HOME
  Legislative Report

Here are highlights of the legislation introduced by our government during the recent session of Parliament. If you would like additional information on any of these bills please do not hesitate to contact Terence. You can also find more information on all Government and Private Member’s Bills here.

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement, Bill C-2

Royal Assent Received

This bill implements a free trade agreement signed by both countries in 2008.

The Agreement provides greater market access for Canadian exporters of goods such as wheat, pulses, barley, paper products and heavy equipment. Columbia is also a strategic destination for Canadian direct investment, especially in mining, oil exploration, printing and education.

The Free Trade Agreement is complemented by agreements on the Environment and on Labour Rights. One out of four jobs in Canada is due to trade. We are pursuing free trade with more countries because we are over-dependant on the U.S., whose economy is faltering. This is a sovereignty issue. We are expanding trade with many countries including China, and pursuing free trade with more, including the big one: Europe.

Read more, or go to our video page to hear Terence’s September 2009 parliamentary address in support of this agreement....


Gender Equity in the Indian Registration, Bill C-3

Report Stage in the House of Commons

This bill would ensure that eligible grand-children of women who lost their Indian status as a result of marrying non-Indian men will become eligible to register for Indian status. This a fairness issue for first nations women. More information...


Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders, Bill C-4

Committee Stage in the House of Commons

This bill would amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act to make ‘protection of society’ the primary goal. This would be accomplished through a number of changes, such as:

• Simplifying the rules to keep violent and repeat young offenders off the streets while awaiting trial;

• Requiring the Crown to consider seeking adult sentences for youths convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault, and to provide reasons if they choose not to apply for an adult sentence;

• Authorizing the courts to impose a custodial sentence for a pattern of escalating criminal activity, or for reckless behaviour that puts the lives and safety of others at risk; and

• Requiring the courts to consider publishing the names of violent young offenders when necessary for the protection of society.

We have been acutely aware since the death of Jane Creba in Toronto that there are hundreds of young men in gangs in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities who carry illegal guns and are not hesitant to use them. Under the Liberal policies police risk their lives to arrest these gangsters only to see them back on the street before their paperwork was complete. Of 39 gun deaths so far this year in Toronto, one in four is gang related. The only way to reduce gang crime is putting true accountability and deterrence in the criminal justice system. These bills will go a long way towards doing that. More information...


International Transfer of Prisoners, Bill C-5

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would add factors that the Minister of Public Safety can consider when deciding whether an offender can be transferred back to Canada. Additional factors include whether, in the opinion of the Minister, an offender would:

• Endanger public safety;

• Continue to engage in criminal activities following his or her transfer; or

• Endanger the safety of any child, in the case of an offender who has been convicted of a sexual offence against a child.

Bill C-5 also authorizes the Minister to consider whether the offender has been participating in rehabilitation programs and cooperating with law enforcement. Occasionally a Canadian is convicted of a crime in another country for which they are innocent, never received the benefit of a fair trial, or for which the penalty is manifestly unjust. This bill will assist the government in bringing such Canadians home. More details here.


Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, Bill C-8

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would eliminate tariffs on approximately 99% of the bilateral trade between Jordan and Canada. Key Canadian sectors including forestry, manufacturing and agriculture and agri-food will benefit directly from this increased market access. The Free Trade Agreement is complemented by agreements on the Environment and on Labour Rights. More information...


Jobs and Economic Growth Act (Budget 2010 Implementation Bill), Bill C-9

Royal Assent Received

This bill would implement many of the initiatives announced in Budget 2010, introduced on March 4, 2010, including:

• Freezing salaries for the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators;

• Eliminating over 245 Governor in Council appointments, realizing significant savings for taxpayers;

• Eliminating all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery and equipment, making Canada a tariff-free manufacturing jurisdiction;

• Allocating funding to organizations such as the Rick Hansen Foundation, Genome Canada and the Pathways to Education Program;

• Implementing important changes to federally regulated private pension plans which account for approximately 7% of all pensions in Canada; and

• Authorizing the Minister of Finance to regulate the credit and debit card industries in Canada.

Our economic Action plan is working. Our economy is in the best shape of any of the G8 nations. Our next challenge is to balance our budget and pay down debt to reduce interest costs, so as not to saddle our children with massive debt. More info...


Senate Term Limits, Bill C-10

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would set fixed, 8-year term limits for all new Senators and for all Senators appointed since the 2008 election. The terms would not be renewable. More information here.


