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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

Opposition concerned government may not bring Parliament back in September

[PoliticsWatch Updated 5:30 p.m. June 8, 2007]

 

OTTAWA — After getting pummelled daily in question period and losing control of the agenda at committees, two opposition House leaders said Friday they suspect the Tory government will be in no rush to bring the House of Commons back on the scheduled return date of September 17. 

There is much speculation around Ottawa that the government may not bring back the House until after the October 10 Ontario election. However, that is something that is being flatly denied by senior Conservatives. 

"I've had zero conversations about that," said Conservative whip Jay Hill.

"I've been privy to zero discussions about that. I know absolutely nothing about that. As far as I know, the House is going to sit until June 22 and we'll start sitting on the scheduled (return) date." 

If the government chooses not to have a normal summer recess but to prorogue the House between now and the fall, they do not have to recall it on the scheduled return date, according to Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale

The government may also change the scheduled return date if it gains unanimous consent from the House. 
  
However, both the Liberals and the NDP say they are not in favour of pushing back the fall sitting of Parliament. 

While Goodale said he has no information from his meetings with his colleagues if the government plans to return Parliament later in the fall, he said wouldn't be surprised if they try to "monkey around" with the return date.

"I think they probably conclude that they do better in political terms when they don't have the House of Commons to call them into account in question period every day," he told PoliticsWatch.

"When the House of Commons is in the government is generally in trouble." 

The Conservatives have been hammered repeatedly in the Commons for weeks now. The issues have ranged from Afghan detainees, military funeral expenses, the budget and the Atlantic accord. 

"We think there's important business to be done and we will want the House of Commons to be sitting according to its normal, regular pre-determined schedule."

NDP House Leader Libby Davies said it appears to her that at the moment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives don't like being in Parliament. 

"I don't think (Harper) wants to come back in September and to face question period every day," she said after question period Friday. "They are not doing well."

"I think he would very possibly want to stay out of here for as long as possible because, you know, this is where the public business takes place. This is where the opposition holds the government to account. And when we're not sitting, you know, he doesn't face that. So I think indications are that that's what they're looking at."

While the opposition parties suggest the Conservatives are also in a rush to get out of town before the scheduled recess date of June 22, the Tories deny that allegation but admit they want to get the budget implementation bill passed before the end of the month. 

Late Friday afternoon when most MPs are either in or returning to their ridings, the Conservatives pulled out a rarely used emergency standing order to extend hours of debate on the budget implementation bill. 

The motion failed as the opposition parties scrambled to get enough members in the House to block it from passing. 

Hill said he used the motion because he wants to get the budget bill out of the House as soon as possible to avoid the Liberals from delaying passage in the Senate. 

"There's provisions in (the bill) that if that bill doesn't receive Royal Assent before the end of June we will lose over $4 billion in spending on specific programs," he said. "We want to get it over (to the Senate) as quickly as possible."

The Legislative Update is posted every Friday afternoon when the House is sitting. To stay informed on all the political events read PoliticsWatch's  Morning Briefing updated at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday to Friday and the Daily Agenda updated at 6:00 p.m. ET Monday to Friday.
  
______________


The House will deal with the following next week

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan has called this week "getting things done for all of us week " where the government will deal with bills that are in their final stages of the legislative process. The bills are: 

Bill C-52, the budget implementation bill
Bill C-11, the railways act
Bill C-23, the Criminal Code amendments
Bill C-33, income tax bill
Bill C-42, quarantine act
Bill C-47, the Olympics bill

The government hopes to fast track the following

Bill C-59, movie piracy
Bill S-6, first nation land management
Bill C-51, Nunavik land claims

The government also wants to deal with the following bills still be examined at committee level

Bill C-6 aeronautics
Bill C-27 dangerous offenders
Bill C-32 impaired driving
Bill C-44 aboriginal human rights

____________________

Committee Highlights

Monday

> The public accounts committee continues its investigation of the RCMP pension scandal when it hears from Paul Gauvin, deputy commissioner corporate management and comptrollership for the RCMP

> Sheridan Scott, Commissioner of Competition, appears before the Commons industry committee to discuss gas prices. 

