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Conservatives not holding up aid bill, but want to see improvements: Scheer

Last Updated Apr 9, 2020 at 8:20 am PDT

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says his party isn’t deliberately holding up a new financial aid package for COVID-19 relief.

Scheer says constructive conversations are ongoing between his party and the Liberal government over the legislation to implement a massive wage-subsidy program.

He says the new package will take at least six weeks to spool up and the Liberals have said the back-end work to implement it is underway.

So Scheer says there is time for the bill that’s behind it to be improved and he’s optimistic a path forward exists.

The $73-billion wage-subsidy program is the second iteration of the Liberal government’s efforts to cushion the economic blow of COVID-19.

The first piece of legislation introduced to create it launched a lengthy debate in the back rooms of House of Commons as the Liberals sought to give themselves wide latitude to tax and spend for more than a year and the Tories resisted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press