Peter Julian’s one-man show

by Aaron Wherry

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.




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Peter Julian’s one-man show

  1. And what of those other MP’s that Canadians voted for?

    I think I’m sick of Mulcair already. 

  2. Mulcair makes me feel angry, fearful, and desperate.

  3. Anybody still labouring under the delusion that the NDP does poltics any differently than any other party is woefully misinformed. This stunt by Julien was nothing more than an opportunistic way for the NDP to ‘own’ the opposition to the budget…….he was reading tweets for cripes sake. I wanted to hear from the Liberals and the Greens and the Boc becuase the other parties have a different take on what are the issues and the NDP just stole that from me……..thanks NDP, mean-spritied, wildly partisan no matter what…….you are getting more like Harper by the day.

    • An NDP Government will be the worst anyone can imagine.

  4. Perhaps, charitably, Peter has just seem “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” too many times.

    Less charitably this is a pretty transparent attempt to ensure no other opposition party gets a chance to speak on the budget.  I wonder if there has ever been another example of one opposition member hogging the floor on a budget debate like this?
    (another question might be whether Peter has said anything memorable at all in his hours on his feet?)

    • It hasn’t been a complete waste. We’ve had such gems like this:

      “Back in 1976, I was still in high school. I am not sure where you
      were, Mr. Speaker. You are older than your years. You may even have been
      a child prodigy, I do not know. However, back in 1976, I was wearing
      bell-bottom trousers and Saturday Night Live was big.”

  5. It is extraordinarily disappointing that Mulcair appears to be in agreement with the PM wrt the use of ”
    We’ve been very clear”

  6. It’s terribly disappointing to see the NDP stooping so low, so soon after Mulcair assuming leadership. If this is the direction he plans on taking the party it I can’t see how he will convince Canadians he will be an improvement over Harper. 

  7. This is Mulcair more than it is the NDP, although obviously Julian was happy to go along with it.  NDP MP Leslie asked a question at one point on the procedure, suggesting she was concerned about the time allotted as Julian was speaking much longer than she was used to.  This suggests to me that not all the NDP was on board with this tactic.  

    Five years ago, the Liberals were the Official Opposition and Aaron wrote this column describing the budget debate:

    http://www.macleans.ca/canada/features/article.jsp?content=20070319_223954_4228

    Note that the Liberals stopped speaking, then Libby Davis spoke, then the Liberals spoke again.  Wonder what Libby thinks now being on the other side and not extending the courtesy that was extended to her.  I wouldn’t peg her as one to be in Mulcair’s camp either.

  8. Je crois fortement qu’il est important de faire sentir au gouvernement que l’opposition officielle sera forte. J’approuve la tactique.

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