House of Commons passes federal budget

OTTAWA — The federal budget that died before the last election finally passed the House of Commons, the first in a long list of bills the Conservative government will usher through with its new majority mandate.

OTTAWA — The federal budget that died before the last election finally passed the House of Commons, the first in a long list of bills the Conservative government will usher through with its new majority mandate.

The bill passed 167 to 131, with the NDP and the Liberals voting against it.

Opposition parties signalled their intention to oppose the original 2011 budget tabled March 22, but never got the chance to vote on it before the spring election.

The Conservative government was brought down over a contempt of Parliament motion that same week.

Passage of the budget bill means that measures such as increases to Old Age Security and the return of the energy efficiency home retrofits will move ahead.

The Conservative government will also give $2.2 billion to Quebec for the harmonization of its sales tax with the GST.

It predicts the deficit will be paid down by 2014-2015.

The budget bill now proceeds to the Senate.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper focused his entire electoral campaign on the original budget document, urging Canadians to stay the course with the Conservative government.

The real vote on the budget came election day, said Ted Menzies, minister of state for finance.

“Canadians voted, came out en masse, and said we think this government’s been doing the right thing, we think their plan has been effective … let’s get back to work,” Menzies said.

“It’s a very interesting dynamic we have right now. I have never sat in a majority government, so it’ll be pretty exciting for me to see this budget pass.”