09/20/2012 03:30 EDT | Updated 11/20/2012 05:12 EST

MP Pension Reform To Be Bundled In Omnibus Budget Bill


OTTAWA - If opposition MPs want to be seen supporting cuts to their gold-plated pension plan, they'll have to vote for a host of other measures, no matter how unpalatable.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement confirmed Thursday that MP pension reforms will be included in the second, omnibus budget implementation bill, expected to be introduced shortly.

Clement told the House of Commons there will be no separate, stand-alone bill on pension reform, as opposition parties had urged.

Opposition MPs believe the tactic is aimed at putting them in an untenable position: support the budget bill, no matter what else is in it, or vote against cuts to their own fat pensions.

"This is what they do with omnibus bills," fumed Liberal MP Marc Garneau.

"They force everything to be one single vote. There may be things in the omnibus project that we could support, but there are probably things we cannot support. But we can only vote once and that's the problem."

If opposition MPs vote against the bill, Tories will doubtless accuse them of refusing to share the pain of Canadians, whose retirement savings have taken a big hit over the last few years and who are being asked to wait until 67 to collect old age security.

Garneau said Canadian voters need to see a recorded vote on the specific pension reforms so they know exactly where their MPs stand.

"We're ready to do it. We're ready to fast-track it," he said.

The opposition brought Parliament to a standstill last spring in a futile bid to stop the Harper government's first omnibus budget bill, which ran to 400-plus pages and involved controversial changes to some 70 different pieces of legislation — including measures never before announced or alluded to by the government.

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