Refugee System Reform, Bill C-11

Royal Assent Received

This bill makes a number of changes to Canada’s refugee system, including:

• Establishing a new process to allow the Immigration and Refugee Board to hear new refugee claims within 60 days, a 90% reduction from the current average wait time;

• Setting up a new appeal system for failed refugee claimants from a list of potentially-unsafe countries;

• Limiting the appeal options for failed refugee claimants from a list of designated safe countries;

• Increasing resettlement support for legitimate refugees seeking protection; and

• Accelerating the removal of failed applicants who have been ordered to leave the country.

In general, failed claimants will be removed within a year of their final IRB decision, compared with the status quo in which it can take up to 4.5 years to exhaust all recourses and remove a failed refugee claimant. It is estimated that each failed claim costs Canadian taxpayers $50,000, mostly in provincial social services and health care costs, and that these reforms would reduce this cost to $29,000 per claim. As a Member of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Terence worked on this bill closely with Minister Jason Kenny who got it passed with the support of two opposition parties. Details...


Restoring Fair Representation in the House of Commons, Bill C-12

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would alter the formula used to determine House of Commons seat allocations after the next census in 2011. Ontario has been under-represented in parliament for some time based on the principal of representation by population. Under this bill Ontario will gain eighteen new seats. More information...


Access to Benefits for Military Families, Bill C-13

Royal Assent Received

The bill ensures that members of the Canadian Forces can request an extension of the benefit period and the period during which parental benefits may be paid if:

• The start date of their parental leave is deferred; or

• They are called back for military duty after their benefits were to have taken effect.

This the first in a series of changes we need to better show respect and care for our brave members of the military. More details here.


Fairness at the Pumps, Bill C-14

Committee Stage in the House of Commons

This bill would make retailers more accountable for the accuracy of their gas pumps and other measuring devices.

The Act would increase retailer accountability for measuring device accuracy by requiring that they have devices such as gas pumps and retail food scales inspected at regular intervals. It would also implement a new fines schedule to ensure retailer compliance: court-imposed fines of up to $10,000 for minor offences, $25,000 for major offences and up to $50,000 for repeat offences.

“Next time you are at the gas pump, carefully watch how much the numbers move before any gas goes into your car. I see it all the time,” says Terence. “A recent study showed gas companies benefitting by $9 M in Ontario alone in this manner. This is an intolerable rip-off.” More information...


Ending House Arrest for Serious Crimes, Bill C-16

Committee Stage in the House of Commons

This bill would eliminate the use of house arrest for any crime punishable by a maximum sentence of 14 years or life, and any crime punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years which results in bodily harm, involves the sale or production of drugs or is committed with the use of a weapon.

Such offences include: aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, human trafficking, theft over $5000, fraud, failure to stop at scene of accident causing death, street racing causing death, robbery or break and entry to steal a firearm, hostage taking and luring a child.

Under Liberal policies those convicted of many serious crimes were virtually ‘sent to their room’ like children. House arrest allows criminals to stay at home playing video games, while their victims may have suffered permanent injury, lost a loved one, or even been kidnapped – all due to intentional acts. Someone could literally burn your house down, and then go home to their own house. Since crime pays in Canada, the added deterrence of real jail time is needed to protect innocent people. More information here...


Combating Terrorism, Bill C-17

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would authorize the use of two law enforcement techniques targeted at preventing terrorist acts in Canada: investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions.

The investigative hearing provisions of Bill C-17 would amend the Criminal Code to allow the Courts to compel a witness who may have information regarding a terrorism offence to appear in court and provide information.

The proposed recognizance with conditions provisions would require a person to enter into an agreement before a judge to abide by certain conditions in order to prevent the carrying out of a terrorist activity. It is designed to aid in the disruption of the preparatory phase of terrorist activity. This bill was first introduced by the Liberals after 9/11 but with a sunset clause. The Liberals now think it is not needed, as if we are no longer at risk, which is naive and dangerous. Some terrorist activity is just too dangerous to too many people to force police to stand by and wait to try and catch the terrorists in the act. More information...


Increasing Voter Participation, Bill C-18

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would add two new advance polling days: on the Sunday eight days prior to a general election and the Sunday immediately prior to a general election. On the day before a general election, all polling stations would be open (advance polling days currently open approximately 20% of all polling stations).

