Opposition parties look to make their mark with differing approaches amid coronavirus pandemic

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Pablo Rodriguez looks back wistfully to the time when his biggest worry was whether he’d be able to corral the support of at least one opposition party for the minority Liberal government’s initiatives and help it survive confidence votes.

The trials of being the government’s House leader in a minority Parliament now pale in comparison to the challenge of ensuring all parties — indeed, every single MP in the House of Commons — will give the unanimous consent needed to fast-track billions in financial aid to help Canadians survive the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

“I remember when I first got the job, I said, ‘Oh man, this is going to be tough, you always need the support of one party to pass legislation,”’ recalls Rodriguez, who took on the House leader role after last fall’s election reduced Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to a minority.

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“But that was nothing! Today, I need the support of every party to get the legislation passed. Everyone.”

The unprecedented crisis has, in theory, given all opposition parties, even the three-member Greens who aren’t big enough to be recognized as an official party in the Commons,


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