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House of Commons Debate Runs Overnight as Conservatives Protest Carbon Tax

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Chaos erupted in the House of Commons this week as Conservative MPs pulled an all-nighter to stall Liberal legislation until Liberals make more carbon tax exemptions, turning Parliament into a marathon voting session.

For over 24 grueling hours, Conservative politicians forced vote after endless vote, determined to obstruct the government’s carbon tax plans. Exhausted, sleep-deprived MPs finally left the chamber after 30 hours, capping a day and night of filibustering that tested the limits of political endurance. 

The House had to vote on over a hundred motions before they eventually called it a night. But did Trudeau and his Liberals finally get the message? Or did they end up voting over a hundred times to make the lives of already struggling Canadians a living hell?

During an extensive House of Commons session lasting over two days, members of Parliament removed their shoes, wrapped themselves in  , and periodically dozed off as they powered through a barrage of votes initiated by the Conservatives to demonstrate their resistance to the federal government’s carbon pricing plan.

Members of Parliament finally departed the House of Commons late on Friday night after continuously voting for over 24 hours straight in a grueling filibuster. This marathon voting session fulfilled the Conservative Party’s pledge to impede the Liberal government’s legislation with a flood of votes unless they consent to getting rid of their costly carbon tax plan.

The Conservative MPs compelled delays by initiating 135 votes in the House, most regarding the government’s budget estimates. This led to uninterrupted, round-the-clock voting that started Thursday night and extended late into Friday evening.

But how did this even start?

The marathon voting session began on Wednesday, when Leader of the Opposition, Pierre Poilievre, announced his intention to initiate over 100 votes on the government’s budget proposals, among other measures.

The motivation behind Poilievre’s tactics was clear. He aimed to obstruct parliamentary business to pressure Trudeau’s Liberal government into finally easing the burden of the carbon tax. Specifically, he wanted full exemptions for all home heating sources, not just heating oil, as well as scrapping the tax for farmers and First Nations groups.

“Justin Trudeau can end it all. He can stop this right now, if he chooses to listen to Canadians, and axe the tax off of farmers, families and First Nations,” said Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer on Friday.

This Conservative pressure campaign comes as no surprise, as Poilievre has been pressuring Trudeu to “axe the tax” for some time now. The carbon tax disproportionately hurts rural and low-income Canadians who have no choice but to heat their homes affordably. The Liberals’ limited heating oil exemption showed their carbon pricing policy is flawed. Meanwhile, the tax threatens the livelihoods of farmers and imposes an unfair burden on First Nations.

His aim was to grind House business to a halt, a clever and principled strategy to compel Trudeau to heed sensible Conservative proposals on exempting vulnerable groups from an ill-conceived carbon tax.

As of right now, the Senate is also in the middle of considering a Conservative private member’s bill that would lift the carbon tax off propane and natural gas used by farmers.

The extended voting session went on for so long that Poilievre had to grab some fast-food takeout for his caucus members at 1 a.m, who hadn’t even eaten during the marathon voting session.

The session went on until Friday, with the final vote ending just after 11:30 p.m. ET.

Parliamentary rules state that the calendar day does not change in the House of Commons until the session is officially adjourned. Since MPs remained in session overnight, procedurally it was still considered Thursday by the House – even though the voting occurred during the majority of what the rest of the world called Friday.

Members of Parliament were able to vote both virtually and in-person. While attendance fluctuated over the hours, the Liberal side remained more populated than the opposition Conservatives. Prime Minister Trudeau spent more time in the chamber than Conservative Leader Poilievre, though Poilievre briefly left to attend events in Montreal.

As the marathon session dragged into the night and next day, signs of fatigue emerged on all sides. MPs caught quick naps between votes, bundled in blankets and using travel pillows. Anita Anand arrived prepared with a toothbrush. Many had removed their shoes to get comfortable. NDP and Liberal MPs did stretches to stay loose.

MPs passed time by signing Christmas cards, browsing their phones, streaming shows, and reading books. Patty Hajdu crocheted a blanket, while Diane Lebouthillier played computer games. Trudeau did puzzles on his iPad. The lighthearted atmosphere was evident when Francesco Sorbara brought his toddler daughter Leia in the chamber, delighting his colleagues.

