OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says any conversation about new government powers should not get in the way of getting much-needed assistance out the door as Canadians struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheer says the Conservatives plan to support the $82-billion aid package proposed by the Liberal government to deal with the pandemic and the ensuing economic damage.

But he suggests Tories are not prepared to give the federal cabinet extraordinary power over taxes and spending, which was contained in draft legislation revealed on Monday night.

While the Liberals have said they will change the legislation before it is tabled in the House of Commons for a vote today, Scheer says the Conservatives have not seen the final draft.

Scheer says the Conservatives are prepared to come back to Ottawa on short notice should the government require more money or other measures to help Canadians.

But he says Canadians are looking for help and not a “power grab” or partisan politics.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2020.