The Supreme Court, now part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Meet the newest omnibus budget bill

The Harper government tabled this morning its second budget implementation bill of the year, officially dubbed Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 2. At 321 pages (according to the count on my computer), it’s more than twice the size of the first budget bill of 2013, but is merely the sixth largest budget bill the Harper government has introduced since 2006.

The official purpose of the bill is apparently to “help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and secure Canada’s long-term prosperity,” which apparently now includes amending the Supreme Court Act to get around the objections raised against the Prime Minister’s latest appointee. But that much might actually require a constitutional amendment.

However, Rocco Galati, the lawyer who launched a judicial challenge of Nadon’s appointment on that basis, said changes of this type require a constitutional amendment and even if the change is passed along with other budget measures, it won’t do much to alter Nadon’s particular case.

“That’s simply changing the composition of the Supreme Court through the back door,” he said in an interview, arguing such changes legally require a constitutional amendment: in other words, the support of seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population. “By clarifying it, they’re admitting that it didn’t read that way before and if it didn’t read that way before, they are de facto changing the composition of the Supreme Court.”

Here is the bill in full.