Voting on Bill C-45: So much standing, sitting and signing of Christmas cards

Aaron Wherry’s formerly live blog from a long night in the House

by Aaron Wherry

The House of Commons is filling up—the Prime Minister seems to have brought a large stack of paperwork to keep him busy—and voting on C-45 will soon commence. We’ll be here until the end to observer all the sights, sounds, thrills and chills of democracy in motion (specifically the motion of standing and sitting down repeatedly).

Our bluffer’s guide to the second budget implementation act is here. All previous coverage of C-45 is archived here. And our diary of the spring’s vote marathon is here.

3:43pm. The party whips have been duly applauded and the Speaker is now calling the first vote. Thomas Mulcair receives a round of applause as he leads the votes in favour.

3:45pm. If you’d like to follow along with the commentary from the floor, our list of MPs on Twitter is here.

3:47pm. Mr. Harper receives a round of applause as he leads the nays.

3:51pm. The first vote goes to the nays, 156-134.

3:56pm. Michelle Rempel, Pierre Poilievre, Randy Kamp, Mark Adler, Bob Rae, Vic Toews and Ruth Ellen Brosseau are using the time to sign Christmas cards. Greg Rickford is reading Sports Illustrated. Denis Lebel is going through some paperwork. Megan Leslie and Nathan Cullen are fiddling with their iPads.

3:58pm. The second notes goes to the nays, 147-134.

4:06pm. The third vote goes to the nays, 148-134. About 10 Conservative MPs just took their first break.

4:13pm. The fourth vote goes to the nays, 147-134. Nathan Cullen rises on a point of order with some concern that a voice vote was not asked for before the last recorded vote. The Speaker acknowledges his error and promises to make sure a voice vote is taken before each recorded vote from now on.

4:20pm. The fifth vote goes to the nays, 243-38—with the New Democrats joining the Conservatives in voting no. The second shift change on the Conservative side just took place.

4:26pm. Raffi, who was in attendance for Question Period, is unimpressed.

4:30pm. The fifth vote goes to the nays, 148-134.

4:31pm. According to a source close to the NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair is presently reading a book entitled, “Regulation theory and sustainable development.”

4:38pm. The sixth vote goes to the nays with the New Democrats voting in the negative. Dan Harris explains. The Conservatives are passing around a bag of peanut M&Ms.

4:45pm. Pierre Poilievre is very careful to make sure the ink has dried on his Christmas cards before he puts them in their respective envelopes. He was just using a very elaborate sweeping hand gesture (sort of a figure eight) to air out a card.

4:49pm. There are four spectators in the south gallery watching this standing, sitting and signing of Christmas cards.

4:51pm. Dick Harris is wearing sun glasses. He spent most of the spring vote marathon with his tie undone.

4:57pm. The stuffed dog that occupied a seat on the government side during the C-38 votes has not shown up for these votes. Perhaps he was kicked out of caucus.

5:03pm. Jim Flaherty might be sleeping. Wait, nope, I think the NDP’s clapping for Mr. Mulcair woke him up. Another reason to ban clapping in the House. Would make it easier to nap.

5:08pm. Pierre Poilievre is reading the dictionary.

5:24pm. A statement from Ted Menzies has just been sent out to convey the minister of state’s profound disappointment with the NDP’s desire to remove the legislation related to pooled retirement pension plans from C-45. “Canadians should be disappointed,” he suggests, “that the opposition would launch an irresponsible attack and attempt to block a measure that will help millions of Canadians meet their retirement goals.”

5:27pm. Dan Harris and John Baird just joked about Mr. Harris tossing a peanut M&M across the aisle to Mr. Baird. Even at this dark hour, bipartisanship lives.

5:35pm. The opposition, in the judgment of the Speaker, just won a voice vote. Alas, the Conservatives demanded a recorded vote, which the opposition will now lose.

5:42pm. The Prime Minister just took his leave with the latest government shift change. Some degree of jeering from the NDP side ensued.

6:05pm. Thomas Mulcair is unimpressed.

#CPC’s absolute refusal to work with opposition tonight makes a mockery of Parliament. Cdns deserve better

6:15pm. A blue bag emblazoned with Lisa Raitt’s name and filled with candy is being passed around the government side. The sound of crinkling wrappers fills the House.

6:18pm. A security guard just came by to warn the members of the press gallery against excessive laughter.

6:29pm. Nathan Cullen just sent the press gallery a bag of candy. A nice gesture, but also a contractual obligation of the liberal media conspiracy.

6:35pm. A security guard just came by to warn the members of the press gallery against eating the candy that Mr. Cullen sent up.

6:45pm. Michael Chong is reading Grain Farmer magazine. In other news, Kirsty Duncan needs an antihistamine if anyone has one handy.

6:54pm. Ms. Duncan got her antihistamine. Bruce Hyer had one.

7:03pm. The opposition just won a voice vote (which will now be overturned with a record vote). The best guess is we’ve got something like three more hours to go.

7:06pm. Dan Harris breaks out the Lego. Last time he completed a pretty sweet tie interceptor.

7:12pm. The heckling moves online as Pierre-Luc Dusseault tweets at Mark Warawa.

7:17pm. Rona Ambrose has opened the top of her desk and propped up her iPad underneath to create her own personal movie theatre. And whatever she’s watching just made her look away and grimace.

7:45pm. It is believed there are a mere 15 votes remaining. John Baird’s yelling at someone.

7:47pm. Controversy on the opposition as Ted Hsu frets that in standing up to request an antihistamine for Ms. Duncan he might have accidentally recorded a vote for the government.

7:49pm. The Prime Minister has returned. And has returned to his paperwork.

