Liberal House leader urges MPs to ‘ rise to the occasion’ as House of Commons resumes

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Liberal House leader Mark Holland says he hopes all MPs bring a respectful tone as the House of Commons resumes sitting on Tuesday following the summer break.

“This is a serious hour that demands us to rise to the occasion with the best of our ability and to offer people all that we have, to provide them solutions,” the Toronto-area MP said during a news conference setting out the government’s priorities this fall.

“I don’t think this is a time for games. This is not a time to try to be clever or use rhetorical tricks or try to pretend things or solutions that aren’t. I think Canadians are going to see through that.”

His comments come on Pierre Poilievre’s first day leading the Opposition bench during question period in his new role, after clinching the Conservative Party leadership in a decisive win earlier this month.   

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But those waiting for an anticipated faceoff between Poilievre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to wait until later this week after Trudeau returns from the UN General Assembly in New York. 

Holland said he’s meeting with the other House leaders later Tuesday, including the newly appointed Andrew Scheer. 

“Look, I was an opposition critic. I respect what they have to do. They have to punch us. They have to make us accountable. They have to ask us hard questions sometimes. Sometimes I got carried away in that,” he said 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre greet each other as they gather in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Those waiting for an anticipated faceoff between Poilievre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to wait until later this week. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

“But this isn’t that kind of time. I think that it’s a time that is more serious, and I hope that we’re all reflecting on that as we start today.”

Inflation a priority

All parties have indicated inflation is a top priority, as Canadians report struggling with food and gas prices. 

The Liberals began the sitting by introducing two bills promising some Canadians relief on dental care for children and a one-time boost to the housing benefit and the GST tax credit. 

“All of that will be vaporized by inflation,” countered Poilievre during question period.

The Ottawa-area MP used his debut as Conservative leader to attack the Liberals over the high cost of living and demand the government scrap planned increases to Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan premiums.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party supports the two Liberal bills, said the government has spent too long dismissing inflation as a global problem instead of offering solutions at home.

“The Liberal government and Justin Trudeau were unwilling to even talk about the struggles people are going through,” he said. 

WATCH | Liberal House leader says he hopes MPs will be aware of the tone this sitting

House of Commons resumes sitting today

House Leader Mark Holland says he hopes that parliamentarians will come together and provide real solutions for the problems Canadians are facing today and will be aware of the tone their debates take in the House.

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