POLITICS

Budget bill's cuts to refugee assistance tops NDP list of complaints

10/28/2014 10:11 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST
In what may be the clearest indication yet that life on Parliament Hill is returning to normal following last week's attacks, New Democrat finance critics Nathan Cullen and Guy Caron are ready to share their thoughts on the government's latest omnibus budget bill, which was tabled in the House of Commons last Thursday.

Spoiler alert: They're not impressed.

According to party officials, the opposition duo will outline their party's concerns over several aspects of the 458-page bill, including:

- Lifting the prohibition on provincial residency requirements, which could restrict access to social assistance for refugee claimants

- Implementing the previously announced Employment Insurance premium freeze for new hires by some small businesses

They will also highlight NDP-backed initiatives that the Conservatives have thus far failed to adopt, including an air passenger bill of rights, stricter limits on credit card fees and a ban on pay-to-pay billing by banks.

Also missing from the bill: any move to give politicians and political parties unfettered use of proprietary news footage in their advertising.

Earlier this month, a leaked cabinet document suggested that the government was planning on using the budget bill to tweak Canada's copyright laws to exempt political parties, candidates and other agents from having to ask permission to make use of that material.  

No such provision appears in the current draft of the bill.