NDP bid to ban pay-to-pay bank fees blocked from House floor

Just one day after backing an NDP proposal to ban pay-to-pay bank fees, the government has blocked a bid to make it official with a last-minute addition to the spring budget bill.

Fees 'could be eliminated before the summer break,' NDP consumer protection critic says

The New Democrats want to give the House finance committee the power to amend the budget bill to ban pay-to-pay bank fees. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Just one day after backing an NDP proposal to ban pay-to-pay bank fees, the government has blocked a bid to make it official with a last-minute addition to the spring budget bill.

On Tuesday evening, the House voted all but unanimously in favour of a non-binding NDP Opposition day motion calling for an end to practices such as charging for paper bills and for the adoption of a financial code of conduct to protect consumers (Conservative MP Gordon O'Connor was the sole dissenting voice.)

In a statement sent to CBC News that night, a spokeswoman for Conservative whip John Duncan said the government "understands the concerns of Canadians who feel nickel and dimed by bank fees, and noted that they have already brought in "tough measures to protect Canadians from predatory banking practices."

"Banning pay-to-pay bank fees is the kind of thing we intend to look at including in our mandatory financial consumer protection framework that we promised in Economic Action Plan 2015," policy adviser Christine Maydossian told CBC News.

Fast-track motion blocked from House floor

Look at, perhaps — but not, it seems, sign on to just yet.

NDP consumer protection critic Andrew Cash, who put forward the initial motion, had hoped to get the House to agree to give the Commons finance committee the power to amend the budget bill to make it official.  

But mere moments before he could put his proposal to the House on Wednesday afternoon, a Conservative MP moved to skip the rest of routine proceedings, thus neatly circumventing what could, at least for the government, have triggered a potentially awkward debate.

"If the Conservatives were sincere about banning these fees that target seniors and people without internet access, we could eliminate them before the summer break," Cash told CBC by email.

A spokesperson for government House leader Peter Van Loan, meanwhile, said the move was simply meant to ensure they would get to Orders of the Day.

Cash made a second attempt to get unanimous consent in the House on Thursday morning, but that too was denied.


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