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:: PoliticsWatch Legislative Update

House of Commons returns October 16: What to expect

[PoliticsWatch Updated 5:05 p.m. September 17, 2007]

 

OTTAWA — MPs  should be back on the job right now, but they  won't be until October 16 after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament. 

The first session of the 39th Parliament was officially prorogued on Friday, September 14 by Governor General Michaelle Jean. 

When MPs return in October there will be a number of steps the government must take to return the Commons to normal business. 

PoliticsWatch outlines these steps in a quick primer for its readers. 

Speech from the Throne

The second session of the 39th Parliament will begin with a speech read by the Governor General in the Senate chamber to members of both the House and the Senate. 

The speech is prepared by the government and is designed to demonstrate the reason for summoning Parliament and provide an outline of the government's goals and legislative agenda. 

Throne Speech Debate

Following the Governor General's address, MPs return to the House of Commons where they begin debate on the throne speech. 

House of Commons Standing Orders allow for six days of debate on the throne speech. The government can schedule which days to hold the debate. 

Confidence Votes

The government will face three confidence votes on the throne speech. A vote on the throne speech, a vote on an amendment and a vote on the  sub-amendment. 

Recent practice has been that the Leader of the Opposition moves an amendment on the first day of resumed debate. A sub-amendment is then normally proposed by the leader of the second largest opposition party, which would be the Bloc Quebecois in this Parliament. 

Votes are held throughout the six days of debate. On the second day of debate, a vote must be held on the sub-amendment to the throne speech, the amendment is voted on the fourth day of debate and the actual throne speech is put to a vote at the conclusion of the sixth day of debate. 

Both Liberal leader Stephane Dion and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe have already made a number of suggestions through the media of what items they want to see in the throne speech. If their demands are not included in the throne speech, they could include them in their amendments. 

Speaker

The Speaker of the House of Commons is not subject to an election when Parliament reconvenes. An election for the Speaker only occurs when a new Parliament opens after a federal election. 

Committee chairs

Because the work of committees cease when Parliament is prorogued, all committees must hold elections for committee chairs. A government MP is the chair of almost all committees. The exceptions are the public accounts committee, the government operations committee and the access to information and privacy committee, which are chaired by opposition MPs. 

Legislative Business

Prorogation causes the government's legislative agenda to die on the Order Paper. There were 27 pieces of government legislation that had not received Royal Assent at the time prorogation. 

However, the government does not have to start from scratch. The government has the option to introduce motions returning bills onto the legislative agenda at the stage they where at when Parliament prorogued. 

The government may also not bring back some of its old legislative agenda. 

One such bill is the government's much-touted Clean Air Act (Bill C-30), which has been largely rewritten in committee by the three opposition parties. 

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan has already told the media that the government will not bring back the changed Clean Air Act. 

Private members' bills, such as former prime minister Paul Martin's bill demanding the government live up to commitments set out in the Kelowna Accord, are not affected prorogation. 


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.
  
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The House was prorogued September 14, 2007. It is scheduled to return October 16. 
____________________

Committee Highlights

House prorogued. No meetings scheduled.

> Full Schedule


____________________

Bills the Conservative government  tabled in the previous session of 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: Passed in the House June 20, 2007

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: Royal Assent June 22, 2007

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

Status: Royal Assent June 22, 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: Royal Assent June 22, 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: Royal Assent June 22, 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: Second Reading June 21, 2007

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: Passed in the House June 13, 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:
Royal Assent June 22, 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:
Returned from the justice committee with amendments June 20, 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:
Passed in the House June 15, 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:
Royal Assent June 20, 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:
Royal Assent June 22, 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:
Royal Assent June 22, 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 

Passed in the House June 13, 2007 

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

Royal Assent June 22, 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 from procedure and House affairs committee June 19, 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) 

Referred to the Transport committee June 14, 2007 

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

Royal Assent June 22, 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

Royal Assent June 22, 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 

Royal Assent June 22, 2007 

C-62R — The Minister of Labour — An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and chapter 47 of the Statutes of Canada, 2005

Passed in the House June 14, 2007

C-63R — The Minister of Natural Resources — An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident

Introduced June 15, 2007

C-64 — The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities — An Act to amend the Pilotage Act 

Second Reading June 20, 2007

: Related Links

> Check out last week's legislative update

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