Monday, February 23, 2009

Parliament to Pass Budget at ‘Lightning Speed’: MPs

(Bea Vongdouangchanh — Hill Times)

House Finance Committee will get only two days to study budget spending.

The federal government’s budget bill will go through Parliament at “lightning speed” and will most likely be passed within the next month, say Conservative and Liberal MPs, but the New Democrats, who won’t try to hold up the bill’s passage, say it’s also “insufficient” time to properly study a bill that’s 551 pages and includes a $40-billion stimulus package.

In its budget, the Conservative government stated that for the stimulus package to be most effective, it has to be implemented within 120 days, by May 27.

Conservative MP Mike Wallace (Burlington, Ont.), who sits on the House Finance Committee, said the government is working hard to meet its goal, which is why the House Finance Committee is meeting this Monday to hear from representatives from 24 organizations and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty (Whitby-Oshawa, Ont.) in four separate meetings.

Mr. Wallace said the committee will then move into clause-by-clause study of the bill on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

“We did a lot of pre-budget consultations, and so did the other parties, at least they claim they did, so we’ve [already] heard from a lot of people,” Mr. Wallace said last week, adding that the committee will hear from “key folks” and work quickly to report the bill back to the House.

“Instead of taking three months to do this process, we need to get it done, all completely done within a month.” Read more here.