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Passing of Former Premier Jim Prentice
On October 13, 2016, at the age of 60, Peter Eric James “Jim” Prentice was one of four men killed in a plane crash near Kelowna, B.C. Mr. Prentice had a long history of political involvement and public service at both the provincial and federal levels. During his tenure as the Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North he took on a variety of challenging cabinet portfolios, including Environment, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Industry. At the provincial level Mr. Prentice represented the Calgary-Foothills constituency in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and served as the 16th Premier of the province from September 15, 2014, to May 24, 2015, while also holding the Aboriginal Relations and the International and Intergovernmental Relations portfolios.
As news of Mr. Prentice’s sudden passing spread, politicians and public figures from across the country came forward to acknowledge his leadership and contributions to public life and to express their condolences to the Prentice family. Books of condolences for the Prentice family were set up in the Legislature rotunda, the McDougall Centre in Calgary, and on the Government of Alberta website. A state memorial was held in Calgary on Friday, October 28, 2016. Public figures who spoke included Premier Rachel Notley and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
On October 31, 2016, when session resumed, Mr. Prentice was one of three former MLAs whose passing was noted by Speaker Robert Wanner and acknowledged with a moment of silent prayer and reflection. The Speaker noted that, having consulted with the House Leaders and the Prentice family, Members will have the opportunities to make statements in remembrance of Mr. Prentice during the days to follow.
Mr. Prentice has been remembered widely as a respected leader and mentor, a loyal friend, and, above all, for his dedication to his family.
On September 28, 2016, the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee released its report and the one-year mandate of the committee came to an end. The Committee had been tasked by the Assembly with reviewing the Election Act, the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, the Conflicts of Interest Act, and the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (PIDA). Part I of the report contained multiple recommendations regarding PIDA, including: the application and purpose of the Act, wrongdoings, disclosure procedures, investigations, reprisals and remedies, and the Office of the Public Interest Commissioner. The Committee made no recommendations respecting the other three Acts within the Committee’s mandate; however, Part II of the report contains a recommendation that, during the fall 2016 sitting, the Assembly appoint a special committee of similar composition to complete the review of the remaining statutes by March 31, 2017.
On October 20, 2016, the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future released the final report on its review of the Personal Information Protection Act. The report contained one recommendation, which focused on clarifying the definition of commercial activity as it relates to non-profit organizations. The Committee has now initiated a study on the province’s agri-food and agribusiness sectors. Under the Standing Orders the Committee must complete this review within six months.
The Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship has received almost 70 written submissions as part of its review of the Lobbyists Act. It has invited eight presenters to appear before the Committee as part of the review process.
On October 26, 2016, the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing released its report regarding the operation of morning sittings of the Assembly, a practice which had been introduced in the fall of 2015. The Committee recommended that the Assembly continue with morning sittings and that the House Leaders further consider the introduction of deferred voting.
The Special Standing Committee on Members’ Services (MSC) met on October 25, 2016, and adopted the report from the Subcommittee on Family-Friendly Workplace Practices and Policies. The report recommendations include: changes to the Standing Orders to permit infants in the Chamber, amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act to permit Members with a new child to be absent for a regular spring or fall session without penalty, increased access to the Legislature precincts for the partners and children of Members, the addition of family-friendly facilities and signage, such as change tables, throughout the Legislature precinct, the creation of a family room in the Legislature Building for Members and their children, further exploration of the feasibility of an onsite childcare facility, and the development of a comprehensive guide to the benefits and services available onsite and in the surrounding area for Members with young children. For the benefit of all Members, the Speaker tabled the Subcommittee’s report on the first day of the fall sitting.
During the same meeting of the MSC two new subcommittees were created. A subcommittee was struck to review the Respectful Workplace Policy for Employees of the Legislative Assembly Office and to develop policies regarding complaints between Members outside of the Assembly and committees. In addition, another subcommittee will review the Members’ Services Committee Orders and the rules governing Member and caucus expenditures.
The Standing Committee on Families and Communities has been tasked with reviewing Bill 203, Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Pricing Protection for Consumers) Amendment Act, 2016. This private Members’ public bill proposes increased protection for consumers seeking and receiving auto repairs. The Committee will be accepting written submissions from identified stakeholders and members of the public on the bill through October 28, 2016.
