FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John MP Bob Zimmer says he’s not surprised by a new parliamentary pact between the federal NDP and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, but he is concerned how much it will end up costing Canadians.
Zimmer says Jagmeet Singh and the NDP have given up any pretense of being an opposition party and are instead acting as an arm of the government.
“It’s clear now that there’s really only two opposition parties, the Conservatives and the Bloc,” Zimmer said. “The NDP brought a point of order today, [but] when you make this kind of agreement, you’re not really opposition any longer, you’re basically saying to everybody that you are an arm of the current government.”
“But we’ll do our job as opposition, the NDP has clearly abdicated their job as opposition,” he said.
The deal includes major priorities such as dental care and pharmacare, which come with significant price tags but cost estimates haven’t been released.
“It does make some pretty significant commitments, some NDP policy,” Zimmer said. “My concern is that there’s been a lot of talk around Bill SG33, the basic income guarantee.
“It’s not explicitly laid out in the bill, but it’s a $100 billion dollar debt to the taxpayers every year,” he said. “So the social spending aspect is going to be profound over the next three years, and it’s going to be a surprise to taxpayers.”
Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen has called the deal a “power grab” by the Liberals. Zimmer agrees.“The only reason you would cement a deal like that on paper, where it’s committed for three years, is to stay in power, and that’s why it’s clear that Justin Trudeau is just trying to stay in power, and he’s willingly to spend any amount of taxpayer dollars to do so,” said Zimmer.
“I’m not confident in where this is heading, it’s a power grab, clearly, by the Prime Minister,” he said. “He’s scared that if he doesn’t do this, he could be shown the door. This is a clear plan for him to stay in power for three years longer.”
The Liberals currently hold 159 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, while the NDP has 25 MPs. The Conservatives have 119 seats, and the Bloc Quebecois have 32.
Earlier this month, Zimmer voted in favour of a Bloc motion to reject any scenario redrawing the federal electoral map that would result in Quebec losing seats in the House of Commons. Zimmer said his supporting vote was cast to preserve seats for the house, especially for those held by his fellow party members.
“We’ve got 10 Conservative MPs from rural Quebec and I don’t want to see one of those rural conservative Quebec MPs lose their job,” Zimmer said. “We need every Conservative MP we can get.”
Meanwhile, the Conservative leadership race continues. Zimmer says he’ll be supporting Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, and agrees with Poilievre’s pledge to scrap the carbon tax.
“It’s not just a conservative direction in general, it’s a way to get our country back on track, at a time when it desperately needs to,” said Zimmer. “I’m glad that Pierre has the vision, and I support him in that, in the direction that he’s heading.
“We’re going to need to fix the damage that this prime minister has done and is doing to the country.”