Omnibus budget bill passed into law
Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 21, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:15AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 30, 2012 1:32PM EDT
The Conservative government’s far-reaching budget bill has become law, ending a bitter political tug of war fraught with intentional delays and a marathon vote.
Bill C-38 passed through the Senate with relative ease on Friday afternoon, with the ruling Tories using their majority to overtake the opposition in a 49-31 vote.
The royal assent was hard-won with opposition MPs using deliberate challenges, amendments and a voting marathon in an unsuccessful bid to stop the bill in the House of Commons.
Referred to as a “kitchen sink” bill, the 400-plus page document includes changes to employment insurance legislation, old age security and environmental protection laws.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were able to quash hundreds of amendments to the bill before it moved on to a third and final reading in the Commons.
The around-the-clock session, which lasted roughly 22 hours, had MPs standing for 159 votes.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, one of Bill C-38’s most vocal opponents, has called the bill an “illegitimate attempt to change” at least 70 laws.
Protesters have called the bill “undemocratic” and a “Trojan horse,” accusing the Conservatives of trying to bury contentious changes to Canadian law in the omnibus document.
The bill’s formal approval comes just as Parliament breaks for the summer.