As part of its review of the Child and Youth Advocate Act, the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices contacted identified stakeholders and advertised to invite written submissions from the public. The deadline for receipt of written submissions was October 14, 2016, and the Committee will meet to determine its next steps on November 4, 2016.
National Assembly proceedings
The National Assembly resumed its proceedings on Tuesday, September 20 2016, as provided in the Standing Orders.
Composition and parliamentary offices
Sylvie Roy, Member for the electoral division of Arthabaska, passed away following an illness on July 31, 2016. Ms. Roy was elected on five occasions and had been a Member of the National Assembly since 2003, first as a Member of the Action démocratique du Québec party until 2011, then as a Member of Coalition Avenir Québec until August 2015, at which time she chose to sit as an independent Member.
On August 20, 2016, following the resignation of Jacques Daoust as Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification and Member for Verdun, the Premier appointed Laurent Lessard (Lotbinière-Frontenac) as the new Minister responsible for this department. Luc Blanchette (Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue) was given the Forests, Wildlife and Parks portfolio, which had until then been under Mr. Lessard’s responsibility.
On September 22, 2016, the Member for Gaspé, Gaétan Lelièvre, resigned as Deputy Opposition House Leader.
The composition of the Assembly now stands as follows: 70 Members of the Québec Liberal Party, 28 Members of the Parti Québécois, 20 Members of the Coalition Avenir Québec, and three independent Members sitting under the banner of Québec Solidaire. Four seats are vacant.
Ruling from the Chair
On September 27, 2016, the Chair ruled on the point of privilege or contempt raised by the Member for Sanguinet on August 19, 2016, in which the latter alleged that the former Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification knowingly misled the House by indicating that he did not know about or authorize the sale of shares in RONA by Investissement Québec.
The Chair began by pointing out that it is responsible for analyzing the specific circumstances surrounding the point of privilege even if the Minister in question has since resigned from his ministerial duties. A point of privilege concerning a Minister does not lapse with his or her resignation.
At this stage, the Chair’s role is not to determine whether contempt of Parliament has occurred but whether the facts submitted constitute prima facie contempt of Parliament. In the case at hand, the Chair must determine whether the facts submitted point to the prima facie conclusion that the former Minister of Transport deliberately misled the House. For the Chair to conclude that a Member knowingly misled the House, the deliberate nature of the act must be clear. Furthermore, Québec jurisprudence requires an admission on the part of the Member who misled the House.
When the Chair is informed of a point of privilege on the grounds that a Member deliberately misled the House, the Chair is limited to seeking the presence of two elements—an intention to mislead the House and an admission of having done so knowingly. In the absence of such an admission, the Chair must, at the very least, be faced with two clearly contradictory statements made by the same Member in the context of parliamentary debates. This is the extent of the Chair’s role.
On reading excerpts from the Journal des débats (Hansard) for the Oral Question Periods of June 3 and 7, 2016, it is clear that the former Minister stated several times that he had not given permission or authorized the sale of RONA shares by Investissement Québec, alleging that it was not up to him to do so. After considering the elements presented to the Chair, nothing points to the conclusion that, in a statement in the Assembly, the former Minister subsequently changed his version of the facts. Failing the former Minister’s admission that he misled the House and failing contradictory statements on the subject, the Chair cannot conclude prima facie that the former Minister deliberately misled the House with regard to authorization of the sale of RONA shares by Investissement Québec.
As concerns the former Minister’s knowledge of the sale, his statements to the media, that is, outside of parliamentary deliberations, that he had not been informed of the directors’ intention to sell Investissement Québec’s shares in RONA, were submitted to the Chair. The former Minister always maintained this version and, in fact, reiterated it in the statement he issued after resigning. That being said, his former Chief of Staff said under oath, in his testimony before the Committee on Labour and the Economy, that he had in fact raised the matter of the sale of RONA shares by Investissement Québec with the former Minister between November 17 and 26, 2014.
A newspaper article submitted in support of the point of privilege reports that the former Minister changed his version of the facts after this testimony, stating that he had not been informed of the sale at the time Investissement Québec made its decision.
