House of Commons rises for the summer
Once the House rises, MPs won’t return until Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, given any unforeseen circumstances.
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2018 10:30AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 20, 2018 7:19PM EDT
OTTAWA – The House of Commons has adjourned for the summer and MPs will soon be heading back to their ridings and constituents, with whom they’ll spend the next few months.
MPs agreed to rise a few days early, after Bill C-45, the government’s marijuana legalization was passed by the Senate Tuesday night. All sides agreed to a multi-pronged motion from Government House Leader Bardish Chagger to wrap things up by late Wednesday afternoon.
As part of the deal, MPs agreed to:
- Pass Bill C-21 on customs, Bill C-62 on labour relations, Bill C-64 on abandoned ships, and Bill C-68 regarding fisheries at third reading in the House and be sent to the Senate
- Move ahead some budgetary measures
- Accept and send to the Senate the rejected amendments to Bill C-46, the impaired driving bill, which ended up passing the Senate by Day's end
- Agree to the Senate’s amendments to Bill C-50 regarding political financing
- Approve the Procedure and House Affairs Committee’s recommended changes to the MP-to-MP code of conduct regarding sexual harassment
- Accept Yves Giroux as the new Parliamentary Budget Officer for a seven-year term
After a final few votes on government legislation, all sides exchanged well wishes for enjoyable summers and as Green Party Leader Elizabeth May put it, "a very well deserved break."
This marked the end of the spring sitting of the House of Commons, which was dominated by a mix of domestic and international issues.
From the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the NAFTA renegotiations and more broadly Canada’s current troubled relationship with the United States; to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled trip to India, Canada has been on the world stage in a big way over the last few months.
At home, questions over the government’s climate change and carbon pricing plan; the ongoing efforts to reevaluate the federal relationship with Indigenous peoples; and the final push to legalize marijuana played large.
Coincidentally, each one of these topics had a moment in the sun during the final question period of the spring sitting.
Over the last few weeks MPs had been sitting late hours, often until midnight. The long nights were part of a Liberal effort to advance legislation before all government legislative business halts for the summer.
During an end-of-sitting press conference, Trudeau acknowledged the ambitious legislative agenda his government has, and acknowledged "we still have a lot to do," before going through the laundry list of what they've done.
Since coming to power the Liberals have passed, or are awaiting for Royal Assent, on 47 government bills. Of these, 10 passed in 2018.
There are 37 bills left to pass between both the House and Senate. It is possible this number will decrease in the next week, as the Senate has not yet risen for the summer and more bills could pass.
On CTV’s Power Play, Chagger defended her government’s record, attempting to loop in bills that had passed the House but not yet passed the Senate to the overall count.
She said it was about the quality and not the quantity of bills, and emphasized the amount of debate each bill is receiving.
Responding to Chagger’s comments, NDP House Leader Ruth Ellen Brosseau highlighted that the Liberals have been using time allocation on legislation, a mechanism to limit the amount of time a bill will be up for debate before a vote to move it to the next stage in the process.
"They have had less legislation, but they're using time allocation more, and they've actually given us the minimum amount of time to debate certain bills," she said on CTV’s Power Play.
Alongside her, Conservative Deputy Whip John Brassard took the opportunity to highlight the procedural tools his caucus has been able to employ over the last few months, forcing marathon voting sessions and holding filibusters.
MPs won't return until Monday, Sept. 17, given any unforeseen circumstances.