Senators Dalphond and Tannas seek changes to budget bill

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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June 4, 2024 (Ottawa) – This afternoon in the Senate, Senator Pierre J. Dalphond gave notice of a motion, supported by Senator Scott Tannas, that would invite the House of Commons to remove a section of Bill C-69, the Budget Implementation Act.

Division 39 of Part 4 of this bill deals with Immigrant Stations and, if adopted, will allow holding an immigration detainee in a federal penitentiary. During a recent meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security, Defence and Veterans Affairs, members highlighted various concerns about this division.

The Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Honourable Allan Rock, a former Liberal minister and a member of the World Refugee and Migration Council, all urged senators to insist for a separate bill on this issue while testifying before that committee.

The Senate recently adopted a motion, proposed by Senator Tannas and seconded by all other leaders, to allow the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance to examine and report on the practice of including non-financial matters in bills implementing provisions of budgets and economic statements.

“The BIA before us today is another striking example of this concerning practice of including non-financial matters in budget bills,” Senator Dalphond said, during a recent meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, before inquiring whether the finance minister would consider removing this division from Bill C-69.

Senator Tannas has noted that while minor housekeeping items have frequently been included in omnibus bills, the practice has progressed “into something far more consequential, where there are policy items that are not financial, and should not be afforded the shield of time-sensitive budget review pressure, coupled with the tradition of a hands-off approach by the Senate on amendments to budget bills.”

The issue of immigrant stations deserves to be reconsidered in light of the numerous concerns raised in the Senate. With today’s notice of motion, Senator Dalphond and Senator Tannas aim to highlight the challenge of including non-financial items, particularly those dealing with fundamental rights issues, in omnibus budget legislation.



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