This will create a block of four consecutive advance polling days between the tenth and seventh days prior to an election, and would create a second day of general polling on the day before the election. Details...


Accountability in Political Loans, Bill C-19

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would make four changes to the Canada Elections Act:

• The bill would establish a uniform and transparent reporting regime for all loans to political parties, associations and candidates, including mandatory disclosure of terms such as interest rates and the identity of all lenders and loan guarantors;

• Unions and corporations would be banned from making loans to political parties, associations and candidates, consistent with their inability to make contributions as set out in the Federal Accountability Act;

• Total loans, loan guarantees and contributions by individuals could not exceed the annual contribution limit for individuals established in the Federal Accountability Act ($1,100 in 2010); and

• Only financial institutions (at fair market rates of interest) and other political entities could make loans beyond that amount. Rules for the treatment of unpaid loans would be tightened to ensure candidates cannot walk away from unpaid loans: riding associations or parties will be held responsible for unpaid loans taken out by their candidates.

“Our Prime Minister initiated the ban of all corporate and business donations to any federal politician in 2006, in my view the most significant legislation for true democracy in decades, reducing the undue corporate influence our U.S neighbours suffer from,” says Terence. “This bill is designed to make sure federal politicians do not try to circumvent the spirit of this ban. For example, Bob Rae borrowed $700,000 from his brother John to run as Liberal leader, who coincidentally is EVP at Power Corp. A number of Liberals who ran for leader are in breach of Canadian law right now because they haven’t paid back loans they took to run as Liberal leader. This bill will help prevent such hidden influences in our democracy.” More information...


Supporting Victims of White-Collar Crime, Bill C-21

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years for convictions of fraud over $1 million. It would also add aggravating factors that judges can consider at sentencing, including:

• The financial and psychological impact of the fraud on the victim, given the victim’s particular circumstances, including their age, health and financial situation;

• The offender’s failure to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional standards; and

• The magnitude, complexity and duration of the fraud and the degree of planning that went into it.

Bill C-21 would require judges to consider imposing restitution orders in all fraud cases. It would also allow the courts to hear a Community Impact Statement that would describe the losses suffered as a result of a fraud perpetrated against a particular community, such as a neighbourhood, a seniors’ centre or a club. The statement would be considered at sentencing. More information here...


Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation, Bill C-22

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would apply to suppliers of internet services to the public, including those who provide email services, internet content hosting services and social networking sites. It would require them to:

• Report, to a designated agency, tips they receive regarding web sites where child pornography may be available to the public; and

• Notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an internet service that they provide.

Failure to provide such information would constitute an offence punishable according to a list of graduated fines. For individuals, the maximum penalty would be a fine of $1,000 for a first offence; $5,000 for a second offence; and for third and subsequent offences $10,000 or six months’ imprisonment, or both. For corporations and other entities, the maximum fines would be $10,000 for a first offence; $50,000 for a second offence; and $100,000 for third and subsequent offences. It is necessary to have the cooperation of internet businesses to protect innocent children and this bill will make that compulsory. Find out more...


Reforming the Criminal Records Act, Bill C-23A

Royal Assent Received

This bill extends the pardon ineligibility period after a convicted offender has finished serving their sentence. The new ineligibility periods are now:

• 10 years in the case of a serious personal injury;

• Five years in the case of any other offence prosecuted by indictment; and

• Three years in the case of any other conviction that is punishable on summary conviction.

Anyone convicted of a subsequent offence under any Act of Parliament after completing their sentence will remain ineligible for a pardon. Furthermore, for the first category of offence listed above, a pardon would only be granted if it is established that it would assist the offender’s rehabilitation in society as a law-abiding citizen and would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. This will end the automatic pardons given to virtually every criminal after time, even pedophiles. More information...


Reforming the Criminal Records Act, Bill C-23B

Committee Stage in the House of Commons

This enactment would amend the Criminal Records Act to substitute the term “record suspension” for the term “pardon”. It would also make certain offences (such as sexual crimes against children) ineligible for a record suspension and enable the National Parole Board to consider additional factors when deciding whether to order a record suspension. More information here.


First Nations Certainty of Land Title, Bill C-24

Royal Assent Received

This bill permits the registration of on-reserve commercial real estate developments in a system that replicates the provincial land titles or registry system. First Nations that make use of the new legislative tool would ensure their on-reserve real estate developments benefit from greater certainty of land title, making the value of these properties comparable to similar properties off reserve land.