Tuesday

> The access to information and ethics committee continues its probe of foreign affairs' handling of an ATIP request about reports on Afghan detainees.

> The official languages committee continues its study of the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program. 

> Full Schedule


____________________

Bills the Tories have tabled in this Parliament 

C-2 An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability

Status: Royal Assent December 12

This is better known the Federal Accountability Act, which a number of new measures and a massive list of amendments to current laws aimed at cleaning up government. The bill is the government's No. 1 priority.

C-3 An Act respecting international bridges and tunnels and making a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Royal Assent February 1, 2007

C-4 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Status: Royal Assent May 11

C-5 An Act respecting the establishment of the Public Health Agency of Canada and amending certain Acts

Status: Royal Assent December 12

C-6 An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Referred to transport committee November 7

C-7 An Act to amend the National Defence Act

Status: Introduced April 27

C-8 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2007

Status: Royal Assent May 11, 2006

C-9 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentence of imprisonment)

Status: Royal Assent  May 31, 2007

C-10 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status: Passed in the House May 29, 2007

C-11 An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status: Passed in the Senate with amendments May 31, 2007

C-12 An Act to provide for emergency management and to amend and repeal certain Acts

Status: Passed in the Senate June 6, 2007

C-13 An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006

Status: Royal Assent June 22

This is the budget implementation bill. The bill was accidentally given unanimous consent in the House on third reading when none of the opposition parties objected after confusion over who would speak to the bill.

C-14 An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (adoption)

Status: Passed in the House June 1, 2007

This bill makes it easier for parents to obtain citizenship for children they adopt from overseas.

C-15 An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Status: Royal Assent June 22

C-16 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act

Status: Royal Assent May 3, 2007

C-17 An Act to amend the Judges Act and certain other Acts in relation to courts

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill sets salaries for federally-appointed judges at a lower rate than that recommended by an independent panel. The panel wanted 10.8 per cent increase plus cost of living. The government is offering 7.25 per cent in the bill plus cost of living.

C-18 An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to DNA identification

Status: Passed in the House March 28, 2007

C-19 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Status: Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens punitive measures against convicted street racers. 

C-20 An Act respecting airports, airport authorities and other airport operators and amending the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act

Status: Introduced June 15

C-21 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (non-registration of firearms that are neither prohibited nor restricted)

Status: Introduced June 19

This bill we effectively kill the long-arm registry.

C-22 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (age of protection) and to make consequential amendments to the Criminal Records Act

Status: Passed in the House May 4, 2007

C-23 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments)

Status: Returned from the Justice committee with amendments June 4, 2007

C-24 An Act to impose a charge on the export of certain softwood lumber products to the United States and a charge on refunds of certain duty deposits paid to the United States, to authorize certain payments, to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and to amend other Acts as a consequence

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This is the implementation legislation for the softwood lumber deal with the U.S. 

C-25 An Act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Income Tax Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status:
Royal Assent December 14

This bill toughens money laundering and terror financing laws and would give the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada the power to monitor money wiring and travellers cheques services. 

C-26 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate)

Status:
Royal Assent, May 3, 2007


C-27 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (dangerous offenders and recognizance to keep the peace)

Status:
Sent to special legislative committee, May 4, 2007

This bill places the onus on three time sexual and violent offenders to prove to the Crown they are not deserving of dangerous offender status.

C-28 A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006 

Status:
Royal Assent February 21, 2007


C-29 An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act 

Status:
Second Reading May 29, 2007


C-30 An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Energy Efficiency Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act (Canada's Clean Air Act) 

Status:
Returned from the special legislative committee with amendments on March 30, 2007.


C-31 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act

Status:
Passed in the House February 20, 2007

This bill will require voters to present photo ID at polling stations. 