Although this may well be a case of two contradictory versions of the same facts, no document shows that the former Minister stated anything at all in the context of parliamentary proceedings concerning his knowledge of the sale of RONA shares by Investissement Québec. Consequently, he could not have misled the House by making a false statement in it.
For all these reasons, both with regard to authorization of the sale and the former Minister’s knowledge of it, the facts submitted to the Chair do not point to the conclusion that the former Minister prima facie misled the House. The basic criteria established by Québec parliamentary jurisprudence—that the parliamentarian in question must have made a statement in the context of parliamentary proceedings that misled the House, and, subsequently, that he acknowledged having deliberately tried to deceive the House—have not been met.
For these reasons, the Chair cannot prima facie justify a point of privilege.
Special events: 56th Annual Meeting and Regional Policy Forum of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments
Some 550 American and Canadian delegates, private sector representatives and guest speakers took part in the 56th Annual Meeting and Regional Policy Forum of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments, which was held from August 7 to 10, 2016 in Québec City. The theme of this year’s annual meeting, “Global Challenges, Regional Solutions,” encouraged participants to look at Canada-US relations and discuss agriculture, sustainable development, health, education and transport. A number of resolutions were adopted at the conclusion of this meeting, which featured high-level meetings and discussions on climate change, the emergence of autonomous vehicles, the 2016 elections in the United States and North American competitiveness.
In mid-August, the standing committees launched 14 public hearings, including 10 stemming from an order of reference of the National Assembly, three relating to orders of initiative and one arising from a statutory order.
The Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Energy and Natural Resources (CAFENR) held special consultations on Bill 106, An Act to implement the 2030 Energy Policy and to amend various legislative provisions, which was a matter of intense interest. During the four consultation sittings, the CAFENR heard 30 witnesses and 58 briefs were tabled. Speakers were given the opportunity to share their expertise and vision concerning topics addressed by this bill, namely energy transition and the development of hydrocarbon resources. Furthermore, it should be noted that within the framework of another order of reference, the CAFENR heard the head officers of Hydro-Québec who came before the committee to present this Crown corporation’s strategic plan 2016-2020.
The Committee on Planning and the Public Domain (CPP) held special consultations on a bill that is getting a lot of attention, namely Bill 110, which amends certain rules applicable to the negotiation of collective agreements and the settlement of disputes in the municipal sector. Twenty witnesses were heard during these consultations, which took place over a period of three sittings. Several cities, unions and other organizations were invited to present their views on this bill.
The Committee on Citizen Relations (CCR) held a general consultation on a highly topical issue: immigration. Any citizen or group having submitted a brief on the consultation document entitled “Québec Immigration Planning for the 2017-2019 Period” could potentially be asked to appear before the CCR. In addition to these hearings, citizens had the possibility of filling out a questionnaire on the National Assembly’s website. This consultation gave several stakeholders the opportunity to come forward and discuss the proposed policy directions regarding Québec’s immigration planning for the 2017-2019 period.
Moreover, two committees held public hearings within the framework of an order of initiative. The Committee on Public Finance (CPF) continued the order of initiative it had undertaken earlier this year on the tax havens phenomenon. The Committee on Labour and the Economy (CLE), for its part, chose to examine the process that led to the sale of Investissement Québec’s shares in RONA and will hold hearings on this matter during the fall.
Lastly, the Committee on the National Assembly (CNA) met in mid-September to hear the Commission de la représentation électorale (CRE) on its preliminary report proposing the boundaries of Québec’s electoral divisions. In this report, submitted to the National Assembly in pursuance of the Election Act, the CRE proposes a new electoral map whose electoral division boundaries must be revised after every two general elections. During the proceedings, 44 MNAs were given the opportunity to communicate and discuss their concerns with the CRE’s chair and commissioners.
