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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

Tuesday is Harper budget day

[PoliticsWatch Updated 1:50 p.m. April 28, 2006]


OTTAWA —  On Tuesday, Canadians will get a Conservative budget for the first time in 13 years.   

The budget is expected to include two of the Conservatives' famous five priorities -- a one-per-cent reduction in the Goods and Services Tax and a the promised $100 a month cheque to families for each children under six to cover child-care expenses.

The budget is a confidence vote and its defeat would mean the defeat of the government and result in an election. 

The Conservatives only need one of the three opposition parties to back their budget to avert defeat, but already the NDP and the Liberals are both making demands. 

The Liberal finance critic John McCallum said this week the Liberals would not a support a budget that rolled back the one-per-cent reduction in income tax the Liberals passed days before their government was defeated in the House in November. 

And NDP Leader Jack Layton has a laundry list of demands including ending subsidies to gas and oil companies, long-term child-care funding, investment in post-secondary education and "fixing up" the Employment Insurance program. 

Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has held consultations already with the finance critics from the three opposition parties, but Layton's demands and keeping the one-per-cent tax cut are not expected to be in the budget. 

What will be in the budget is still a secret but according to media reports the following can be expected. 

> Canwest News reported this week on a letter that suggests the government will spend $3.3 billion for trusts for provincial governments to spend on transit, education and housing, including a $300 million trust for aboriginal housing, another $300 million trust for housing in the territories, $1 billion for education, $900 million for transit and $800 million for affordable housing.

> "substantial," according to Flaherty, new money for the military

> a tax credit to help families with children playing in sports

> a tax credit to cover the costs of those who use public transit

> possible new assistance for Canadian farmers.

> a reduction in overall government spending to curb spending growth, which rose 15 per cent in the last year. 

Also activity is sent to begin in committees next week. Already six committees are scheduled to elect their chairs, including the powerful finance committee and the international trade committee. The chairs of the six committees meeting next week will be Conservatives. There are reports that Conservatives are being told to select preferred candidates recommended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott already says he has been selected by the prime minister to chair the aboriginal affairs committee.

Here's what's happening in the House next week 

Monday: Second reading of Bill C-3, respecting international bridges and tunnels and Bill C-5, the public health agency. 

A take note debate will be held Monday evening on the subject of the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

Tuesday : The budget will be presented at 4 p.m. ET

Thursday: Opposition Day

Committee Highlights


The aboriginal affairs, finance and public security committees all elect their chairs. 


The immigration, environment and trade committees all elect their chairs.

Bills the Tories have tabled in this Parliament 

C-2 An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability

Status: Referred to committee April 27

This is better known the Federal Accountability Act, which a number of new measures and a massive list of amendments to current laws aimed at cleaning up government. The bill is the government's No. 1 priority and the Tories want it passed before the summer recess in June, but already some senators are threatening to hold up the bill because it creates a joint ethics commissioner for the House and Senate. 

C-3 An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels and making a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Second reading April 28

C-4 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Status: Passed April 27

C-5 An Act respecting the establishment of the Public Health Agency of Canada and amending certain Acts

Status: Introduced April 24

C-6 An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Introduced April 27

C-7 An Act to amend the National Defence Act

Status: Introduced April 27

: Related Links

> Read last week's Legislative Update
> Flaherty to table budget May 2

> Layton wants oil subsidies cut in budget

> Harper's Parliamentary agenda 

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