Opposition vows to erect hurdles to budget bill

The Harper government will have to scale potentially hundreds of procedural hurdles — erected by three different opposition parties — in order to secure passage of its massive budget implementation bill.

OTTAWA — The Harper government will have to scale potentially hundreds of procedural hurdles — erected by three different opposition parties — in order to secure passage of its massive budget implementation bill.

The Conservatives’ majority ensures the 400-plus-page bill will eventually win parliamentary approval.

But procedural ploys promised by the NDP, Liberals and lone Green MP Elizabeth May mean it could take days — or even weeks — longer than the government had hoped.

“Our objective is to show the government that what they are doing is profoundly anti-democratic,” said Liberal House leader Marc Garneau.

The huge, complex bill is stuffed with a host of non-budgetary matters, including controversial changes to environmental regulations, immigration law, fisheries management and Employment Insurance.

Opposition parties are hoping they can delay passage of the bill long enough that the government will eventually bow to their demands to split it up into manageable chunks that can be scrutinized more closely.

While their goal is the same, the three opposition parties are not working in concert. Indeed, they appear to be competing over which party can mount the most effective opposition to the controversial budget bill.

The NDP began Wednesday with a series of procedural tricks that prevented debate on the budget bill. The aim, the party said, was to ultimately delay a second-reading vote on the bill planned for Monday.

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