The Crowded Omnibus Budget Bill


By the time it takes effect the penny will be history, U.S. agents will be able to arrest Canadians on Canadian soil, environmental regulations will be forever altered, and the HST and PST will be imposed on fewer goods. As the Harper government prepares to ride its Omnibus Budget Bill through the fast lane and into law, opposition MPs are still trying to throw up roadblocks. The Current examines the Great Big Budget Bill.

Part One of The Current


It's Tuesday, June 12th.

According to a new poll, the majority of federal Liberal and NDP supporters back a party merger to defeat Stephen Harper.

Currently, the rest just prefer complaining.

This is The Current.

The Crowded Omnibus Budget Bill - Elizabeth May

We began the show with a clip of Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the opposition, speaking in the House of Commons. His is just one of many voices raised against the Harper government's massive omnibus budget bill. This is one crowded bus.

At 425 pages, the legislation would make significant changes to 70 different laws affecting everything from Employment Insurance to fisheries regulations. The government's majority all but assures the passage of Bill C-38, which is expected to come before the House for debate on June 12. But there's plenty to slow the omnibus down.

Opposition parties hope to delay passage of the bill over concerns over its scope. They've proposed 800 amendments.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has single-handedly introduced 300 of those amendments, something she is permitted to do because as she doesn't sit on any of the House committees where amendments are usually discussed. Elizabeth May joined us from our Ottawa studio.

The Crowded Omnibus Budget Bill - Peter Van Loan

Elizabeth May isn't the only critic of the budget bill. Jamie Biggar is the executive director of, an independent advocacy organization that says this budget bill is undemocratic. We played a clip.

Conservatives have a vastly different way of describing the bill - calling it necessary for Canada's economic well being. Peter Van Loan is the member of Parliament for York-Simcoe in Ontario, and the Government House Leader. And he was in Ottawa this morning.

We also heard from David Whitten. He is an employment law expert and partner of Whitten & Lublin. He was in our Toronto studio.

This bill will also make changes to Canada's immigration policy. Anyone who applied for citizenship under the federal skilled worker category before February 27th, 2008, will have their applications returned and they will have to re-apply. Edmonton resident Chissa Schmuhl's sister lives in the Phillippines and applied for citizenship before 2008. We heard from her.

The Crowded Omnibus Budget Bill - Bruce Cheadle

Bruce Cheadle is the National Affairs Reporter at the Canadian Press and he joined us from our Ottawa studio.

This budget bill also has stirred controversy for putting more scrutiny on the political activities of charities - scrutiny that some critics say specifically targets environmental groups who are vocal opponents of government policy. We heard from Joe Foy, the national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kathleen Goldhar, Lara O'Brien, Idella Sturino and Neil Morrison.

Other segments from today's show:

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