Bill C-24 is optional legislation that is available to First Nations across Canada. In order for this legislation to apply, a First Nation would need to have a commercial or industrial proponent and a province willing to participate, as well as support from their community. This bill will help first nations to better develop the commercial potential of their lands and build wealth and opportunities. More information...


Transboundary Waters Protection, Bill C-26

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would significantly strengthen existing protections by bringing waters within federal jurisdiction under a more comprehensive prohibition against bulk water removals. Rivers and streams that cross international borders will now receive the same protection already in place for waters, such as the Great Lakes, that straddle them.

The Act would give the federal government new powers of inspection and enforcement and would introduce tough new penalties for violations, including fines of up to $6 million for corporate violations. The bill offers unprecedented federal protection against bulk water exports while respecting provincial constitutional jurisdiction.

These measures build on the Action Plan for Clean Water which our government launched in 2007. More info here.

Combating Internet Spam and Protecting Canadians’ Personal Information Online, Bills C-28 and C-29

First Reading in the House of Commons

Bill C-28 would establish a multi-faceted anti-spam enforcement regime that protects consumers and businesses with clear regulations that are consistent with international best practices. This legislation will make Canada a world leader in anti-spam measures.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would be authorized to impose fines of up to $1 million per violation for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

To address public concerns about the increasing number of data breaches involving personal information, Bill C-29 proposes a new requirement for organizations to report all data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and to notify individuals where there is a risk of harm. This requirement will complement our government’s recently-enacted identity theft legislation and encourage better information security practices on the part of organizations. Spam wastes literally thousands of hours of time for business operators and the public at large, and uses a huge amount of internet resources which we all share. This will help reduce it. Details here...


Eliminating Retirement Benefits for Convicted Offenders, Bill C-31

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would terminate the payment of Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to convicted offenders serving time. OAS is funded through general tax revenues and is designed to help seniors meet their immediate, basic needs in retirement. Inmates’ basic needs, such as food and shelter, are met and are paid for by public funds. Therefore, Canadian taxpayers should not be required to also fund income supports for inmates through OAS benefits. More information...


Modernizing Canada’s Copyright Regime, Bill C-32

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would update the Copyright Act for the first time since 1997. It would formally authorize several common-place uses of copyrighted materials (such as recording a television show for later viewing or transferring music from a CD to an electronic device such as an iPod), expand the Fair Dealing provisions of the Act and implement new commercial and individual enforcement regimes.

Bill C-32 would lower possible fines against individuals who infringe copyrights and would target large-scale violators operating on a commercial basis. It permits numerous educational, artistic and general uses of copyrighted materials which are non-commercial in nature and are generally beneficial to society.

It would also establish mandatory legislative reviews of the copyright regime every five years. More information here...


Improved Railway Safety, Bill C-33

First Reading in the House of Commons

The proposed amendments to the Railway Safety Act will encourage rail companies to create and maintain a culture of safety and penalize rule breakers by enabling the Government of Canada to:

• Crack down on rule breakers with new monetary penalties and increased judicial penalties;

• Amend and strengthen existing safety requirements for railway companies;

• Create whistleblower protection for employees who raise safety concerns; and

• Require each railway to have a designated executive legally responsible for safety.

You can find more information here...


Cracking Down on Crooked Immigration Consultants, Bill C-35

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would strengthen the rules governing those who charge a fee for immigration advice, close immigration system loopholes currently exploited by crooked consultants and improve the manner in which immigration consultants are regulated.

This legislation would make it a crime for unauthorized individuals to provide immigration advice for a fee. It would also amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so that fees for immigration services could only be charged by authorized consultants, lawyers and notaries who are members in good standing of a governing body authorized by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This includes services performed before an application is submitted or a proceeding begins, thus closing a loophole in the current framework regulating consultants. This bill is long overdue. For more information, go here...


Consumer Product Safety, Bill C-36

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would empower the Government of Canada to take direct action in response to unsafe consumer products in Canada. Specifically, the Act would improve consumer safety by:

• Prohibiting the manufacturing, importing, marketing or selling of any consumer products deemed or proven unsafe to human health or safety;

• Requiring industry to quickly inform the government when they discover one of their products is linked to a serious incident, death or product safety issue;

• Requiring manufacturers or importers to provide test/study results on products when asked;

• Empowering Health Canada to recall dangerous consumer products; and

• Making it an offence to package or label consumer products that make false or deceptive health or safety claims.

More information...


