The Canadian Press reports, “New Democrat MPs have begun slipping procedural knots over Parliament in a bid to prevent the Harper government from speedily passing its massive budget implementation bill. The NDP triggered a series of procedural delays Wednesday, just two hours after the government rejected the official Opposition’s proposal to split the 400-plus-page bill up into manageable chunks that could be scrutinized more closely. NDP House leader Nathan Cullen said more obstacles will be rolled in the government’s path in the days to come. The legislative roadblocks are aimed at preventing the government from proceeding with a second-reading vote on the omnibus bill planned for Monday. …After the second reading vote, the bill is supposed to go to the Commons finance committee for closer study. The government has refused to allow the disparate parts of the bill to be examined by different committees with expertise in each of the various subject areas.”
Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson writes, “In response to the Tory intransigence, the NDP now plans to use every means at its disposal to delay passage of the bill – ideally until after the House rises in late June for summer recess. What tools of obstruction does the opposition have at its disposal? …The filibuster (because of rule changes) is extinct. …The government can expect (sudden motions of adjournment) in the days to come – say, late on a Thursday afternoon, when many MPs are on their way to the airport to get back to their constituency. Opposition MPs can delay committee proceedings by calling endless points of order.” For the next bill that the Opposition tries to stop, Ibbitson says it needs to “immediately raise a ruckus”. He says, “Question Period, for example, should (be) devoted to no other topic, day after day.”
To respond to the Council of Canadians action alert directed at all Members of Parliament drafted by trade campaigner Stuart Trew – ACTION ALERT: Split up the budget: Environmental and border policy changes need a full debate – please go to http://canadians.org/action/2012/Bill-C38.html. Trew writes, “We need to put pressure on the Conservatives to do the right thing by democratically debating all of these non-budgetary, highly controversial items separately instead of rushing them into place in an anti-democratic omnibus law. …The Harper government is refusing to split up the budget bill, which is expected to pass by June 8 or by June 22 at the latest.” To read four campaign blogs on the budget implementation bill, see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22budget+implementation%22.