NDP shoot down Conservative 'unanimous consent' motion for anti-election interference bill

The motion passing would have given the bill top priority in the House, allowing for a vote before the next federal election slated for October 2025.

NDP shoot down Conservative 'unanimous consent' motion for anti-election interference bill
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick and The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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The federal NDP shot down a Conservative motion on expediting foreign interference legislation.

NDP House Leader Peter Julian emphasized the importance of hearing from witnesses before setting a deadline.

The opposition party claimed the amount of time given to table legislation would not afford MPs sufficient time to make an informed decision on the bill. 

Tabled earlier this month, Bill C-70 would establish a foreign interference registry and grant Canada's spy agency new abilities to adequately tackle foreign meddling.

The Conservative motion would have given the bill top priority in the Commons, allowing for a vote before the next general election. The NDP opposition support the Liberal Party's Countering Foreign Interference Act.

The foreign influence registry would apply to any individual or entity with ties to a foreign government. In particular, it would target foreigners with direct roles in policymaking or campaigning to register their activities with an independent commissioner.

"Time is running out to strengthen the confidence Canadians have in our elections," said Conservative MP Michael Chong, who has been the target of Chinese foreign interference.

In response to the motion, another motion with deadlines for clause-by-clause considerations removed was tabled.

Opposition House Leader Andrew Scheer said the NDP are proposing "to not have an end date."

"We want this bill passed," he said. MP Julian said the Tories were acting in bad faith by not passing the portion of the motion that was agreed to unanimously.

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