The House

The Parliamentary Game of Thrones

This week on The House, Liberal House Leader Pablo Rodriguez and the NDP's Rachel Blaney recap the throne speech and talk about the path forward in this minority. Two women who were at Polytechnique on that fateful date in 1989 talk to Chris Hall about gender-based violence and gun control. Finally, we bid farewell to New Zealand's high commissioner in his favourite place in Ottawa.

The Liberals set out their priorities for this mandate, while most other parties hesitate to support them

Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez pictured in question period from 2018. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode48:57

The Liberals are hoping climate change can be a unifying issue in this minority Parliament, but the NDP isn't willing to throw its support behind the government just yet.

Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez told The House Friday that working toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050 should be a goal all parties can get behind — and a way for the Liberals to show they have their priorities straight.

"We're offering a set of solutions to fight something that's absolutely urgent," he said. "We have to do something." 

Climate change and protecting the environment was a large part of Thursday's speech from the throne. The NDP isn't eager to vote in favour of it as a whole.

"What we heard really clearly was a lot of platitudes," said Rachel Blaney, NDP MP for North Island-Powell River. The NDP has long conditioned its support for Liberal legislation in the House of Commons on the introduction of pharmacare, stronger climate action and efforts to expand affordable housing.

Thursday’s Speech from the Throne laid out the government's priorities. So what's next? Liberal Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez discusses his government’s priorities for the 43rd parliament and how his party will navigate confidence votes and manage both sides of the aisle. 7:23

The Bloc is the only party currently poised to support the Liberals' throne speech, and the Conservatives have accused the governing party of striking a deal with the Quebec sovereigntist party to omit mention of oil and pipelines from the speech in exchange for the party's support.

Rodriguez denied the claim and laughed.

"We're not going to work with deals, we're just working piece by piece," he said. "Let's say we want to do something on the environment ... You know. I wouldn't be surprised if the NDP and the Bloc supports us on on some measures on the environment, and maybe the Conservatives on lowering the taxes for the middle class. Why not?" 

But the NDP isn't willing to cave on its version of pharmacare yet and plans to push the government to implement a universal, single-payer system.

The Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party hold the balance of power in this minority Parliament. If the throne speech goes to a vote the Bloc leader says his party will support the government, but NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he could not support the speech because it only paid lip service to issues his party’s priorities. What concessions did the government have to make to score the Bloc’s support? And what will the opposition parties’ conditions be moving forward? The NDP's whip Rachel Blaney joins us. 5:12

"Our concern is, are you going to continue with the nice words, are you actually going to get something behind their substance? So what we're going to be looking at is, where is the substance," Blaney said.

Rodriguez, who has been elected in four minority governments, said each minority has different needs and weaknesses.

"No two Parliaments are the same."

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