OTTAWA - Efforts by opposition parties to amend the Conservative government's latest omnibus budget bill culminated with around six hours of voting Tuesday.
Bill C-45 rings in at over 400 pages and like its predecessors makes changes to a myriad of rules and regulations, some that were explicitly in the Conservatives' last budget and some that weren't.
As the final group of amendments proposed by the opposition went to a vote late Tuesday night, the NDP began to chant "2015," a reference to the next federal election, which is when they say the Harper government will be held accountable for the bill.
"Conservatives may have destroyed much tonight but Canadians will ultimately win!," tweeted NDP MP Peter Julian.
The Conservative majority government allowed none of the amendments to pass.
"And the winner is — the economy, jobs and long-term prosperity," tweeted Tory MP Laurie Hawn seconds after the vote concluded.
"Some will feel free to disagree, that's okay."
Among those who disagree with several measures in the bill are some First Nations chiefs.
They are frustrated with what they say is a lack of consultation over measures in the bill and had attempted earlier Tuesday to get in the chamber of the House of Commons.
They spoke briefly with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, saying they were there to serve notice to government they wouldn't tolerate being ignored any longer.
When Oliver left, the chiefs tried to force their way in but were held back by security.
Among the provisions in Bill C-45 are an extension of a hiring credit for small businesses, changes to land management on aboriginal reserves, pay raises for judges and a law allowing for the creation of a new bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.
The most contentious changes are those to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which remove thousands of lakes and streams from federal protection under that law.
Opposition parties say that removes environmental oversight of these waterways and the manner in which the law will continue to be applied is haphazard.
"Important lakes and rivers in my region are being stripped of protection," said New Democrat MP Glen Thibeault, who represents Sudbury, Ont.
"Meanwhile, Muskoka millionaires' playgrounds are protected while lakes that supply drinking water are not. Will no Conservative stand up for our natural heritage and vote against this cherry-picking of protected lakes?"
The Conservatives said the changes streamline regulation and remove red tape that held up projects along waterways under the guise that they would impede navigation.
Many waterways will still fall under the environmental protection afforded by other laws, Transportation Minister Denis Lebel said.
"My department has consulted with every province and territory on the list of waterways," he said.
"None of them have any concerns with the list."
Thousands of amendments to the bill were introduced during its study by the finance committee but only a few hundred made it to Tuesday's vote.
All were grouped by the Speaker in such a way that voting was expected to take as much as eight hours.
Once the bill receives a third reading in the Commons, it will move on to the Senate with the expectation that it will become law before the end of the year.
In the end, the six hour vote was far less than MPs spent on the last omnibus budget bill.
That bill, introduced in the spring, saw MPs vote for over 22 hours on hundreds of opposition amendments.
The bill eventually passed unchanged.
Opposition MPs say the use of omnibus bills subverts the democratic process as they don't give Parliament the ability to do its job in holding government to account.
"This omnibus budget bill is yet another example of the Conservatives steam-rolling democracy to force unpopular, non-budgetary measures through Parliament at record speed without the necessary scrutiny," said Liberal finance critic Scott Brison.
The Conservatives say the measures are all necessary for the economy and note that this bill was broken up for study in several different committees.
They accuse the opposition parties of standing in the way of economic growth.
"The ultimate goal they have is to kill our key economic measures," said Treasury Board President Tony Clement.
"But we will act to ensure that Canada's preserves our economic advantage."
Related on HuffPost:
The Conservative government has introduced Bill C-45, the second omnibus budget implementation bill. Here's a brief look at what's inside the 450-page document. <em>With files from CBC</em>
MP And Public Service Pensions
<strong>UPDATE</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/19/mp-pension-changes-passed-bill-c-45_n_1987522.html">MP Pensions have been hived off from the omnibus bill and passed without further debate in a surprise deal between the government and opposition parties</a>. Starting as early as January 2013, public servants and MPs will have to contribute 50 per cent of the payments into their pensions. MPs will also have to wait until age 65 to start collecting their pensions, or be penalized if they start at age 55. The precise date for MP pension changes is Jan. 1, 2016. There will be no change to the current eligibility for MP pensions of six years of service.
The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board will be dissolved, and an interim means of establishing premium rates set up to replace its work. The Crown Corporation is currently run by a seven-member board. This move continues employment insurance changes started with the first omnibus budget bill, as cabinet gradually receives more authority to reform EI.
Changes To The Indian Act
The bill makes what could be controversial changes to the Indian Act, amending it to change the rules around what kind of meetings or referenda are required to lease or otherwise grant an interest in designated reserve lands. The aboriginal affairs minister would also be given the authority to call a band meeting or referendum for the purpose of considering an absolute surrender of the band's territory.
Environmental Assessment Act Tweaks
Last spring's changes to the Environmental Assessment Act are tweaked further in this omnibus bill.
Hiring Tax Credit
The bill will extend a popular small business hiring credit.
New Bridge To U.S.
C-45 also facilitates the construction of a new bridge across the Detroit River at Windsor, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last summer. Certain legislation will be changed and other legislation won't apply to this bridge. Three federal bodies will cease to exist with the passage of this legislation.
Grain Act Amended
The bill also amends the Canada Grain Act, simplifying the way it classifies grain terminals, repealing grain appeal tribunals, and ending several other requirements of the current Act, giving the Canadian Grains Commission more power to regulate the grain industry. These changes follow the end of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly over wheat and barley sales in Western Canada, which take effect for this year's harvest.
Hazardous Materials Under Health
All the work of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission will be transferred to the health minister.
Merchant Seamen Board Under Labour
The Merchant Seamen Compensation Board will see its authority transferred to the Minister of Labour. The three-person board currently hears and decides benefit claims for merchant seamen who are injured or disabled as a result of their work and are not currently covered by provincial workers' compensation benefits.