7:53pm. The NDP has commenced slow voting. The Conservatives are jeering. This vote apparently has to do with the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Nathan Cullen just carried on a back-and-forth with James Moore while voting. “Nice work children!” called someone on the government side. Gordon O’Connor, the government whip, is appealing for quiet from his side.

8:00pm. John Baird is providing running commentary on the slow vote. He declared this to be the NDP’s “productivity in the workplace policy,” which the government backbench enjoyed. There was also something about the New Democrats thinking they were getting time and a half.

8:03pm. Tyrone Benskin’s graceful and slow bow wins a round of applause.

8:05pm. With the NDP vote concluded, the Conservatives applaud as the Liberal stand to vote at normal speed.

8:06pm. For whatever reason—in celebration of the his side’s slow vote?—the NDP’s Jamie Nicholls just tweeted this picture of a sloth.

8:08pm. And now a penis joke, courtesy of Tony Clement.

#SlowVoting by NDP now succeeded by quick voting by Liberals. “Bob Rae knows how to get it up!” a person next to me quips loudly…

John Baird is to Mr. Clement’s immediate right. Jim Flaherty is to Mr. Clement’s immediate left.

8:11pm. That motion is defeated, but the slow voting continues, led by a methodical Mr. Mulcair.

8:14pm. Peter Julian just luxuriated in the act of voting. Pausing, once on his feet, to do both buttons on his jacket, then slowly bow his head, before returning to his seat.

8:15pm. “Canadians are watching!” calls a voice on the government side.

8:17pm. Alexandre Boulerice just paused once on his feet to take two sips of water and then made a water-flowing motion with his right hand before returning to his seat.

8:24pm. I believe Rona Ambrose just gasped at whatever she’s watching on her iPad.

8:29pm. A particularly enthusiastic cheer for the Prime Minister as he leads the government vote.

8:34pm. With that motion defeated, the NDP returns to normal speed.

8:56pm. The Prime Minister passes along a photo to demonstrate how much he enjoys voting.

9:18pm. At this late hour, it is a test to see which gentlemen in the House still have the manners to button their jackets when standing and unbutton their jackets upon returning to their seats. Matthew Dube, for instance, did well this time through. The Prime Minister as well.

9:24pm. John Baird now kidding with the NDP frontbench, notes that this sort of thing didn’t happen when he was Government House leader. I think Mr. Baird enjoys these things. I believe he has successfully yelled “hear, hear!” each time the Prime Minister has voted so far.

9:30pm. It’s possible we’re down to the last five votes.

9:34pm. Rick Dykstra expertly cracks open a can of pop and pours himself a drink under his desk so as not to too gratuitously offend the orders of this place.

9:38pm. The motion is defeated 148-133.

9:42pm. There are now 10 people in the south gallery to watch the exciting conclusion.

9:46pm. The motion is defeated 146-132.

9:47pm. Glenn Thibeault notes the ominous number of the amendment to be voted on.

Last vote is on amendment 666. Shall I start singing #IronMaiden.

9:49pm. Bob Rae receives a standing ovation from the Liberal corner. The Conservatives across the way add their applause. When the vote moves to the government side, Mr. Harper receives a standing ovation from his MPs.

9:52pm. MPs are beginning to pack up their belongings.

9:53pm. The motion is defeated 153-133.

9:54pm. The last vote, to pass the budget at report stage. The Conservatives yell “yay,” the New Democrats scream “no.” Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin gives the voice vote to the opposition, but a recorded vote is demanded. A standing ovation and prolonged applause for the Prime Minister as the government side votes.

9:56pm. Alas, Dan Harris’ Gold Leader Y-wing Starfighter will not be completed tonight.

9:58pm. The Conservatives cheer the last of their votes and then the New Democrats treat Thomas Mulcair to a standing ovation and prolonged applause for Thomas Mulcair as he leads the nays. The New Democrats continue cheering as the clerks call their votes. As they did last spring, the NDP chant “deux-mille-quinze!” The Conservatives respond by banging their desks and chanting “carbon tax!”

10:01pm. Elizabeth May casts the last no vote and the bill is passed at report stage. The Conservatives applaud. Mr. Harper accepts handshakes. MPs on all sides file out and the House moves to adjournment debate. Applause can be heard from the government lobby.

Voting on Bill C-45: So much standing, sitting and signing of Christmas cards

  1. Seeing his photo on this blog reminds me — is there something wrong with Jim Flaherty’s health? I have noticed on TV the past couple of weeks that his face is very bloated, redder than usual — is he okay?

  2. “The stuffed dog that occupied a seat on the government
    side during the C-38 votes has not shown up for these votes. Perhaps he
    was kicked out of caucus.”

    Probably showed a streak of independence by not asking before going out.

  3. Less than 1 in 4 eligible voters endorsed the Harper agenda in 2011 yet they rule with an iron fist! You wonder why democracy is at an all time low in Canada. The will of the minority is imposed on the majority of Canadians. We need to implement a more democratic ballot than FPTP

  4. I find this article insulting to the Westminster Parliamentary system, democracy and a waste of journalistic space. How about doing some intelligent investigative reporting rather than mocking what Canadians hold in high regard — our freedom from totalitarian rule? This is not funny or clever.

  5. This Bill C-45 is pretty dumb, it’s just another way to abolish the Indian act and the treaties the government signed. Canada was made up of signed treaties, they said they’ll keep the treaties going as long the sun shines, the rivers are flowing and the grass is growing. Pretty pathetic how Harper can try abolish something that’s been around longer than he has been. He should ask the youth in what they believe would be the right thing to do. We may be the age’s of 13-19 but we sure know alot about Bill C-45 and the treaties and everything.

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