Quebec government could invoke closure to force adoption of Bill 34

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WATCH: The National Assembly will end it's session at the end of the week, but that doesn't mean the Province's MNAs will be done their work by then. The Quebec government could invoke closure to force the adoption of a bill to freeze hydro rates – Dec 5, 2019

Quebec MNAs will leave the National Assembly for the Christmas break before the end of this weekend. They might be going home later than planned if the government invokes closure and forces the adoption of a bill to freeze hydro rates.

Opposition parties want to continue debating Bill 34, which will modify the powers of the Quebec energy board and freeze hydro rates, but the government wants to force its adoption by Saturday.

READ MORE: Raucous week has some wondering if question period in Quebec is out of control

“Will Christmas inspire the minister to accept our compromises?” PQ MNA Sylvain Gaudreault asked in Thursday’s Question Period.

Energy Minister Jonatan Julien replied: “For Christmas we’ll give a reimbursement of $500 million to Hydro Quebec clients.”

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But to the Opposition, the government does not appear to be feeling very generous.

“We’ve spent 43 per cent more time, since the Liberals are in opposition, in commissions,” Premier François Legault said.

According to the government, MNAs are spending more time studying bills article-by-article because the Liberal Party is deliberately slowing down committee work.

READ MORE: CAQ tables bill calling for Hydro-Québec to reimburse customers for overbilling

The Liberals say it is the job of the National Assembly to study proposed laws thoroughly, regardless of who’s in power. For example, the National Assembly studied the bill to create the SQDC for 150 hours, Interim Leader Pierre Arcand pointed out.

The premier said invoking closure is a valid tool for government when committee work has stalled.

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