Light reading

by Aaron Wherry

The government’s latest budget implementation bill—Bill C-13—measures 642 pages.

It is broken into 22 parts. In all, it impacts about two dozen acts of Parliament. Part 1 includes 27 different measures. Part 13 “amends the Judges Act to permit the appointment of two additional judges to the Nunavut Court of Justice.”

Here, again, is a young Stephen Harper lamenting the scourge of omnibus legislation.




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Light reading

  1. Young Steve Harper was complaining about an omnibus bill that contained many different unrelated measures.  In Bill C-13, the measures are all related.  In other words, young Steve was complaining about “apples”, and Bill C-13 consists of “oranges”.

    It is common practice in Canada to use omnibus legislation to amend the Criminal Code.  The 
    Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968-69 is even cited by Wikipedia as a famous example of omnibus legislation.  

    [CORRECTION: I mixed up Bill C-13 with the crime bill. My bad. MostlyCivil sets me straight below!]

    • “In Bill C-13, the measures are all related.  In other words, young Steve was complaining about “apples”, and Bill C-13 consists of “oranges”.

      Apples:
      Part 6 amends the Children’s Special Allowances Act and a regulation made under that Act respecting payments relating to children under care.

      Oranges:
      Part 9 provides for payments to be made to provinces, territories, municipalities, First Nations and other entities for municipal infrastructure improvements.

      Lemons: 
      Part 13 amends the Judges Act to permit the appointment of two additional judges to the Nunavut Court of Justice.

      Sour Grapes:
      Part 18 amends the Canada Elections Act to phase out quarterly allowances to registered parties.

      Cucumbers: 
      Part 19 amends the Special Retirement Arrangements Act to permit the reservation of pension contributions…

      Spare tires:
      Part 20 amends the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to allow residents of Canada to temporarily import a rental vehicle from the United States for up to 30 days…

      Pork chops:
      Part 21 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to clarify the legislative framework pertaining to payments under tax agreements entered into with provinces under Part III.1 of that Act.

      The only way they’re all related is that they’re all in the same piece of legislation.

      • You’re absolutely right.  I stand corrected.  I read a summary of the wrong bill. Mea culpa.

        Bill C-13 really is an example of omnibus legislation involving multiple unrelated subjects, and Wherry is absolutely right to call attention to Harper’s previous aversion to omnibus bills as an example of inconsistency between young Steve and PM Stephen.

        • Way to take responsibility for yourself, Crit!  I admire that.

          • Thanks, Jenn! It was a stupid, hasty mistake, because I didn’t take the time to click on Wherry’s link to the bill.

            Bill C-13 was the Conservative crime bill from a few years ago.  I relied on memory instead of taking the time to follow the link to the current Bill C-13, which (as Wherry said in his blog post, another thing I missed) is a budget implementation bill.

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