OTTAWA – The Harper Conservatives are set to launch another huge raft of contentious measures this fall as Parliament resumes today.
The second phase of the Tory budget plan is aimed at further slashing government spending and changing pension plans for MPs and federal workers.
Phase two is expected to include measures that were outlined in the spring budget but didn’t make it into Bill C38, the controversial budget implementation bill that was passed in June.
Related reading from the Maclean’s Ottawa bureau:
- A rough guide to the fall sitting
- Five stories we’re watching
- Video: The Maclean’s Ottawa bureau previews the fall season
- Politics on TV: The Sunday talkshows
- ‘He knows his MPs are lying’
Government House leader Peter Van Loan describes the planned bill “cornerstone legislation” of a fall sitting focused on job creation and economic growth.
The Opposition is trying to set its own agenda, centred largely around helping people who’ve lost their jobs and consumers who feel they’re being gouged at the gas pumps and by big corporations.
New Democrat consumer protection critic Glenn Thibeault says his party will continue its push for a gasoline ombudsman who can field consumer complaints about high fuel prices.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper set the stage last week for continued cuts in government spending when he announced a parliamentary committee tasked with finding deeper cuts to the public purse.
The committee is being headed by tight-fisted Treasury Board President Tony Clement.
The Tories appear to be riding high as they enter a new phase of their majority mandate.
A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll conducted within the two weeks prior to the fall sitting suggests the Tories have opened up a seven-point lead over the NDP.
The survey puts Conservative support at 34 per cent, the NDP at 27, the Liberals at 24 and the Green party at seven.
Two-thousand Canadians were questioned for the poll earlier this month, which is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times in 20.