Bill C-38, also known as the budget implementation act, also known as the 425-page omnibus clusterfuck, will be debated in Ottawa this week. Opposition MPs have introduced 871 amendments in an effort to slow or stop the passage of the bill.
How bad is C-38? It changes about 70 different laws that are only tangentially related to the economy. Other changes that will affect the economy probably deserve a separate debate altogether, such as the repeal of the Fair Wages Act and changes to Employment Insurance.
Most alarming is the loosening of various environmental regulations. It’s no surprise that the government isn’t the most environmentally-focused bunch of people, but sneaking through so many changes, like eliminating an Environment Canada team that monitors toxic air pollution, just seems underhanded. There’s no question as to whether the bill will pass, but since the Conservatives have a majority, they could have passed all the separate changes in a more reasonable way, so why they insist on looking like thugs is hard to guess.
Of course, as with all politicians, how they see an issue often depends which side of the House of Commons they sit on. Back in 1994, a young Reform MP named Stephen Harper was railing against the Liberals’ omnibus bills:
We can agree with some of the measures but oppose others. How do we express our views and the views of our constituents when the matters are so diverse? Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill.
Globe and MailConservative Party