Summer 2017 Legislative Update
The House of Commons has adjourned for the summer, with the last sitting day on June 21. Some of the most noteworthy pieces of legislation that were debated throughout the month of June are recapped here.
Bill C-44: An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017
This budget implementation act has been a top priority for the government and for the opposition. The opposition has argued that the creation of a Canadian Infrastructure Bank should have been introduced in a stand-alone bill to allow for a more comprehensive study of such a large project.
The Standing Committee on Finance studied the subject matter of C-44 from May 10 to 30 following, the finance committee presented Report 17 with various amendments to the House on May 31. Report 17 included several amendments to the role and mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Bill C-44 was adopted by the House on June 12, and has received Royal Assent.
Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act and to Make Consequential Amendments to Another Act
Bill C-6 repeals many of the previous government’s changes to how people can gain or lose Canadian citizenship, with the end goal of making Canadian citizenship easier to obtain. It reduces the amount of time permanent residents have to live in Canada to be eligible for citizenship to 3 years. Through June, opposition MP’s have voiced their concerns with the bill, which repeals the government’s authority to revoke citizenship when an individual has engaged in acts against the national interest of Canada.
Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, with amendments made to it as suggested by the Senate.
Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts
Bill C-45 was introduced by Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould on April 13. The government has stated that the intentions of C-45 and the legalization of marijuana are to control and regulate the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis, with the goal of preventing young persons from accessing cannabis. The government claims that C-45 would protect public health and safety by establishing product safety and quality requirements, as well as reduce and deter criminal activity and remove the profits of the illegal sale of drugs from the hands of dealers.
In the House, Bill C-45 has received careful watch and consideration by the Official Opposition, to ensure that public health and safety, especially of youth, is protected. Another concern of the opposition has been the fact that once marijuana is legalized, the majority of the implications of C-45 will actually fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments, imposing a large burden on them.
The Conservative caucus will continue to ensure that Bill C-45 undergoes comprehensive study and review, and that the Liberal government does not rush the legalization of marijuana. As of June 8, C-45 has been referred to the Standing Committee on Health.