On Monday the Senate voted to pass the omnibus budget implementation bill. They voted against the amendments which would have split the non-budget items from the bill. The vote to pass the budget as-is was 48-44. A number of Liberal senators were absent. If they had showed up, the non-budget items would have been split from the budget bill, and there would most likely be a Federal Election.
In June, when the House of Commons voted on this bill, 30 Liberal MPs did not show up so that the Liberals could allow the bill to pass and avoid an election.
But, what is of importance here is the set of non-budget items that have been passed along with the budget:
- Authorization for the sale of the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. with no debate or public scrutiny;
- A move towards privatization of Canada Post by removing Canada Post’s exclusive right to collect Canadian mail destined for delivery in other countries;
- Approval for the draining of the Employment Insurance Account, which held a surplus of $57 billion in premiums paid in over the past decade by workers and businesses.
- Weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act by handing responsibility for environmental assessments to the provinces and to the National Energy Board.
CBC: Senate Passes Budget Bill
Challenging the Commonplace: Update - a message from Ignatieff's Liberal senators
CBC Inside Politics Blog: The budget bill vote: the tale of the no-show senators
CBC Inside Politics Blog: Updated - Senatewatch: the not so magnificent seven
Liberals Keep Cons In Power - Again