Strengthening the Value of Canadian Citizenship, Bill C-37

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would strengthen the process of applying for citizenship, crack down on citizenship fraud and streamline the revocation process for people who have acquired Canadian citizenship fraudulently. Bill C-37 proposes to:

• Add legal authority to regulate citizenship consultants and to crack down where they help people gain citizenship fraudulently, in line with the recently proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act – The Cracking Down on Crooked Immigration Consultants Act – aimed at immigration consultants;

• Increase the penalties for citizenship fraud to a maximum of $100,000 or up to five years in prison or both;

• Strengthen citizenship residency requirements to specify in the law that people applying for citizenship would have to be physically present in Canada for three of the previous four years;

• Improve the government’s ability to bar criminals, including violent foreign criminals, from becoming Canadian citizens;

• Streamline the revocation and removal process and make revocation more transparent by shifting the decision making on revocations from the Governor in Council to the Federal Court.

With this we are acting to address a very common crime that has been out of control for years. Read more...


Increasing Civilian Oversight of the RCMP, Bill C-38

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would create a new independent civilian review and complaints body which would replace the existing Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC), and have greater powers than the existing Commission. The strengthened review and complaints body would:

• Have greater access to RCMP information and enhanced investigative powers, such as the authority to summon, compel and enforce the appearance of persons and to give evidence and materials for all complaint investigations and hearings;

• Be able to conduct policy reviews, conduct joint investigations with other review bodies, share information with other police review bodies and provide reports to provinces and territories that contract policing services from the RCMP;

• Establish a “no wrong door” policy for complainants (i.e., they may file their complaints with the RCMP, the Commission or a provincial or territorial police complaints body); and

• Allow complainants a greater role in the process where a complaint leads to disciplinary proceedings.

In addition, by putting into law the interim RCMP external investigations policy, this legislation would ensure increased transparency and accountability of investigations of incidents involving RCMP members. More information...


Limiting Early Release and Increasing Offender Accountability, Bill C-39

First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would abolish the current system of Accelerated Parole Review which allows those convicted of “non-violent offenses” to obtain day parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence and full parole after serving one-third.

The proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act would also:

• Make ‘the protection of society’ the paramount principle of the system;

• Enshrine victims’ participation in conditional release board hearings and keep victims better informed about the behaviour and handling of offenders;

• Move toward a system of earned parole by increasing offender responsibility and accountability and strengthening the disciplinary system;

• Authorize police to arrest an offender breaking release conditions without having to obtain a warrant; and

• Emphasize the importance of considering the seriousness of an offence in National Parole Board decision-making.

It is hard to believe that the previous government routinely allowed criminals to be freed after serving 1/6th of their sentences, but they did. That is hardly a deterrant to crime. More detail...


National Seniors Day, Bill C-40

Passed by the House of Commons, First Reading in the Senate

This bill supports the creation of a National Seniors Day to recognize the significant and continuing contributions seniors make to their families, communities, workplaces and society.

National Seniors Day would be celebrated every year on October 1, coinciding with the International Day of Older Persons. By designating October 1 as National Seniors Day, Canada would join other countries in reflecting on the vast contributions seniors make to the economic and social fabric of society. More information here...


National Sex Offender Registry and DNA Databank, Bill S-2

Passed by the Senate, Committee Stage in the House of Commons

This legislation would automatically include all convicted sex offenders in the Registry and Databank. It would also make other changes to the Registry and the Databank, including:

• Allowing police to use the Registry and Databank proactively, rather than only after a crime has been committed;

• Including all offenders convicted abroad in the Registry and Databank;

• Adding information on offenders’ vehicle(s) and the way that they committed their crimes to help in future investigations; and

• Authorizing police to notify other police forces when offenders are in their area.

More information...


Eliminating the Faint Hope Clause, Bill S-6

Third Reading in the Senate

This bill would eliminate the current parole eligibility period which begins 15 years into a life sentence. This would prevent first-degree murderers from applying until they have served 25 years, and second-degree murderers from applying for up to 25 years, depending on the particular case.

It would also ensure that convicted murderers whose parole is denied cannot re-apply for at least five years. This is in part to prevent these criminals from making the victim’s families re-live the crimes they suffered every two years.

More information here...


Justice for Victims of Terrorism, Bill S-7

Committee Stage in the Senate

This bill would allow victims to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism by lifting immunity for states listed by the Government of Canada as supporters of terrorism. It would also permit victims to claim and recover damages from those who perpetrate or support terror. Find more information here...


