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House of Commons rises for the summer after all parties agree to early adjournment

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The House of Commons rose for the summer overnight on Wednesday, after all parties agreed to end a politically intense spring sitting a few days early.

This followed MPs moving through some key Liberal bills and the Conservatives backing away from the spectre of an overnight voting marathon.

Government House Leader Mark Holland said Wednesday afternoon that with all sides seemingly ready to adjourn they were "nearing the conclusion" of the spring sitting. Discussions between political parties on Parliament Hill continued as of dinnertime, and by 8 p.m. ET a deal was reached.

Rising in the Chamber to seek unanimous consent, Holland asked that when the House adjourns at the end of Wednesday's sitting—expected before midnight—the Commons will remain closed until Monday, Sept. 18. He received no objection.

After spending a few more hours working through the outstanding agenda items, MPs wrapped up at 12:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. 

The House was scheduled to rise for a two-month hiatus as of Friday, but it's very common that all sides can come together to agree on breaking a day or two early.

That all-party desire to wrap up the sitting was evidenced following an arguably less-raucous question period than typical for this time of year, when Holland got unanimous consent for a motion prescribing how some key outstanding agenda items would be wrapped up.

Central to that motion was Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre's caucus who not long ago said they were prepared to work "all summer long," agreeing to withdraw more than 200 votes opposing specific spending items within the main and supplementary estimates.

That allowed MPs to avoid a potentially hours-long vote-a-thon, and move through a few key votes and procedural traditions approving routine funding allotments for federal departments and agencies following a few hours of debate on the Conservatives' final balanced budget-focused opposition day motion.

WHAT PASSED, WHAT DIDN'T?

The government's motion also paved the way for outstanding priority legislation to be moved though the final stages of the House late Wednesday night.

This included passing Bill S-8 on immigration inadmissibility, and Bill C-42 regarding money laundering, as well as expediting a few newly-tabled pieces of legislation into the committee study stage, potentially setting up for summertime hearings.

In May, when Holland announced MPs would be holding midnight sittings nearly every night for the rest of the session in order to move the government's agenda through, he identified nine pieces of legislation that needed to pass before Parliament could adjourn.

Remarking on the early adjournment, Holland said that the Liberals managed to see 15 bills pass in the last 15 weeks. What he called the government being "extremely productive" was aided in some instances, by the government's use of time allocation to limit debate with the backing of the NDP.

While some key bills have fully cleared both chambers in recent weeks, including Bill C-22 on disability benefits and Bill C-13 regarding language protections, other pieces of legislation remain before the Senate.

This includes Bill C-47, the budget implementation legislation, and Bill C-18 regarding online news remuneration. Senators are on track to pass these government bills by the end of their scheduled sitting next week.

However, others are unlikely to make it through the Senate before it also takes a months-long break, including contentious gun control legislation Bill C-21, potentially leaving Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino's much-amended reforms in legislative limbo should the Liberals move to prorogue between now and the fall.

"Certainly we're having conversations with the Senate. Obviously the Senate is operating independently… but the conversations have been fruitful in ensuring that perhaps not everything but the vast majority of the legislation that we passed through the House, we can expect to see royal assent," Holland said.

"There's a number of things over the last two weeks, and certainly a number of things today that we'll be moving to the other chamber, and now they'll there'll be dealing with those."

Hanging in the air as MPs said their summer farewells and thanked their staff for the support through Hill 'silly season' are what opposition parties are hoping will be the announcement of a public process probing foreign interference, and persistent rumblings about a summer cabinet shuffle. 

Wishing members "a wonderful summer break," House Speaker Anthony Rota sent MPs off telling them to enjoy themselves, "so that in September, we'll come back in full form." 

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