Last week’s 24-hour House of Commons vote on Stephen Harper‘s draconian budget Bill C-38, the “Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act”, ended in a dramatic fashion. The New Democratic Party (NDP), the Official Opposition, concluded the vote with a spontaneous: Deux mille quinze! Deux mille quinze! Deux mille quinze! chant. That’s French for 2015! But why the celebration, after a grueling marathon vote where the Conservative majority torpedoed every single one of the combined opposition’s 800 progressive amendments?
The answer: 2015. The year we’ve pinned our hopes of ridding ourselves of Harper. Through the ballot. NDP House leader Nathan Cullen characterized the chant as a “confirmation of purpose.” In other words: An assurance to Canadians that the party is already a capable alternative to the Conservatives. That’s because NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has assembled a shadow cabinet to rival the oft-bombastic but corporations-serving Conservatives.
For an incredible 24 hours, Canadian opposition MPs held up the passage of Stephen Harper and the Conservative government’s draconian budget Bill C-38. They forced votes on more than 800 proposed amendments to the 425-page behemoth. In the end the Conservatives torpedoed every opposition amendment, to score a dubious, dictatorship-style 159-0 “victory”. The tweets below testify to the opposition’s frustrations during the marathon vote. (Pic. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair)
What a sad day for Canadian politics! All day today, millions of us were entranced by the epic beginning of the struggle against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s draconian Budget Bill C-38. In the meantime, the Conservatives used their majority advantage in the House of Commons to pass Immigration minister Jason Kenney‘s backward-looking legislation, Bill C-31. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act cleared the Commons by a 159-132 vote.
After the vote, the NDP’s immigration and citizenship critic Jinny Sims said on Twitter: “This is taking Canada in the wrong direction.”
“There is nothing in this bill that will go after smugglers in a way that they’re going to catch those international smugglers. This is really about punishing the most vulnerable citizens when they arrive here, putting their lives at risk and when they get here, we’re going to throw them in prison,” she said.