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Green party leader May threatens budget delay

May 11 2012
Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May says she will put forward amendments to the budget bill at the report stage. 

Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May says she will put forward amendments to the budget bill at the report stage.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com

Saanich-Gulf Islands Green MP Elizabeth May is threatening to hold up a vote on the Conservatives' sweeping budget bill for days if the prime minister won't consider breaking it up into related items.

May said the federal government's sweeping budget bill - which includes changes affecting everything from Old Age Pensions to oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency - would change Canada's environmental regulations, laws and policies for the worse.

"I think all of us in the Opposition ranks are scandalized by the effort to hide so much within the 425-page Budget Implementation Act," May said.

May has not been able to speak on second reading of Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Act, but said she would put forward amendments at the report stage.

If she receives a favourable ruling from the Speaker and has her amendments seconded by fellow MPs, she could force a vote on every amendment.

"I think the Conservatives may want to rethink insisting that this whole bill go forward as an omnibus bill covering 70 acts," May said.

"I will not back down," she said. "We could be there for days."

May took a similar tack with the government's crime omnibus bill, introducing 42 amendments, all of which were ruled in order.

Had she insisted on a vote on each, "we would have been there until 3 in the morning," she said.

The Green party leader said the budget would affect 19 different environmental laws, policies and regulations, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Species at Risk Act.

Victoria NDP MP Denise Savoie also spoke out against the omnibus budget bill on Thursday - the 40th anniversary "of the Canadian government's introduction of a moratorium banning oil tankers from B.C.'s north and central coast" - calling on the federal government to honour the current ban and pass a legislated ban.

"If the government continues to exclude British Columbians on a decision that will ultimately affect our future, they will face the most powerful, organized opposition they have ever encountered," Savoie said.

The NDP and Green party both oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

The proposed pipeline would transport about 79 million barrels of oil daily from Alberta to Kitimat, where it would be pumped onto tankers for export to Asian markets.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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