Inside Politics

Speaker raises concerns over cost of NDP bill to boost budget watchdog

Conservative MP Mark Warawa may not be the only MP facing an uphill fight to get his private members' business on the floor of the House of Commons.

Earlier today, House Speaker Andrew Scheer served notice that he may be forced to sideline NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's pitch to boost the power of the now-vacant parliamentary budget office at third reading, as it could conceivably impose a cost on the government, which requires a ministerial co-sponsor. 

Scheer also raised the procedural red flag over New Democrat MP Francois Pilon's bid to exempt pre-paid funeral arrangements when calculating guaranteed income supplements. 

Although he likely won't issue his final ruling until the bills come up for second reading, Scheer has nonetheless invited interested MPs -- including, presumably, members of the government -- who want to argue for or against the need for a royal recommendation to do so "at an early opportunity." 

If the initial decision stands -- which, history would suggest, it almost certainly will -- Mulcair and Pilon may end wasting those much-coveted spots on the precedent list with bills that won't be permitted to move beyond the House of Commons, even if they did manage to squeak through to third reading before the speaker blows the whistle. 

UPDATE: I've subsequently been told that, contrary to what I initially wrote, members do not, in fact, have the option of swapping out a bill deemed to be in need of an accompanying royal recommendation. 


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