Bardish Chagger, Government House Leader, Forced To Defend Feds' Proposed Changes To Parliament

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OTTAWA � The customary grilling of government that follows the tabling of a federal budget was all but shoved aside Thursday as opposition MPs pressed the Liberals not on their fiscal balance, but their work-life one.

Government House leader Bardish Chagger spent more time on her feet in question period than did the finance minister as she was forced again and again to defend Liberal efforts to change the rules that govern the House of Commons.

Chagger released a discussion paper on the subject last week, proposing ideas including abolishing the Friday sitting, allowing electronic voting and creating a special question period for MPs to direct all questions to the prime minister.

bardish chagger
Government House leader Bardish Chagger was forced again and again to defend Liberal efforts to change the rules that govern the House of Commons. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

The ensuing debate has consumed the Commons ever since, and even contributed to a half-hour delay Wednesday in the tabling of the federal budget.

Chagger's paper is before the House of Commons procedures committee and the government wants their report on it by June 2.

The Conservatives argue that the Liberals are trying to ram through the changes without adhering to the customary practice of making changes to House procedures through consensus, not by majority.

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