Budget Implementation Bill, 2017, No. 1—Motion to Instruct National Finance Committee to Divide Bill into Two BillsPublished on 19 June 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Paul Massicotte
Hon. Paul J. Massicotte:
Honourable senators, let me begin by saying that I support the right of the Senate to split a budget bill. Senator Pratte is perfectly entitled to exercise that right regarding Bill C-44.
That said, in this case Senator Pratte wants to separate the Canada infrastructure bank act from the rest of the budget implementation bill to give us more time to study it.
The question then becomes whether we really need to split Bill C-44 to allow us more time to complete our sober second thought on this infrastructure bank legislation. This is the critical question, in my opinion.
With all due respect to Senator Pratte and for the arguments he shared with us last Thursday, I simply don’t see the need for extra time to study the Canada infrastructure bank act. As part of my work as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, I can assure you that we have had enough time to do a thorough study of the bill.
Last week, the committee’s chair, Senator Tkachuk, testified in the Senate that we devoted six meetings to the infrastructure bank legislation. We heard 29 experts, for a total of more than 10 hours. In both Senator Tkachuk’s and my opinion, we heard enough testimony and had adequate time to study this bill so as to develop an adequately informed opinion.
I therefore see no reason to split Bill C-44 into two bills.
The question we should be focused on from now on is the following: With everything that we learned about this legislation and the different stakeholders’ positions, the question is: Is there merit to amend the Canada infrastructure bank act within the budget bill? This is the real issue.
Even though I admit that the answer is less simple and obvious to me, this is certainly not due to a lack of information. That’s why I do not feel that allowing more time for a study would help.