MP defends omnibus bill that became law
It drew heavy fire from critics and took nearly 24 hours of straight voting to pass, but the Conservative government’s budget legislation isn’t getting any criticism from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod.
Speaking to KTW on the first day of Parliament’s summer break, the Conservative MP said she is comfortable all the pieces of Bill C-38 fit together.
“A budget is an all-of-government approach to where we’re going and, certainly, as I looked at the details of the budget, they did all interconnect in terms of what was the name and the theme: Long Term Jobs, Growth and Prosperity,” she said.
Critics have said many of the changes in the bill — which amends nearly 70 laws and includes a streamlining of environmental reviews and an increased age of eligibility for Old Age Security — should have been introduced separately, so they could be given more scrutiny and debate.
But, McLeod said it was important to the country’s economy to get the bill passed in its complete form.
“It takes a long time to move legislation through,” she said.
“When we took a look at what’s happening in Europe, what’s happening around us, we felt the components of the budget fit together in terms of what we needed to do to move forward and create an environment for Canada’s success.”
McLeod noted the budget bill isn’t the longest the government has introduced. By page count, C-38 was more than 400 pages.
“The last three years ranged from 500 to 800 and they, too, had an all-of-government approach,” she said.
“In 2009, [the budget] had some environmental changes, it had some changes to navigable waters, so it’s certainly not unusual for a bill to be looking at many different areas of government. But, certainly, this was large in terms of the number of pieces.”
McLeod said she’s pleased with the government’s progress this year, pointing to the scrapping of the long-gun registry, updates to Canada’s copyright act and crime legislation that introduces new mandatory minimum penalties for various drug offences as successes from the last session.
In addition to spending time on the summer barbecue circuit, McLeod is set to tour the province over the break, speaking about the government’s Red Tape Reduction Commission and changes in the works for small businesses.