It is not often that Canada’s Official Opposition hands the government and easy victory. They did that this week – and the government missed it. I can only presume that they are so locked into their ways that they can’t see a gift when it is given to them.
The Conservative Party sponsored a motion in the House of Commkons, which was voted on about an hour before the Prime Minister invoked the Emergencies Act. The Liberals and the New Democrats joined forces to defeat it.
The text of the motion was simple: That, given that provinces are lifting COVID-19 restrictions and that Dr. Theresa Tam has said that all existing public health measures need to be “re-evaluated” so that we can “get back to some normalcy”, the House call on the government to table a plan for the lifting of all federal mandates and restrictions, and to table that plan by February 28, 2022.
Vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions have become an increasingly polarizing subject in Canada lately. As the Prime Minister has himself said, everyone is tired of these restrictions and wants the pandemic to end.
Why then would the government vote against re-evaluating the restrictions? Why won’t it commit to a plan? They could have amended the motion if they didn’t like the date, if they felt they couldn’t have met that deadline.
Not to mention that a motion passed by Parliament is not law. Motions are not binding on the government. It could have passed unamended, and the Liberals wouldn’t have had to do anything. And tabling a plan wouldn’t even have committed them to a definite timeline – Canadians, after multiple waves of COVID, know that sometimes circumstances require amending your plans.
Why then did the Liberals not see this as an opportunity to offer some hope to Canadians? Is it that they do see a return to normalcy? They could have scored some easy political points, and missed the chance completely.
Instead they allowed their opponents to seize the narrative, saying the government has no plan. (Those on the fringe would further suggest that the government has no intention of ever lifting its restrictions, though there is no evidence to substantuiate those claims.)
At a time when the country is divided, the government missed an opportunity to join with the opposition parties and present a united front to Canadians. I have no idea why they didn’t.