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The Canada flag flies atop the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 5, 2023.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Liberals moved to kill prorogation rumours circling Ottawa on Wednesday, dismissing talk they would shut down Parliament as idle gossip that is out of step with their government’s heavy legislative agenda.

Questions about whether the government would hit reset on Parliament have increased in recent weeks as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struggles to shake the foreign interference controversy, and after news that two more opposition MPs were targeted by the People’s Republic of China.

But on their way out of their weekly caucus meeting, Liberal MPs Sean Casey and Ryan Turnbull dismissed the rumours as the latest example of “silly season” and “crazy season,” respectively.

“It’s never been discussed at caucus,” said Mr. Casey, calling it a “manufactured or fabricated” rumour.

The Liberals last prorogued Parliament during the WE Charity controversy in 2020.

The move shuts down House committees, including those putting a spotlight on politically sensitive issues, and allows the government to come back with a new Speech from the Throne. But it also hits the reset on government bills, and risks sending work on the legislation back to its beginning stage whenever Parliament returns.

“Those aren’t my decisions, but I would definitely be opposed to it because I’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Justice Minister David Lametti, when asked about the possibility of proroguing Parliament.

Quebec Liberal MP Rachel Bendayan also said she wouldn’t support prorogation and House Leader Mark Holland said “it’s not on my mind.” Chief Government Whip Steven MacKinnon said he wouldn’t comment on the rumours.

While a request that the governor-general prorogue Parliament is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, an official in Mr. Trudeau’s office said the government is not considering the procedural tactic. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the person as they were not permitted to disclose government strategy.

Scott Reid, a Liberal strategist and former director of communications to former prime minister Paul Martin, said a case could be made for or against prorogation, but either way, the Prime Minister needs to seize back control of his political agenda after a “rough ride” in the first half of 2023.

“They can’t permit the next four months to be as dominated by the opposition and critics as the last four months, or they’re not going to like their chances for a recovery in terms of popular opinion,” Mr. Reid said.

Prorogation is one way to try and reset because it essentially wipes the parliamentary slate clean, he said, but it doesn’t in itself guarantee it, and a new Throne Speech wouldn’t change the two issues that dominate the government’s agenda: the economy and climate change. Moreover, he said it would likely also require a significant cabinet shuffle, including Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, for it to be a true government reset.

The minority Liberals are operating under the support of the NDP through a supply and confidence agreement. It’s based on a principle of “no surprises” and the deal requires the government to notify New Democrats if they decide to prorogue. The deal also requires the government to regularly consult with the NDP, but it is silent on prorogation.

The House of Commons has up to three more weeks of sitting days before MPs leave Ottawa for the summer. Mr. Holland told reporters the government won’t let the House rise until nine bills are passed and another is sent to committee for review.

“We’re not lifting until we get it done,” Mr. Holland said.

Included in the laws the government wants passed are the C-47 budget implementation act, the C-18 online news act, the C-22 disability benefit act, and the S-5 overhaul to the environmental protection act. Also on the list are acts that would enshrine Liberal child-care policies into law, address the inadmissibility of sanctioned individuals, amend the Investment Canada Act and amend the Criminal Code to allow for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

He also said the government wants Bill C-40, the act establishing the Miscarriage of Justice Review Commission, to get to committee before the House rises.

Mr. Holland said the House would sit until midnight every day, beginning Wednesday, to ensure the bills are passed.

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