Monday, June 11, 2012
Opposition makes hundreds of amendments to "Frankentstein" Conservative budget bill
The official opposition the New Democrats, the Liberals, and the lone Green Party member submitted hundreds of amendments to the majority Conservative government's budget bill. The budget bill which the opposition has called a Frankenstein bill goes far beyond financial matters and setting forth the budget.
There is a huge revamping of environmental laws. The changers are streamlining according to the Conservatives but to the opposition they weaken environmental laws and rush through approvals to please industry. There are also changes to oversight of the security apparatus, changes to eligibility for social security and unemployment insurance and on and on.
The opposition asked that the bill be split. In particular they wanted the legislation on environmental policy changes to be separate so it could be debated and voted on separately. However the Conservatives have a majority and use it to push through whatever they want however they want to do it.
The speaker of the house Andrew Scheer grouped amendments that were similar together. He said:“I have made every effort to respect both the wishes of the House and my responsibility to organize the consideration of report stage motions in a fair and balanced manner,”
Bill C 38 the budget bill is 425 pages long. The sole Green Party member and leader Elizabeth May introduced more than 300 amendments. She is particularly concerned with changes to environmental policy.
In total the opposition made 871 motions and amendments. The bill changes more than 70 different laws many having nothing to do with the budget. By bunching the motions and amendments together Sheer has managed to reduce the votes required to a minimum of 67 and the maximum number to 159.
Originally it was predicted that voting would take days but now it can all be done it is predicted in one marathon day. For much more see this Globe and Mail article.