Coronavirus aid bill negotiations continue, agreement in principle reached: sources

The House of Commons was expected to sit Tuesday for the tabling of legislation meant to provide economic support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as of Tuesday night, talks over the draft bill stretched on.

Negotiations continued through the night and, at 11 p.m., opposition party sources said they expected it would be at least a few hours before legislation was expected to be put before the House.

Earlier, sources said that an agreement in principle had been reached.

Under the special operating rules for this extraordinary sitting of the House of Commons, a relief package and other measures can only be passed by unanimous consent of all Liberal, Conservative, BQ and NDP MPs in the House.

One Conservative MP said the party was ready to pass the aid package but not if it was a “power grab” for the Liberals.

“We asked them to remove the power grab,” tweeted Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre just before 11:45 p.m. ET. “They have not gotten back to us. As of 11:39pm, we haven’t seen a new bill.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earlier said that proposed sweeping new powers to let the government spend money without parliamentary approval are needed because the COVID-19 pandemic presents an “exceptional situation.”

Speaking with reporters in his daily briefing outside Rideau Cottage, where he is in self-isolation, Trudeau was questioned on proposals that Global News first reported were contained in a draft version of the coronavirus support bill.

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