Budget bill faces final Commons vote Tuesday

NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen.

Credits: Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency


OTTAWA - Conservatives are demonstrating "arrogance bordering on stupidity" as they push their big fat budget bill through Parliament without a single recommendation taken into account, the NDP says.

The government invoked time allocation on its second budget bill on Monday during the report stage, which traditionally allows for further study of bills following review at Commons committees.

Under new time restrictions imposed by the Tories, the legislation will face its final reading in the House on Tuesday evening before a majority Conservative government ensures its passage in Parliament.

In the spring, the Tories also passed a first budget bill that was more than 400 pages long.

"In almost 950 pages of omnibus legislation this government hasn't changed a period, hasn't changed a comma," NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said.

Among the complaints, opposition parties have levelled concerns about the government's decision to gut the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Changes to the act will allow construction of bridges, damns and other projects without federal approval.
The Tories say the act only applies to navigation but environmental references are built into the existing protections.

Groups including the small-c conservative National Citizens Coalition, which Stephen Harper used to lead before becoming prime minister, also oppose omnibus-types of legislation.

"It is bad for democracy," Stephen Taylor said, citing that bundled legislation cannot be properly scrutinized when it is rammed through the legislative process.

The government has urged the quick passage of the bill to a get budget blueprint in place.

"It’s important that the bill pass. It’s about jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.

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