C-32 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Status:
Referred to the justice committee February 6, 2007

This bill will impose penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence of drugs 

C-33 An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, including amendments in relation to foreign investment entities and non-resident trusts, and to provide for the bijural expression of the provisions of that Act 

Status:
Referred to finance committee May 14, 2007


C-34 An Act to provide for jurisdiction over education on First Nation lands in British Columbia

Status:
Royal Assent December 12


C-35 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (reverse onus in bail hearings for firearm-related offences) 

Status:
Passed in the House June 5, 2007

This bill requires those charged with gun crimes prove why they should be granted bail before trial.

C-36 An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act 

Status:
Royal Assent May 3, 2007


C-37 An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters

Status:
Royal Assent March 29, 2007

This bill, among other things, lowers the legal minimum mortgage downpayment consumers have to make on a home.

C-38 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 2, 2006-2007) 

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Main estimates

C-39 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 3, 2006-2007)

Status:
Royal Assent December 12

Supplementary estimates

C-40 An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001 and the Air Travellers Security Charge Act and to make related amendments to other Acts 

Status:
Passed in the House May 15, 2007

C-41 An Act to amend the Competition Act 

Status:
Second Reading February 27

C-42 An Act to amend the Quarantine Act 

Status:
Returned from the Health committee with amendments June 5, 2007

C-43 An Act to provide for consultations with electors on their preferences for appointments to the Senate

Status:
Second reading May 7, 2007

This bill will allow for Elections Canada to hold votes to select candidates to fill Senate vacancies in province-wide races.

C-44 An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act

Status:
Sent to aboriginal affairs committee February 21, 2007

This law will remove a controversial section of the act that provides an exemption for aboriginal Canadians. 

C-45 An Act respecting the sustainable development of Canada's seacoast and inland fisheries

Status:
Second Reading June 5, 2007

C-46 — The Minister of Labour — An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations 

Status:
Royal Assent April 18, 2007

This bill was designed to end the labour dispute at CN Rail. 

C-47 The Minister of Industry — An Act respecting the protection of marks related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and protection against certain misleading business associations and making a related amendment to the Trade-marks Act 

Status:
Returned from industry committee with amendments June 6, 2007

C-48 — The Minister of Justice — An Act to amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption 

Royal Assent May 31, 2007 

C-49 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2007 (Appropriation Act No. 4, 2006-2007) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-50 — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2008 (Appropriation Act No. 1, 2007-2008) 

Royal Assent March 29, 2007

C-51 — The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development — An Act to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and to make a consequential amendment to another Act 

Introduced March 22, 2007 

C-52 — The Minister of Finance — An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007 

Third reading June 8, 2007 

This is the budget implementation bill. 

C-53 — The Minister of Foreign Affairs — An Act to implement the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention) 

Referred to foreign affairs committee May 15, 2007 

C-54 — The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform — An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (accountability with respect to loans) 

Referred to procedure and House affairs committee May 28, 2007

C-55 -- The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform — An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (expanded voting opportunities) and to make a consequential amendment to the Referendum Act 

Referred to the procedure and House affairs committee June 1, 2007


C-56 — The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform — An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Democratic representation) 

Introduced May 11, 2007

C-57 — The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration — An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act C-57 

Referred to the immigration committee June 5, 2007. 

This is the so-called foreign stripper ban bill.

C-58 — The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities — An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (railway transportation) 

Introduced May 30, 2007 

C-59 — The Minister of Justice — An Act to amend the Criminal Code (unauthorized recording of a movie) 

Introduced June 1, 2007 

C-60R — The President of the Treasury Board — An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2008

Passed in the House June 7, 2007

C-61 — The Minister of Foreign Affairs — An Act to amend the Geneva Conventions Act, An Act to incorporate the Canadian Red Cross Society and the Trade-marks Act 

Introduced June 8, 2007 

: Related Links

> Check out last week's legislative update

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