Deju vu all over again

2016 in review

Over the next few weeks. most media organizations will feature year in review related articles and columns.

It's also important to review the past year in the House of Commons from a legislative perspective.

The last 12 months under the Trudeau Liberal government has resulted in one of the most unproductive Parliaments in recent history, with only 14 bills receiving Royal Assent. 

Of these 14 bills, six were appropriation related, granting government access to spending money, meaning there has been just eight bills implemented by the Liberals thus far.

A closer inspection of these eight bills reveals that two are directly related to the budget and one was technically related to trade provisions and was left over from the previous Conservative government.

Thus, in essence, there have been five unique bills passed by the Liberals as part of their broad agenda of real change.

Normally, a Canadian Parliament under a majority government would have passed 40-45 bills thus illustrating why this particular Liberal Government is being labelled by many in Ottawa as extremely unproductive.

Should this be a concern to Canadians? Obviously, the answer is a matter of opinion and not fact, however if one was expecting significant regulatory changes to date this has largely not occurred.

To be fair, the Liberal government has continued to promise that it will introduce more legislation in the upcoming year, pending the outcome of a large number of different consultations currently underway.

One example is the current ongoing consultation on democratic reform that I discussed in last week’s report.

I should also add that not all changes made by a sitting government have to be implemented through legislation.

For example, when the Trudeau government decided to effectively abolish the First Nations Fiscal Transparency Act rather than use a bill to repeal the legislation.

It announced it would not implement or enforce any penalties against a First Nation band council that does not comply with publicly disclosing expenditures. 

From my perspective, what is more concerning is that the Liberals continue to hint that they would like to eliminate Friday sittings in the House of Commons – meaning there would be one fewer day each week that the House can debate legislation. 

A lack of a Friday sitting would also mean one less day for Question Period, which is alarming considering that Trudeau has missed more than half of all Question Periods.

For the record, I have spoken out in the House of Commons against shutting the House down on Fridays and will continue to oppose this measure.

Despite the lack of Liberal legislation, one item that has not changed is the House of Commons operations, including the costs of 338 MPs that came in just over $60 million for the first half of the current fiscal year.

Once the full fiscal year has concluded, I will once again release my annual fiscal accountability report and provide in detail what my expenses were for the period. 

Some may welcome the lack of legislation as it supports the status quo and means that laws passed by previous Parliaments remains largely unchanged.

As this is a subjective area of concern, I welcome your views on this topic: is the significant lack of legislation under the current Government a concern or is this largely a non-issue?

As always, I welcome your views on this or any subject before the House of Commons.

I can be reached at [email protected] or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

Alternatively, I will be holding town hall meetings and constituents are welcome Saturday, Jan. 14 in West Kelowna at the Lions Community Hall, 2466 Main St., 3- 4:30 p.m. or on Sunday, Jan. 15 in Kelowna at A. S. Matheson Elementary, 2090 Gordon Dr., 3- 4:30 p.m. to share their views.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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