The Bloc Québécois attacks the Trudeau government’s budget striptease

(Ottawa) Does the budgetary stripping of recent weeks respect the rules of the House of Commons? The parliamentary leader of the Bloc Québécois, Alain Therrien, believes that the Trudeau government has contravened a long parliamentary tradition, thus preventing the opposition parties from doing their job well and creating a situation that could lead to insider trading.

He asked the Speaker of the House of Commons on Tuesday to look into the matter. He took the matter under advisement.

“It is disconcerting that the government itself hastily revealed important elements of its budget, without taking into account the effects that this could cause,” he declared in the chamber.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the members of his Cabinet took advantage of the last two weeks of parliamentary recess to unveil parts of the next federal budget. Unheard of on the federal scene. The document is due April 16.

Construction of housing, creation of daycare spaces, school feeding program… The multiple intrusions into provincial areas of jurisdiction have made Quebec roar. The Bloc Québécois has already indicated that it will not support the budget.

Normally, the budget is revealed to parliamentarians and journalists behind closed doors during the hours before it is tabled in the House of Commons. The government then carries out an announcement tour to explain its main measures.

The fact of drafting it in advance without allowing the opposition parties to consult the entire document prevents them from “having an informed position and holding the government to account with full knowledge of the facts”, argued Alain Therrien.

“These budget announcements could attribute financial advantages to certain specialists in the matter which could be considered as insider trading,” he added.

He recalled that in 1989, Brian Mulroney, who was then prime minister, “had a journalist criminally charged with stealing confidential information and disclosing it before tabling the budget.” This leak forced the Minister of Finance at the time to hastily make it public. The charges were subsequently dropped.

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