Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tory budget passes as opposition just sits there.

Canada: This won't do the NDP/Liberals any good in the reputation department.

OTTAWA - The Conservative government's $227-billion budget accidentally passed with unanimous consent yesterday after two opposition parties sat quietly through what was supposed to be a debate on the measure. Both the Liberals and New Democratic Party had vowed to vote against the budget, which lowers the Goods and Services Tax to 6% from 7% and pays an annual grant to families of $1,200 for every child under six. The MPs were apparently expecting Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy to address the House. When she didn't show up, the Speaker moved on to the budget, catching the small smattering of MPs in the chamber off guard. Not realizing they were voting on the budget at third reading, the Liberals and NDP sat quietly, enabling the measure to pass without challenge. "Nobody on the Liberal side added their voice," Liberal leader Bill Graham admitted to reporters. "It was an unfortunate error, but it doesn't change anything.... We're opposed to the budget. I don't think anybody thinks that we're not." NDP leader Jack Layton, whose party had objected vociferously to several measures in the budget, also played down the bungled vote, saying "the House was essentially at this point just spinning its wheels on this budget." "Everybody knows this budget was going to pass with the support of the Bloc," he said. "Let's get on to business." Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois leader, suggested it was either an error, as the parties opposed to the budget bill say, which shows that they are "incompetent," or it was not an error and they are "liars." "Whether it's one or the other, they are not the required qualities for doing politics," Mr. Duceppe said.

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