House of Commons rises for the year, leaving major bills in limbo
Government House Leader Bardish Chagger responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, May 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Published Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:57PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:32PM EST
OTTAWA -- The House of Commons has adjourned two days ahead of schedule, leaving a number of major bills in limbo.
Wednesday afternoon Government House Leader Bardish Chagger got the unanimous consent needed for an adjournment motion, allowing MPs to break for the holidays.
MPs were scheduled to sit until Friday, but it’s common ahead of a long break that all sides will agree to rise early.
Their departure from Parliament Hill means that other than what the Senate is able to pass before it rises, legislation is left at a standstill until the House resumes. The Senate is set to adjourn Dec. 22, though it could very likely happen earlier.
MPs are scheduled to return to Parliament Hill on Jan. 29.
There are currently several key government bills before the Senate, including:
- Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act which includes the creation of a passenger bill of rights;
- Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, which sets out the parameters around the production, possession, safety standards, distribution, and sale of recreational marijuana; and
- Bill C-46, the drug-impaired driving bill; and Bill C-58, the access to information legislation.
It is still possible, though not certain, that movement will be seen on these pieces of legislation before the New Year.
There are over 20 pieces of government legislation left before the House of Commons, including:
- Bill C-50, reforms to political financing: this legislation amends the Canada Elections Act to create new rules around the advertisement and reporting of political fundraising events;
- Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017: the Liberal’s sweeping national security and oversight reforms, also currently at second reading in the Commons; and,
- Bill C-65, a regulatory overhaul to crack down on harassment in federal workplaces, from Parliament Hill to local bank branches.
Between the fall sitting getting underway Sept. 18 and it rising Dec. 13, the government was able to fully pass five pieces of government legislation: Bill S-3, which amends the Indian Act; Bill C-23, the Preclearance Act; Bill C-36, which amends the Statistics Act; Bill C-60, which was a statute clean-up bill; and Bill C-67, an appropriation act.
As part of getting the approval of all sides to rise early, MPs voted to confirm the appointments of Canada’s new federal ethics, lobbying, and official languages commissioners. MPs also voted to pass Bill C-24 in the House of Commons, which amends the Salaries Act to create the space for eight ministerial positions with full minister salaries, and wrapped up House of Commons debate on Bill C-66, the government’s bill to expunge the records of Canadians who were charged for having consensual same-sex relationships. Both bills will still have to go through the Senate.
Overall, since forming a majority government, the Liberals have passed 34 pieces of legislation. Under the first two years of the previous Conservative majority, 61 bills had passed by this time.