Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I don't know whether to laugh or cry ...

Federal budget passes unopposed on mix-up
Last updated Jun 7 2006 07:47 AM EDT
CBC News

Even though two federal parties had promised to vote against the Conservative government's budget, it passed Tuesday without opposition because of an apparent mix-up.

When the May 2 budget came up for its third and final reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning, no one stood to speak. Because there were no apparent speakers, the budget was declared passed by unanimous consent with no recorded vote.

NDP MP Libby Davies told CBC News the mix-up happened because a Conservative MP who had been scheduled to speak first was not in the chamber.

In the ensuing confusion, Davies said the opposition legislators were waiting for the Tory MP to show up and speak before they stood up. They later learned that the budget had been dealt with, at least as far as the House of Commons was concerned.

At one point, the Liberal finance critic, John McCallum, stood up to debate the budget but was told it was too late and the budget had already been passed.McCallum later admitted to feeling a little sheepish. "I think it was an honest error all around. It just got through without parliamentarians realizing quite what had happened until it had happened."

CBC Radio reporter Chris Hall said none of the two dozen or so MPs in the House of Commons at the time - and that included government members - appeared to realize that the budget had just been passed.

Finance Minister jokes about 'popular' budgetFinance Minister Jim Flaherty, who wasn't even in the House when the budget was passed, seemed to be enjoying the appearance of "unanimity" for his budget.

In the afternoon question period, he thanked the opposition for supporting the government during the budget's third reading. Earlier, he joked to reporters that the budget was "even more popular than I thought.

"The Liberals and the NDP had said their members were going to vote against the budget, which cuts the GST by one percentage point as of July 1 and brings in a child-care allowance of $1,200 a year for the parents of each child under age six.But the Bloc Québécois had indicated it would support the Conservatives. So even if the NDP and Liberals had voted against it, the budget still would have passed.

Some opposition members had spoken against the budget in earlier parliamentary debates.

The budget bill now goes to the Senate a week ahead of schedule and then will go to the Governor General for royal assent.

1 comment:

Queer As Moi said...

Yeah, that really rubbed me the wrong way too. My vote elected an opposition MP and I expected him to be involved in a bit of, you know, opposition.