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Dan-in-Ottawa

Government bills die

Last week, the House of Commons adjourned for what will likely be the last sitting of the 42nd Parliament prior to the October election.

As a result of the adjournment, many government and private member bill's will also ultimately fail, because they did not make it through the House or the Senate prior to this adjournment.

For sake of interest, here is a summary of some of the government bill's that will not be moving forward.

  • Bill C-27 "An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985",
  • Bill C-28 "An Act to amend the Criminal Code (victim surcharge)",
  • Bill C-34 "An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act and other Acts",
  • Bill C-38 "An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons)".
  • Bill C-42 "An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, the Pension Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts."
  •  Bill C-87 "An Act respecting the reduction of poverty."

There were roughly 18 different government bills that did not receive royal assent.

In total, the government introduced 102 bills, although some were routine such as appropriation acts or were related to the annual budget.

As this government had a majority, all of these bills could have received royal assent and became law.

This raises the question why didn't they?

The answers are varied.

Some bills are controversial, such as proposed changes to pension benefits.

In other cases where controversial measures were essentially abandoned or the proposed changes were instead incorporated into an omnibus budget bill where they would not be singled out and extensively debated.

Some bills passed through the House of Commons but did not pass through the Senate.

This was particularly common to private member's bills (PMB).

One example of this was NDP MP Richard Cannings (South Okanagan-West Kootenay), with his Bill C-354 "An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood)" that completed first reading in the Senate but will move no further.

The various PMBs that I have also sponsored will not move forward.

So why take the time to submit a PMB when there little to no chance it might pass?

The answer is,to raise awareness to an issue.

In the example of MP Cannings' bill, to increase the use of wood in Government buildings. If there is wide spread support for the issue in question then a current or future Government can always adopt the idea.

This was something I experienced with two of my PMB's tabled in this Parliament.

The first proposed to amend the Bank Act to allow credit unions to continue using terms such as bank, banker and banking, as well as my legislation to have Registered Disability Savings Plans receive the same protection from creditors that are in place for RRSPs.

Both of these legislative initiatives were quietly adopted and passed via government omnibus budget bills.

This leads to my question this week:

  • Do you support members of Parliament drafting and proposing PMB's, even if there is a small chance for success or do you view it as a waste of time?

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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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