Twenty years of (expanding) budget bills - Macleans.ca
 

Twenty years of (expanding) budget bills

A numerical history of omnibus legislation


 
Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

The second budget implementation bill of the year arrived last Thursday. Although it’s what’s on the inside that counts, of course, a simple page count is interesting and this one weighs in at 478 pages—good enough to make C-43 the third-largest budget bill of the last 20 years. (Congratulations to Joe Oliver?)

Here is my tally of every budget implementation bill since 1994, with page counts at Royal Assent (except for C-43).

C-17, 1994. 24 pages
C-76, 1995. 49 pages
C-31, 1996. 56 pages
C-93, 1997. 61 pages.
C-36, 1998. 92 pages.
C-71, 1999. 32 pages.
C-32, 2000. 35 pages.
C-49, 2001. 124 pages.
C-28, 2003. 144 pages.
C-30, 2004. 64 pages.
C-33. 2004. 82 pages.
C-43, 2005. 120 pages.
C-13, 2006. 198 pages.
C-28, 2006. 140 pages.
C-52, 2007. 146 pages.
C-28, 2007. 378 pages.
C-50, 2008. 152 pages.
C-10, 2009. 552 pages.
C-51, 2009. 60 pages.
C-9, 2010. 904 pages.
C-47, 2010. 152 pages.
C-3, 2011. 58 pages.
C-13, 2011. 658 pages.
C-38, 2012. 452 pages.
C-45, 2012. 430 pages.
C-60, 2013. 128 pages.
C-4, 2013. 322 pages.
C-31, 2014. 380 pages.
C-43, 2014. 478 pages.

For total annual page count, 2014 is now in a position to have the third-highest total, with 858 pages of budget bills—topped only by 2012’s 882 pages and 2010’s 1,056 pages.

In five-year increments (note: there was no budget bill in 2002), the average length of budget bills looks like this:

1994 to 1998 56.4 pages
1999 to 2004 80.2 pages
2005 to 2009 218.3 pages
2010 to 2014 396.2 pages


 

Twenty years of (expanding) budget bills

  1. Omnibus = UnderTheBus

  2. How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?

    We can agree with some of the measures but oppose others. How do we express our views and the views of our constituents when the matters are so diverse? Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill.

    Opposition MP Stephen Harper, March 25, 1994

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=35&Ses=1&DocId=2332300