Canada

Opposition threatens to shut down government

The opposition parties in Parliament are threatening to grind all government operations to a halt.

The opposition parties in Parliament are threatening to grind all government operations to a halt after the Liberals cancelled what is known as an Opposition Day.

Bloc Québécois House leader Michel Gauthier said Tuesday's meeting with the government "didn't go well." All three opposition parties are outraged at the Liberal action.

Opposition Day is when opposition parties can introduce any motion they want, including a vote of non-confidence that might topple the government.

Gauthier says the opposition parties have enough power in the current minority situation to control Parliament – to bring it to a stop if they choose. "We have decided to show to the government that we have ... the power and we will use it."

Most of government is controlled by parliamentary committees. Those committees can stall legislation to a snail's pace and they can refuse to grant money for travel. Right now, combined, the three opposition parties have the majority of members on all committees.

The Conservatives and the BQ say they've had enough, so they're flexing their muscles, effectively shutting down the government.

Gauthier says "nothing more will stand ... all bets are off."

The House of Commons is now at a stalemate. Either the Liberals will have to back down and restore the cancelled Opposition Days, or the Conservatives and the BQ will do everything they can to keep the Liberals from actually governing.