Liberals push Senate to pass pandemic aid bill after MPs leave for winter break

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Published December 16, 2021 at 6:51 pm

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made a pre-Christmas plea to senators to quickly pass a new round of pandemic aid, promising the help would flow just as quickly to businesses and workers in need.

Bill C-2 would provide targeted aid to businesses that have been ordered closed, and workers sent home, as part of a local lockdown, as well as wage and rent subsidies to those still recovering.

Freeland says the government created the measures in case there was another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing they were needed even more with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Just before Freeland’s appearance by video conference at the Senate, the House of Commons voted to fast-track the legislation to the upper chamber as one of its final acts before MPs agreed to leave the national capital for a winter break that will run until the end of January.

It isn’t unusual for the House of Commons to send bills to the Senate after it has gone on a break, and for the upper chamber to sit longer to deal with any lingering legislation.

But Sen. Scott Tannas says it has been happening too often for his liking and limits the Senate’s ability to review legislation as the chamber of sober second thought.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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