No time for debate

While the Liberals complain that the budget implementation act received just four days of House debate at second reading—15 seconds per page, the Liberals figure—two former government House leaders defend the practice of “time allocation.”

“If the opposition is entitled to filibuster, then the government is entitled to un-filibuster,” Boudria said. The second-longest serving House leader in Canadian history, Boudria said the government needs to be able to speed up a bill if the opposition has slowed it down.

His counterpart — who was often the target of the measures Boudria used under Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien — said parliamentary rules that allow the government to end debate are necessary. “Although we railed against their usage at times by Mr. Chrétien and Don Boudria, we recognized even then that in our system of government, if you’re going to actually get something done, you have to be able to use them,” Hill said.

In addition to being a critic of omnibus legislation, the young Stephen Harper was also not particularly a fan of the use of time allocation and closure.