Big budget bill parley in Parliament

McLeod 'proud' but Opposition disputes debate time

The second set of federal budget legislation is in the final stages of Parliament, and it’s in another 400-page-plus omnibus bill, which is expected to pass shortly.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says Budget Implementation Bill C-45 enacts government’s overall plan to move forward.

All of the pieces in this act relate to the government’s plan, and in this case, directly connect with economy, jobs and growth.

The pieces of this legislation are focused on the budget that was delivered last march.”

Meanwhile, the federal Liberals decry limitations on committee debate time for the 457-page bill that affects 74 existing bills, and the NDP has called for last-minute changes.

Liberal finance and national revenue critic Scott Brison called the Finance Committee’s study on the bill “a sham.”

The Conservatives continue to abuse Parliament by putting forward omnibus budget bills, and then severely limiting debate.”

Brison adds the NDP party MPs voted along with the Conservatives on a motion to “silence” debate on the bill at committee.

They challenged and overturned committee chair James Rajotte’s interpretation of the rules in order to prevent Opposition parties from moving any amendments.

With the support of the NDP, the Conservatives threw their own chair under the bus by voting non-confidence in his ruling.”

McLeod explains modifications to last spring’s budget rapidly accumulate into a large amount of “legislative language” in the bill, such as changes to one line about MP pensions that made up 22 pages alone.

The area MP says she thought the debate time was sufficient and notes it was approved.

The speaker has ruled on that, and clearly found … that appropriate committee process was followed.

We voted on over 3,300 frivolous Liberal amendments, which went through days of the year … and the speaker upheld the decision of the committee.”

Then, the NDP made a new motion “to protect our lakes and rivers” on Nov. 3 – the eve of the vote on the budget bill – that must have unanimous consent from the House to pass.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie says Bill C-45 seeks to transform the Navigable Waters Act and remove many environmental protections from most of Canada’s lakes and rivers.

The NDP also point to C-45 enacting “dozens of farther-reaching measures that transform Canadian life for the worse” that were “too massive to be properly studied or debated.”

However, McLeod says the bill moves forward with the Conservative’s plan, which has demonstrated its success by placing the country in a “very, very good position” compared to other G-7 (developed) countries.

I’m on the finance committee and intimately connected to this process, and how they connect to both the pre-budget consultations, to the goals of government, to really – during a very difficult time – trying to secure Canada’s future.”

Canada has received validation of its stability from global organizations, such as Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), she notes.

We are regularly lauded that Canada is ‘an island of stability in troubled times’. I’m very proud that our finance minister’s [Jim Flaherty’s] plan is working.”

For a link to the bill, and to see what MPs are saying about it in Parliament, visit www.openparliament.ca/bills/41-1/C-45/.