Omnibus Vote Marathon Could Continue into Friday
“Zombie-like” fatigued MPs vote through the night, bicker over procedure
June 14, 2012
OTTAWA – Fatigued Members of Parliament voted though the night Wednesday on 159 proposed amendments to Bill C-38. As of noon Thursday, only 75 of the votes were completed. The start of voting was delayed significantly by procedural moves from the Liberal Party Wednesday evening, and as a result votes on the amendments to the omnibus budget bill did not start until 1am.
From the House of Commons, a bleary-eyed Bruce Hyer, MP (Thunder Bay-Superior North) said “At times tempers have been short and some of us are becoming more zombie-like as the vote marathon continues, but overall the spirits of both sides are holding up. No accommodation has been made for bathroom breaks and the like, so every time an MP steps out they miss a vote or two. Aside from a few minutes, I’ve been here all night.”
“I am very serious about standing up for democratic principles, for what’s best for Canada, and for my constituents’ wishes,” continued Hyer. “So I intend to continue to support the amendments and oppose this mammoth budget bill. At the current rate of about 10 votes per hour, the voting will come to an end in the wee hours of Friday morning. I will be here as long as it takes. Some have asked given that the Conservatives have the majority – even with only 39% of the vote – is this all futile? I think it is important. When a bully steals your lunch money repeatedly, at some point you have to stand up to him, even if you might not win the first time.”
The budget implementation act, Bill C-38, is the single largest re-write of Canadian laws since Confederation. The sweeping 452-page bill triggered 871 amendments proposed by the opposition, which were grouped into 159 votes by the Speaker. So far, all amendments have been defeated by the majority Conservatives.
Before heading in to vote on Wednesday evening, Hyer addressed a demonstration against C-38 on Parliament Hill, one of many that took place across the country. “This should be called the ‘anti-accountability act’” said Hyer. “Bill C-38 is an assault on democracy that undermines the accountability of the Canadian Government. We all know it guts environmental oversight, but it also takes power away from the auditor general and hands it to cabinet ministers. This is exactly the opposite of what this government has promised Canadians.”
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Bruce Hyer, MP
House of Commons