The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Blank Cheque Act

Jack Layton Bribe Act?

NDP Prop Up the Governement Act?

Slush Fund Act?

What We Thought of Later Act?


An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments

Whatever you call it, this is one remarkable bill. As the name states, it permits the Minister of Finance to spend up to $2 billion of 'excess' surplus. The spending power isn't limited though. It is allocated as follows (clause 2.(1)):
a) for the environment, including for public transit and for an energy-efficient retrofit program for low-income housing, an amount not exceeding $900 million;

(b) for supporting training programs and enhancing access to post-secondary education, to benefit, among others, aboriginal Canadians, an amount not exceeding $1.5 billion;

(c) for affordable housing, including housing for aboriginal Canadians, an amount not exceeding $1.6 billion; and

(d) for foreign aid, an amount not exceeding $500 million.

Here's the fun part 2.(2):

The Governor in Council may specify the particular purposes for which payments referred to in subsection (1) may be made and the amounts of those payments for the relevant fiscal year.

Since (3.) the Governor in Council (i.e. Cabinet) can do just about anything with this money, how much do you want to bet that a large fraction will be required for "public advisement" of the Liberal largess?

Desparate times call for desparate measures, I guess.

But this is what happens when you lose sight of the true reasons for why you are doing what you are doing. Without a firm grounding, the doing becomes an end in itself and, in the end, the doing will end too. The only problem is that in this case, ending the end requires the cooperation of the electorate. Well, first a majority of the House of Commons. First chance is when the last order on this page of today's Order Paper get's called ~5:30 PM EDT. Meanwhile, the Liberals are denying that this is a confidence matter. The crisis is upon us.

UPDATE: Hansard for yesterday is now up. Looks like things got pretty lively. It reminds me of the last days of the Frank Miller government in Ontario, but that is a topic for another time.


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