Government House Leader Karina Gould has announced that the Liberals will prioritize affordability and public safety during the upcoming fall sitting in the House of Commons.
According to Gould, the Liberal government’s legislative agenda will include the introduction of a bill on national pharmacare as part of their agreement with the NDP to maintain their minority government until 2025.
Gould stated, “Our actions in the coming weeks and months are motivated by one thing: Canadians are hurting and our team will be there to help.”
The Liberals’ focus on affordability includes addressing housing issues caused by rising real estate prices and higher interest rates. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced measures to tackle affordability problems, such as removing the GST on new rental builds and pressuring grocers to lower their prices.
Gould stated that all the measures mentioned by Trudeau would be included in an omnibus bill and presented soon.
While the Conservatives may support the removal of taxes on new housing projects, they are unlikely to back a new tax on grocers. Gould mentioned that Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland planned to discuss the matter with major grocers.
Gould was asked why the government isn’t introducing the GST measure as a standalone bill for faster approval. She responded by pointing out that the Conservatives tend to avoid publicly opposing popular measures.
Apart from affordability, the Liberals also intend to prioritize public safety. Gun control Bill C-21 has already cleared the House and is awaiting review in the Senate. Other public safety priorities include bail reform Bill C-48 and the passage of Senate Bill S-12, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
The Liberals also have other priorities such as strengthening the port system and railway safety with Bill C-33, implementing a Digital Charter with Bill C-27, and passing Bill C-34 to grant additional powers for reviewing and blocking transactions that could endanger national security.
However, Gould did not mention any plans for legislation regarding a foreign influence registry, despite increasing calls for its implementation due to concerns about interference by the Chinese regime.
The Liberals are unlikely to pursue projects like Online Harms legislation and imposing a digital tax on online businesses during this session, but Gould emphasized their importance and did not provide a specific timeline for their introduction.