Cracking Down on Auto and Property Theft, Bill S-9

Passed by the Senate, First Reading in the House of Commons

This bill would give law enforcement and the courts better tools to tackle auto theft and the entire range of activities involved in the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property.

The legislation would:

• Create a separate offence of “theft of a motor vehicle,” which would carry a mandatory prison sentence of 6 months for conviction of a third or subsequent offence when the prosecutor proceeds by indictment;

• Establish a new offence for altering, destroying or removing a vehicle identification number (VIN);

• Make it an offence to traffic in property obtained by crime; and

• Make it an offence to possess such property for the purpose of trafficking.

In addition, the legislation would allow the Canada Border Services Agency to identify and prevent stolen property from leaving the country, therefore reducing the exportation of stolen vehicles from Canada by organized crime. More information...


Jail Time for Serious Drug Crimes, Bill S-10

First Reading in the Senate

This bill would implement mandatory minimum sentences for various drug production and distribution offences. It would also add a number of aggravating factors that judges can consider at sentencing. The aggravating factors would apply to offences committed:

• For the benefit of organized crime;

• Involving the use or threat of violence;

• Involving the use or threat of use of weapons;

• By someone who has been previously convicted (in the past 10 years) of a serious drug offence;

• In a prison;

• By abusing a position of authority or access to restricted areas;

• In or near a school, in or near an area normally frequented by youth or in the presence of youth;

• Through involving a youth in the commission of the offence; and

• In relation to a youth (e.g. selling to a youth).

Did you know that Peel Police do not even lay charges when they find a marijuana grow op? That’s because they usually can’t get a conviction in our courts. These dealers steal hydro, cheat on taxes, put children and the police at risk with booby-traps, sell drugs to our children and use the proceeds to finance other crimes, like dealing in guns. When crime pays, we can’t expect to reduce crime. Find out more...

 

The following are Private Member’s Bills:

 

An Act to Amend the Supreme Court Act (understanding the official languages), Bill C-232

Passed by the House of Commons, First Reading in the Senate
Introduced by NDP MP Yvon Godin

This bill would make it a requirement that all future appointees to the Supreme Court of Canada must be able to understand both official languages without the use of an interpreter. “I voted against this bill, and spoke against it in Parliament,” says Terence. “I believe that linguistic knowledge should not supersede judicial knowledge as a qualifying factor for appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Considering that Québec is the most bilingual province in Canada and only 40% of all Québécois are bilingual, this bill would have profound effects on the pool of eligible candidates for the Supreme Court. For instance, aside from Québec and New Brunswick, the rate of bilingualism in every province is less than 12%.

This bill remains before the Senate, and the debate in that Chamber has been extensive. Over three months after being referred to the Senate, it has yet to receive second reading... More information here.


An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years), Bill C-268

Royal Assent Received
Introduced by Conservative MP Joy Smith

Bill C-268 amends the Criminal Code to include a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years. “I supported this bill at each vote, as I believe the crime of trafficking minors is a serious offence deserving of significant and mandatory minimum sentences,” says Terence. “What traffickers do to vulnerable people is actually quite horrible and ruins their lives.”

Joy Smith’s petition was featured in Spring 2009 issue of Inside Ottawa and was available for download on this Web site. Thanks to everybody who signed the petition and helped pass this important amendment! More information...


M-517, A Motion to Improve Question Period in the House of Commons

This motion was moved by Conservative MP for Wellington – Halton Hills Michael Chong, and was jointly seconded by MPs from the Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic Parties. This motion will continue to be debated once Parliament sits again in September. Terence supports this bill.

The motion proposes a series of reforms to Question Period. If passed, it would instruct the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine current conventions and recommend changes in order to:

• Elevate decorum and fortify the use of discipline by the Speaker;

• Lengthen the amount of time given for each question and each answer;

• Examine the convention that the Minister questioned need not respond;

• Allocate half the questions each day for Members, whose names and order of recognition would be randomly selected;

• Dedicate Wednesday exclusively for questions to the Prime Minister; and

• Dedicate Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for questions to Ministers other than the Prime Minister in a way that would require Ministers be present two of the four days to answer questions concerning their portfolio.

“I think you would be very pleased to see such changes in Parliament,” says Terence.

 

(This report was adapted from a detailed summary prepared by James Rajotte, MP Edmonton-Leduc)