NEWS
09/17/2017 08:30 EDT | Updated 09/17/2017 09:01 EDT

Liberals set to limit debate on big priorities as MPs return to Ottawa

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is heading into the second half of its mandate with a number of big legislative priorities they are eager to move through Parliament.

And they are ready to curtail debate if they think the opposition parties are dragging their feet — especially since the will of the increasingly independent Senate is becoming harder to predict.

This spring, the Liberal government backed down on part of its plan to alter the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure, abandoning some of the more controversial reforms that the Conservatives and New Democrats had been battling for weeks.

Still, House leader Bardish Chagger warned at the time this would come with a cost, telling her political rivals that since they could not agree on other ways to speed things along, the Liberals would be ready to impose time allocation — a heavy-handed tactic that limits debate.

A government source says that remains the case as MPs return to Ottawa this week, especially since the Liberals want to act quickly on priorities such as the legalization of marijuana, a tougher law on impaired driving and the new National Security Act.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, are planning to focus a lot of their energy on stirring up more opposition to the Liberal government's proposed tax changes for small businesses, a topic that is expected to dominate question period in the House of Commons this week.