In quieter moments, the usual partisan divisions faded. Andrew Scheer and Shannon Stubbs shared laughs with Trudeau across the aisle. Bardish Chagger and   bumped fists. The all-night session revealed politics’ partly performative nature. When cameras paused, common humanity prevailed.

Nevertheless, the hours were also filled with tons of very entertaining speeches.

On Friday morning, Conservative MP Todd Doherty jokingly gestured toward Health Minister Mark Holland, who was wearing a bright green blazer, and said: “I encountered an irked leprechaun outside who said he’s searching for his missing sweater.”

But at 4:17 a.m, a visibly exhausted Poilievre was still as persistent as ever in pressuring Trudeau and his Liberals to lift the carbon tax.

When voting started on Thursday, Liberals and NDP opportunistically attacked Poilievre for briefly leaving the House that evening to attend a Quebec fundraiser.

However, Poilievre’s schedule shows he was fulfilling important duties as Conservative Leader. Before attending Hanukkah events, he visited a Montreal synagogue recently victimized by Molotov cocktails, showing solidarity with the Jewish community against rising antisemitic violence ignored by the Trudeau government.

Liberal and NDP MPs chanted petty “Where is Pierre?” slogans, forgetting Trudeau himself was absent earlier that evening. Conservatives appropriately retorted, “Where is Trudeau?” The partisan attacks on Poilievre were unfair given the Prime Minister’s own absence and Poilievre’s meaningful visit with Montreal’s Jewish community amidst rising hate crimes downplayed by Liberal policies.

After the final vote ended late Friday night, Trudeau grandstanded about MPs dedicating 30 hours to represent their constituents and advance their vision, conveniently ignoring how Conservatives were obstructing his agenda.

Conservative MP Rick Perkins appropriately responded by reminding Canadians that the Liberals and NDP voted 134 times to hike the cost of everything through their regressive carbon tax. Unlike out-of-touch Liberals, Conservatives have listened to struggling workers and families bearing the burden of inflated heating, gas and food costs.

While Trudeau praised politics as usual, Perkins refocused attention on the real-world impacts of bad Liberal policies that drive up expenses for ordinary Canadians. Conservatives are the only ones speaking for taxpayers suffering under Trudeau’s carbon tax.

However, the Conservatives’ clever delay tactics failed to make Trudeau reconsider his deeply misguided carbon tax.

As he left the chamber on Friday, Trudeau arrogantly dismissed the Conservative position. “No, we’re not axing the tax,” he told reporters, showing an obstinate refusal to help vulnerable Canadians struggling with heating costs.

This reveals the Liberals’ hypocrisy. They exempt special interests like farmers from their damaging carbon tax but won’t provide relief to ordinary families and seniors facing unaffordable energy bills. Trudeau clearly prioritizes his elite environmentalist agenda over the needs of hard-working taxpayers.

After 30 straight hours of voting, the marathon session in the House of Commons revealed a deeper truth – Trudeau’s Liberals are tone deaf to the struggles of ordinary Canadians.

While Conservatives fought to axe the tax crushing families, seniors and farmers, Liberals robotically voted over 130 times to keep driving up costs. With inflation already soaring, how can Trudeau justify squeezing citizens further?

After enduring over 24 grueling hours of endless voting, it’s clear this epic parliamentary battle has only intensified the Conservatives’ resolve. It seems that they will keep using every tactic available to axe Trudeau’s punitive carbon tax that makes life unaffordable.

Canadians deserve better than a Prime Minister who says “we’re not axing the tax” while they fall deeper into debt. But Trudeau keeps prioritizing special interests over the livelihoods of Canadians. His hypocrisy is staggering.

Trudeau can dodge and deflect all he wants, but it seems that Conservatives won’t rest until the burdensome carbon tax is dead and gone for good. The sleepless nights for Trudeau have only just begun. 

And with an election looming, the time is ticking for Trudeau.

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