One last stand against C-38

The House is proceeding with debate at third reading for C-38 today, the New Democrats have thrown a reasoned amendment at the bill.

That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: this House declines to give third reading to Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, because this House:

a) does not know the full implications of the budget cuts given that the government has kept the details of the $5.2 billion in spending cuts from the Parliamentary Budget Officer whose lawyer Joseph Magnet says the government is violating the Federal Accountability Act law and should turn the information over to the Parliamentary Budget Officer;

b) is concerned with the impact of the changes in the Bill on Canadian society such as: i. making it more difficult for Canadians to access Employment Insurance when they need it and forcing them to accept jobs at 70% of what they previously earned or lose their EI; ii. raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement from 65 to 67 years and thus driving thousands of Canadians into poverty while downloading spending to the provinces; iii. cutting back the federal health transfers to the provinces from 2017 on, which will result in a loss of $31 billion to the health care system; and iv. gutting the federal environmental assessment regime and weakening fish habitat protection which will adversely affect Canada’s environmental sustainability for generations to come; and

c) is opposed to the removal of critical oversight powers of the Auditor General over a dozen agencies and the systematic concentration of powers in the hands of Government ministers over agencies such as the National Energy Board which weakens Canadian’s confidence in the work of parliament, decreases transparency and erodes fundamental democratic institutions by systematically eroding institutional checks and balances to the government’s ideological driven agenda.

This apparently won’t do anything to delay a final vote on C-38—likely to occur tonight—but it does at least get the official opposition’s complaints on the record one last time.