Stage set for marathon vote on budget bill

Members of Parliament are spending today getting their affairs in order before they hunker down for a voting marathon on the government’s budget implementation bill. They’re preparing for what’s expected to be more than 24 consecutive hours of voting on more than 800 proposed amendments to Bill C-38.

OTTAWA — Members of Parliament are spending today getting their affairs in order before they hunker down for a voting marathon on the government’s budget implementation bill.

They’re preparing for what’s expected to be more than 24 consecutive hours of voting on more than 800 proposed amendments to Bill C-38.

The voting is likely to begin late afternoon or early evening tomorrow, after the current round of debate ends.

The Conservatives curtailed the number of hours for that debate, winning a 157-135 vote today to end it after 10 more hours of speeches.

Similar vote totals are likely to repeat themselves again and again over the prolonged series of votes on the amendments.

The marathon could have been longer — the Opposition introduced more than 1,000 amendments to the controversial budget bill.

But the Speaker of the House of Commons ruled Monday that not all of the amendments would be allowed and he also grouped many of them together.

It means MPs will vote at least 67 times and no more than 159 — a process that will take a least an entire day.

Once that concludes, there will be a further eight hours of debate on the budget bill on Monday, before it gets third reading and goes to the Senate.

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