The prospect of a second budget bill figures prominently and Thomas Mulcair was asked about that legislation yesterday in his interview with Tom Clark.
Tom Clark: I’m wondering, the government has also said that it is going to be bringing in another omnibus bill like we saw last spring on the Budget Implementation Act. Now when that happened last spring, you and your party put up a parliamentary protest about it. We had the marathon voting session. If there’s an omnibus bill put in front of the House this fall, what are you going to do?
Thomas Mulcair: Well they could surprise us and put something interesting in it so I won’t presume it in advance but as we say in French, “le passé est en garante l’avenir.” You know, since the past behaviour sometimes guarantees what they’re going to do in the future you can expect some of the things that they would be doing to be completely contrary to what Canada needs right now. We need a government that doesn’t just wash its hands of all these economic problems. You have to look at it in a clear-eyed manor and say, okay, we’re losing the balanced economy we built up since the Second World War. We’re killing off manufacturing sector; we’ve got to try to get some of that back. If that bill does the same thing as the last one, we didn’t just use our tools in Parliament, we went across Canada. You know people from Victoria to St. John’s were organizing meetings. Hundreds of people came out to those meetings and we were able to point out what they were doing. Requiring people to work two more years to get their Old Age Security, gutting Employment Insurance, especially in regions that rely a lot on seasonal employment, and of course, as I mentioned before, going after environmental legislation in a way that will leave a huge deficit for future generations, this time on the ecological front.
Tom Clark: But are you saying though that if the measures in an omnibus bill are measures that you think are positive or at least take the country in the right direction, that you may support it?
Thomas Mulcair: We’ve always tried to take a balanced approach. You know, we’ve believed that as the Opposition, of course sometimes we’re going to oppose because we have diametrically opposed views to the Conservatives on certain issues, but on the other hand, we’re also about proposing and if there are things in there that can help bring solutions, of course we’ll support them.
Tom Clark: So you’re not fundamentally opposed to the idea of an omnibus bill then?
Thomas Mulcair: Well it depends what’s in it and when you go after things like environmental legislation that has nothing to do with your budget, that’s using the budget bill as a Trojan horse. You’re hiding things in there. People expect a budget bill to be just about that; about numbers, about what’s going to be spent or not spent in the economy. That is what you’re expecting to see. They’re using the old American method of having a bill where you tack on hundreds of riders, you know, pork barrel things that have nothing to do with the budget but everything to do with their right wing agenda.