Published September 17, 2012 | 10:56 am
Ottawa: The Conservatives and the Opposition New Democrats (NDP) have drawn their political battle lines in time for the return of MPs to fall session of Parliament.
Experts are expecting a fierce debate over environmental protection and the government’s much-disputed plan to expand Internet surveillance.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the upcoming budget bill will be the “cornerstone” of the Conservatives’ fall legislative agenda.
With 1.4 million Canadians still unemployed and the economy performing below potential, the Conservatives are worried about being mired in a low-growth scenario.
A key item in the second budget package will scale back pension benefits for the federal government’s 280,000 employees.
Other likely measures in the second budget bill include new funding plans for First Nations education and plans to sell off government buildings as a way to raise money to reduce the $21-billion federal deficit could emerge.
The opposition is expected to challenge Conservative on overhaul of environmental rules, cuts to federal programs and services and government’s trade agenda.
Other bills will deal law-and-order issues including legislation to ensure that the RCMP is fully accountable and transparent to Canadians.
Jobs and the economy will remain top priorities. Heated debate is also expected on the proposed purchase of Canadian oil-and-gas producer Nexen by a state-owned Chinese company.The Northern Gateway pipeline will also remain a hot topic.
According to the release from Prime Minister’s Office, the Government of Canada “remains focused on jobs and growth.”
NDP’s newly elected leader Thomas Mulcair will try to establish his national identity.
The Liberals, on the other hand, are heading into their own leadership hunt.