Omni Odds and Omni Ends

Unless you have intentionally avoided any and all Canadian news sources this week, then you have been riding the Omni-Bus with everyone else. All the conjecture inspired me to look at the past several Budget Implementation Acts and see how long they have been or in other words how “omni” they have been.

41st Parl-1st Session: Bill C-38: 753 sections.

40-3: Bill C-9: 2208 sections

40-2: Bill C-10: 471 sections

39:2: Bill C-50: 164 sections

39-1: Bill C-52: 154 sections

39:1: Bill C-13: 217 sections

38-1: Bill C-43: 143 sections

37-3: Bill C-30: 50 sections

37-2: Bill C-28: 97 sections

The pattern I detect from this, admittedly very simple, analysis is that the use of omnibus bills, at least to pass the annual Budget Implementation Act, is growing. The trend of using a hammer where a screwdriver is required with regards to law, is one I find troublesome. Law is usually a more effective tool when used as a precision instrument rather than a tool of blunt force.

…..and for something completely different; an update on a post from over a year ago, Citadel on the city of Halifax suing the Federal Government over the tax value of the land that the Halifax Citadel rests on, has been decided by the SCC in favour of Halifax. Which means that the value of the land that the citadel stands on has been officially assessed at $19 million.

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Comments

  1. Nice post, Mark. It’s interesting to see these outlined by number of sections.

    Readers might have seen a similar analysis (“Budget bill: the omnibus stops here“) by Aaron Wherry in Macleans a few weeks ago, where he described the current and previous budget implementation bills by number of pages:

    …The budget implementation act currently before the House of Commons—quite literally, at least in theory, the legislation necessary to implement the government’s budget—measures more than 400 pages and proposes to amend dozens of acts of Parliament. Among other things, it deals with environmental regulations, resource development, employment insurance, Old Age Security and immigration policy.

    Only three times between 1994 and 2005, when the Liberals were in power, did a budget implementation act exceed 100 pages at the time of royal assent. On seven occasions, the bill that passed Parliament was less than 70 pages. But since the Conservatives were elected, Parliament has faced several novel-length bills: nearly 400 pages in 2007, more than 500 pages in 2009 and more than 600 pages in 2011. In 2010, they tabled and passed a bill of approximately 900 pages.

  2. I started to look at how many Acts have been amended by the various budget implementation Acts but did not have the time to finish; I can tell you that C-38 amends over 120 other Acts.