The Conservative government’s budget implementation bill enraged the opposition when it was presented. A 452 page bill affecting all sorts of legislation that would only go through the Finance Committee.
The opposition tried unsuccessfully to get the government to split the bill so each section would go to the appropriate committee, for example, the changes to environmental assessment laws would go to the Environment committee for review and debate.
The government, arguing that the opposition would vote against each measure whether separate or a whole, declined to break up the massive bill.
Faced with a majority government, the opposition parties have opted to do their best to delay the bill while they try to build up public outcry that may cause the government to rethink. Together, the New Democrats, Liberals and the independent sitting members from the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party have put forward over 871 amendments to the budget bill, C-38. The speaker has grouped these and the speaker’s office expects between 67 and 159 votes. MPs could see over 50 hours of sitting to get through them all.
Green Party Leader, and the only member of that party in the House of Commons, Elizabeth May told the National Post that she plans to move upward of 300 amendments herself.
Opposition MPs are preparing for a marathon, knowing that each vote on an amendment could be declared a vote of confidence in the government, and if the Conservatives fail to keep a majority of members in the house during the time the filibuster is taking place, they could lose a vote on the content of their budget.
Photo of Elizabeth May from Gordon McDowell