Poschmann, who is director of research at the C.D. Howe Institute, was on MDL Friday and called the way Dan McTeague's private member's bill (C-253) was pushed through Parliament without the approval of the government an 'abuse of Parliamentary procedure'. (Sorry no direct link to that but I made note of it while watching the show).
In his Saturday FP article Poschmann follows the historical development of PMB's over the last several years, and the issue of whether or not those that affect the government's budget and bottom line should be considered votable.
C-253 may or may not contain solid policy, but that is not the point. The fact is that by pushing a financial bill through the H of C, the opposition parties have expressed a tacit lack of confidence in the Government.
...Hence Bill C-253 on RESPs. Presumably the committee looked at the bill, which passed on Wednesday evening--making contributions to an RESP tax-deductible -- and either did not look hard, did not recognize it was a money bill, or felt that because it represented a tax decrease rather than an increase, it was on side. Whichever the case, it was a mistake to let the bill arrive in the House as a votable bill.
With the mistake made, it was the House of Commons' duty not to pass it. For a group of MPs to band together to seek to override government policy is no small thing. The fact that MPs let it happen is a disturbing turn for those of us concerned about responsible government...
Poshmann calls for the Senate to scrap the bill:
As things stand, if the Senate passes the bill that the House has now passed, we will be in a position where federal budget policy has been set by parliamentarians, not by government. This would be problematic, as I said, because it is tantamount to an expression of non-confidence in the government's ability to govern.
The situation cannot be helped by passing countervailing legislation, say by way of an amendment to a budget implementation act. That would be a rearguard defence by government, rather than assertion of its authority to govern.
The more dignified resolution would be for the Senate simply to vote down the bill. Partisan sentiment will militate against this responsible course, but it is the route that will preserve the notion of responsible government.
Of course the Liberal-dominated Senate and the present government are involved in a never-ending spat so it's hard to say what might happen.
If the Senate does pass this bill then I think we need an election. This Parliament has become dysfunctional.