Clause-by-clause consideration of bills
Five committees examined bills during the months of August and September. The CLE and the CPF continued the consideration of bills that had begun in spring. The CLE members continued discussions on certain sections of Bill 70, An Act to allow a better match between training and jobs and to facilitate labour market entry, while the CPF members examined Bill 87, An Act to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoings within public bodies. It should be noted that the purpose of Bill 87, in addition to facilitating this type of disclosure, is to establish a protection regime against reprisals. As of September 30, 2016, the CPF had held nine sittings to consider the bill, during which 29 amendments were tabled and four were adopted.
The CPP kept very busy with the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 110, An Act respecting the process of negotiation of collective agreements and the settlement of disputes in the municipal sector, which began on September 27. The Committee on Transportation and the Environment (CTE) held two sittings to examine Bill 104, which increases the number of zero-emission motor vehicles in Québec.
Composition of committees
On August 24, 2016, Agnès Maltais, Member for Taschereau, was elected vice-chair of the Committee on Institutions (CI), which position had been left vacant by Nicolas Marceau, Member for Rousseau, when he was named Official Opposition House Leader.
From August 21 to 24, the chair and one of the two vice-chairs of the Committee on Public Administration (CPA) took part in the Annual Conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Carole Poirier, Member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and Jean-Denis Girard, Member for Trois-Rivières, had the opportunity to meet with their counterparts from the other Canadian committees as well as with the auditors general to discuss topics of mutual interest pertaining to administrative management and accountability.
Parliamentary Proceedings Directorate
Parliamentary Proceedings Directorate
The brief summer sitting of the fifth session of the 40th Parliament opened on July 25, 2016, and adjourned on July 28, 2016, with the passage of two government bills. On October 2, 2016, the government announced that there would not be a fall legislative sitting, and, as such, the Legislative Assembly is not expected to resume until February 14, 2017.
During the summer and early fall, a number of the Legislative Assembly’s parliamentary committees were active with inquiries and statutory officer appointment processes.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services launched its annual budget consultation process as required by the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. The Committee held public hearings in 13 communities across the province, hearing a total of 236 oral presentations. The Committee also received 137 written submissions and 332 responses to an online survey on budget issues. The Committee must release its report by November 15, 2016.
The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth commenced a statutory review of the Representative for Children and Youth Act, as required by section 30 of that Act. In this regard, on October 24, the Committee received an initial submission from the Representative on the provisions of the Act.
The Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills met to consider the referral and consideration of the Estimates by Committee of Supply, and whether parliamentary committees should be established for the duration of a Parliament (under existing procedures, Select Standing Committees are established on a sessional basis). The Committee is required to make its recommendations on these matters to the Legislative Assembly by October 31, 2016.
Two special committees charged with recommending statutory officers had busy work programs. The Special Committee to Appoint an Information and Privacy Commissioner continued deliberations, and the Special Committee to Appoint a Representative for Children and Youth was unable to reach a consensus from the applications received during its initial recruitment process. It extended its search with a new deadline for additional applications of September 23, 2016.
On September 24, 2016, Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Victoria for the start of an eight day visit to western Canada. Their official welcoming to Canada was held at the Legislative Assembly in a ceremony which included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General David Johnston, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Judith Guichon and Premier Christy Clark. Speaker Linda Reid and members and staff of the Legislative Assembly were also in attendance. While in the parliamentary precinct, Their Royal Highnesses presented the first wreath on a renovated cenotaph where a new plaque had been installed to commemorate the Afghanistan missions. The Canadian flag was raised for the first time on a new flagpole to mark the occasion of the royal visit.
On September 26, 2016, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge placed a Ring of Reconciliation on the Black Rod at a ceremony at Government House with First Nations leaders, the Governor General, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Premier. The Black Rod was created in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with three silver rings inscribed with the motto of the Order of the Garter, the national motto of Canada, and the provincial motto of British Columbia. The new fourth ring, the Ring of Reconciliation, symbolizes a step toward the reconciliation of all cultures in British Columbia, and is inscribed with a motto in the Halq’eméylem language, Lets’e Mot, which means “one mind.” Two eagle feathers separate the words from an etching of the canoe Shxwtitostel. The canoe was a gift from former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point to the people of British Columbia.
At a reception following the ceremony, 24 Grade 4 and 5 students from École Cobble Hill Elementary School performed the song “C’est Mon Canada”. The children composed the piece and won their age category in the Lieutenant Governor’s Sing Me A Song contest earlier in 2016.
