, in a very humble way. We are going to listen, we are going to consult and try to move forward with other colleagues from other parties," he said.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also met with his caucus Wednesday and although he did not specifically mention the Speech from the Throne in the portion of the meeting that was open to media, Mr. Scheer said that as the House returns, “the stakes could not be higher.”
“Our country is more divided than ever. Deep cracks are showing in Confederation. Under the Liberals our economy is bleeding jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan and forestry workers in British Columbia, and other ramifications are spreading across the country,” Mr. Scheer said.
He closed with a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Vacation time is over, no more free rides.”
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet’s office did not respond to a request to comment, but previously the leader has said his party will do what it can to make Parliament work.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his party will be listening to the Throne Speech for a “clear indication” that Mr. Trudeau is interested, willing and open to working with his party.
“He can’t take us for granted. We are more than willing to work together, but we will not vote for something that doesn’t align with what Canadians need,” Mr. Singh told reporters as his caucus gathered behind him.
Mr. Singh said he wants to see commitments to universal pharmacare, investments in health care and bold targets to reduce emissions, to name a few.
“In this Throne Speech, we’re looking to see some signs that he’s interested in doing what’s right for people,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Rodriguez said he plans to bring his own style to the position, “which is open door,” saying the second he met his counterparts from other parties, he gave them his cellphone number.
With a report from The Canadian Press