The Conservatives on Tuesday ramped up pressure on the Senate to vote in favor of a carbon pricing bill, accusing the Liberals of trying to intimidate senators and delay the bill.
Meanwhile, the Liberals directed the blame at the Conservatives, accusing them of “bullying tactics” targeting senators who disagree with their positions.
Amendments to the bill failed in the Senate on Tuesday night, moving the private member’s bill one step closer to becoming law.
All eyes are on the debate over a bill that would create a carbon price carve-out for farmers. Temperatures rose recently to the extent that some senators reported online abuse. One lawmaker left his home after receiving threats, while another apologized for bringing his intimidation to the Senate chamber.
On Tuesday, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poièvre added further heat, introducing a motion in the House of Commons asking MPs to vote yes to tell the “unelected Senate” to pass Bill C-234 quickly. .
The bill, introduced last year by Conservative MP Ben Robb, would suspend carbon pricing on natural gas and propane used in agricultural activities for at least eight years.
Gasoline and diesel used in agriculture are already exempt because farmers have no choice but to use those fuels to run their machinery. But the government insists there are alternatives and efficiencies farmers can adopt when it comes to the fuel used to heat barns and power grain driers.
Conservatives say carbon prices are costing farmers tens of thousands of dollars and making food more expensive.
The bill passed the House of Commons earlier this year with support from all parties except the Liberals.
Poièvre said the “democratically elected” House of Representatives must prevail, especially on bills he calls “taxes.”
“Only the House of Commons has the power of public funds,” he argued.
The Conservative Party previously accused Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault of “blackmailing” senators into stalling the bill, a charge Mr Guilbeault denied.
The minister said he spoke to about six senators to explain the government’s position, but did not give instructions on how to vote.
Guilbeault said it’s the Conservatives who are stamping their feet and demanding the Senate do their bidding.
And he said it has done so before, trying to block passage of a new environmental assessment process four years ago.
“When the Conservatives tried to block the adoption of (Bill) C-69 on impact assessments in 2019, they didn’t feel that the Senate was that unelected,” Guilbeault said.
“And it’s somewhat ironic that they’re telling us to let the Senate do its job, and then they’re going to pass a motion that pressures the Senate to do what they want.”
Senators say they were bullied and harassed
Guilbeault went on to criticize conservative House Minority Leader Andrew Scheer for “posting photos of some senators online as if they were wanted criminals.”
On November 15, Mr. Scheer posted photos and contact information for Sens. Bernadette Clement and Chantal Petitclerc, saying people should contact them and ask them why they are delaying passage of the bill. did.
The post came days after Clement proposed postponing consideration on an amendment to the bill that was ultimately rejected on Tuesday. He said the reason for the adjournment was to give senators who were not present an opportunity to speak on the amendments later.
After posting, the two women said they became targets of harassment and harassing phone calls. Clement received a phone call from someone threatening to come to his home, and police advised him to leave for his own safety.
“Who’s bullying who?” Guilbeault said. “We’re not telling senators how to vote. That’s what the Conservatives are doing.”
Guilbeault also reminded the House that Senate Conservative Leader Don Plett had to apologize last week for yelling across the floor at Clement and another senator during a debate on the amendment. Ta.
If the bill is amended, the Senate must send it back to the House, which must approve the changes before sending the bill back to the Senate.
Conservatives expressed concern that this would force the government to further delay the bill.
The failed amendment, which would adjust the duration of the carbon price exemption for agricultural fuels, narrowly failed in a vote Tuesday night, with 42 senators voting no and 36 voting yes. Ta.
On the House floor Tuesday, Mr. Poiwable dismissed Mr. Guilbeault’s accusations against Mr. Scheer, saying all he had done was share public information about both senators.
“I want to tell him what intimidation looks like,” he said.
That’s when single mothers can’t feed their children or pay their bills at the end of the month.
“This is the real threat this government is putting on working class people,” he added. “Does he want to talk about a threat? It’s a threat to the quality of life of people working in this country.”
The House of Lords is still debating the main contents of Bill C-234, and further amendments are expected to be proposed. A date for the final vote has not yet been set.