Last night for the first time as far as I know, a federal budget was amended by an opposition party. Jack Layton and the NDP were determined to make Parliament work and they achieved a historic moment last evening.
The budget amendment, Bill C-48 passed after the Liberals caught the Conservatives by surprise. The Harper gang did not have enough votes to stop the bill from being passed.
Layton and historic NDP budget vote
The budget amendment included new money for Cities, the environment, affordable housing and an increase in Foreign Aid. The budget amendment was supported heavily by Canada's cities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In a strange twist, local city councils dominated by Conservatives, like Kelowna, passed motions supporting the amendment.
The Parliament has been dominated by the Gomery Inquiry, the sponsorship debacle, Belinda Stronach crossing to the Liberals and the incredible Grewal taping fiasco. The Liberals and Conservatives spent more time addressing scandal and trying to out maneuver the other guy.
Harper's Tories worked back and forth with the BLOC to defeat the Liberals and last night Harper and Deputy Leader Peter MacKay slammed the Liberals for working with the BLOC to get a vote on the budget amendment. It was a very poor line of attack to choose. The Liberals have also chastised the Tories for making deals with the seperatists. It is no wonder Canadians are fed up with politics.
Canadians have said for months they did not want an election, they want the political parties to make Parliament work. It would appear one leader and one party have done that. While the insults are flying back and forth, the NDP and Jack Layton have remained focused, on getting down to business.
It would appear now Parliament can finally get on with a vote to pass the Civil Marriage Bill, C-38. Again, this debate is over two years old, over 500 presentations have been made to parliamentary committees on the issue. Every Court in the land that has heard the argument for equal-marriage and has decreed it a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.
Polls continue to show a slim majority of Canadians support the right for gays and lesbians to get married. 76% of Canadians in a poll conducted this spring said get on with the vote including 70% of Conservative supporters. You can expect the debate over the next couple of weeks will end with Bill C-38 passing.
Perhaps now with Parliament not under a threat of being dissolved for another eight months, we can demand Parliamentarians address Health care in light of the recent Supreme Court decision.
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