The NDP finance critic officially began his response to the budget with a few remarks shortly before 5pm last Thursday. The House then adjourned.
Mr. Julian picked up again on Friday morning at 10am. He spoke for an hour, then paused for statements by members and Question Period, then resumed around 12:15pm. He spoke for three hours until the House moved on to private members’ business.
On Monday at noon, the House returned to the budget debate and Mr. Julian picked up where he’d left off. He spoke for two hours until it was time for statements by members and Question Period. He resumed speaking at 3:30pm and remained on his feet until just about 6:30pm, when the House began adjournment proceedings.
Shortly after the House opened for business this morning at 10am, Mr. Julian rose to continue with his remarks. He informed the House that, after pausing for QP, he should be done speaking sometime around 4:30pm.
As the opposition member responding to the Finance Minister, Mr. Julian is subject to no time limit. He has invited members of the public to write in their comments on the budget and has been reading them into the record as he goes. The budget debate itself is subject to a maximum of four days of debate. By the time he’s finished, he will have taken up just less than three days of that.
Thomas Mulcair was asked yesterday about Mr. Julian’s speechifying and explained as follows.
We’ve been very clear since the beginning we’re going to use every opportunity that the parliamentary rule book presents us as Official Opposition to do our jobs correctly of showing everything that’s wrong with this budget. We have a Prime Minister who stood up in the House and promised he wouldn’t touch pensions. He’s adding two more years to get your OAS. He’s taking $12,000 out of the pockets of every single senior who’s going to be reaching retirement age. He swore that he wouldn’t touch health transfers to the provinces. We’re going to be short $31 billion from what was planned. These are things that have to be pointed out. Their economic management has been abysmal and we’re going to take all the time that we need and use all of the parliamentary tools at our disposal to make sure that we do our jobs as Canadians have elected us to do.