Credits: REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE
OTTAWA - Tory House leader Peter Van Loan says the government will continue to prioritize jobs, growth and prosperity in this next parliamentary session, but his equivalent in opposition says it is these very things the Conservatives have handled poorly.
Van Loan touted the 920,000 jobs created since the recession as proof of the government's "relative success" bringing its ideology to life. To that end, further legislation will be tabled shortly - the Northern Jobs Growth Bill and Technical Tax Bill among them, he said.
The cornerstone of this Conservative government is its budget, to be announced in March.
If the budget takes the omnibus form as the last two did, the government should expect vociferous opposition.
NDP House leader Nathan Cullen described this government's omnibus budget bills as evidence of their inability to work with other parties and called them a clear "abuse of power."
Van Loan rejected that whole-heartedly, reminding Canadians that omnibus budget bills are old news and by no means unique to the Conservatives.
"If they try to bring in an austerity budget, that could further weaken the economy," Cullen said.
Aboriginal grievances will continue to loom large. Van Loan called the meeting between government and First Nations "productive" and said more will happen in the future.
On the Keystone XL pipeline, approvals for which the government is pressing the U.S. to finalize, Cullen believes an uphill battle lies ahead.
"We're looking at an emboldened, progressive president (who just reaffirmed his commitment to fight climate change)," Cullen said.