The budget “debate”

Because the Leader of the Official Opposition is entitled to make a speech in response to the budget with no time limit, the NDP Finance critic, given the speaking rights by his leader, has the right to speak as long as he wants.  Peter Julian has been speaking since Friday.  I couldn’t call it a speech exactly, but he has taken up nearly three full days of a four-day debate on the budget. He has been primarily reading tweets, e-mails and Facebook comments into the record and not making detailed budgetary comments, which is what is needed to discuss the merits of the budget.
He says his speech will end by 4:30pm today to allow “a few Liberal MPs to speak.”
Since I can’t speak on the budget, I decided to tweet a list of substantive facts on it hoping that Peter Julian will read out some – and he did.  He read out my comment that the budget has no reference or discussion of climate change – a comment that had been re-tweeted by a follower.

My comments on Budget 2012:

  • No funding to maintain PEARL High Arctic atmospheric lab at Eureka on Ellesmere Island.
  • No money to save EcoEnergy retro-fit programme.
  • MORE money to oil and gas industry. $165 million new for pipelines, tankers, off-shore drilling (and some mining).
  • National Round Table on Environment and Economy killed. Cost less than new spending to harass environment groups.
  • $107 million to AECL for medical isotopes, after giving away the rest of AECL.
  • Federal support for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without promised environmental review.
  • Delivering the last nails in the coffin of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
  • “Deeper Canada-China Ties” section makes no reference to human rights.
  • CIDA cut $320 million by 2014-15. 9% cut from overseas aid.
  • Food safety cut. $56 million from Can Food Inspection Agency.
  • Reduced resources to deal with immigration and refugee back-log. $13 million IRBC cut.
  • Dumb on tourism. Cutting $14 million Canadian Tourism Commission.
  • Further eroding Canadian diplomacy. $80 million projected in selling off official residences.
  • Total cuts to Foreign Affairs (not incl. CIDA) $169.8 million.
  • Cuts to Heritage. CBC cut 10% ($115 mill) Telefim cut $10 mill, Libraries and Archives cut $9.6 mill. NFB cut $7 mill
  • No climate change discussion; zero funding. $99 mill to deal with 2011 flooding. No reference to climate change.
  • Kills Katimavik.
  • Food safety, new money 4 food emergencies $51 mill to CFIA, HC and Public Health; $50 mill LESS 4 routine inspection.
  • No new money to strengthen broadband access in rural areas.
  • Big announcement for Rouge Valley National Park. No money for it. And cuts to Parks Canada $30 million.
  • Cuts to Fisheries and Oceans $79 million by 2014-15 and ongoing.
  • NO cuts to government use of tax money to advertise itself.
  • NO cuts to ballooning costs of Prime Minister’s Office. Over $10 million 4 partisan work and control of information.
  • No action on MP pensions til next Parliament.