Women and the Vote
On October 3, 2016, Speaker Reid hosted a special celebration during Women’s History Month to mark the 100th anniversary of some women receiving the right to vote in British Columbia. A ceremony and exhibit launched in the rotunda of the Parliament Buildings included poetry readings, remarks by Members of the Legislature, a former Senator, and a former Member of Parliament, as well as a theatrical presentation of the first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly. This was followed by a panel discussion in the Legislative Chamber moderated by Equal Voice, a non-government, non-profit organization which promotes the participation of women in the political process.
8th Annual Commonwealth Youth Parliament
The Legislative Assembly is hosting the 8th Annual Commonwealth Youth Parliament from November 6 to 10, 2016. Designated youth parliamentarians aged 18 to 29 from across the Commonwealth will have opportunities to learn about the work of parliamentarians, the legislative process, parliamentary procedure, and media relations in a parliamentary environment. More information about the youth parliament is available on the Legislative Assembly’s website at: www.leg.bc.ca/cyp8
Committee Research Analyst
The Select Committee on Climate Change, an all-party committee of the Legislative Assembly chaired by MLA Andrew Harvey, was appointed by the House on April 8, 2016. The Committee was charged with conducting public consultations on the issue of climate change and reporting to the House with recommendations.
In June, the Committee issued an invitation to all New Brunswickers to participate in public hearings and submit written briefs. During August and September, public hearings took place throughout the province including First Nations communities. The Committee heard from over 150 presenters and received over 40 written submissions from interested New Brunswickers. The Committee also received briefings from notable experts and government departments.
The Committee released its final report on October 24. Based on the Committee’s public engagement efforts and subsequent deliberations, the Committee made 85 recommendations under six themes: Responding to Climate Change: General Principles; Government Leadership; Economic Opportunities; Adaptation: Responding to the Impacts and Risks of Climate Change; Mitigation: Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy; and Funding for Climate Change Initiatives.
Leader of the Official Opposition
On October 22, the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick held its leadership convention. MLA Blaine Higgs won the leadership against six other candidates in a three-ballot race. Higgs was first elected in the general election of 2010 and served as Minister of Finance. He was re-elected in 2014 as the Member for Quispamsis. Higgs will replace MLA Bruce Fitch as the Leader of the Official Opposition; Fitch has served in this capacity since the 2014 general election.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by MLA Trevor Holder, met with representatives of the CCAF-FCVI Inc. in September. The CCAF held a workshop with members of the Committee; subjects included performance audits, oversight, follow-up and effective questioning.
In October, the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, chaired by MLA Bertrand LeBlanc, met with representatives from various Crown corporations, and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts reviewed certain government departments during full day sessions. On October 28, both Committees met with Auditor General Kim MacPherson for the release of the Report of the Auditor General of New Brunswick 2016, Volume II - Joint Audit of Atlantic Lottery Corporation.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
In September, the Legislative Assembly building was illuminated in gold, in recognition of childhood cancer awareness month. This coincided with Speaker Chris Collins participating in the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride, a charity cycling event crossing Canada to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer.
Building Restoration and Upgrades
The ongoing restoration of the Legislative Assembly building continued in the fall with the last phase of the sprinkler system upgrades. Work is also underway on the Assembly complex grounds with the installation of a security perimeter, consisting of over 120 steel-over-concrete bollards, spaced approximately a metre and a half apart.
Opening of Session and Standings
The third session of the 58th Legislative Assembly is scheduled to open on November 2. The current House standings are 26 Liberal Members; 22 Progressive Conservative Members; and one Green Party Member.
Prince Edward Island
Second Session, Sixty-fifth General Assembly
The second session of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly adjourned to the call of the Speaker on May 13, 2016. It is set to resume on November 15, 2016.
Committees of the Legislative Assembly
The various standing committees of the Legislative Assembly met multiple times to conduct their business during the late summer and early fall. The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries examined recent federal changes to the minimum lobster carapace size in Lobster Fishing Area 25, and to the total allowable catch of Atlantic halibut. The Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment examined emergency preparedness in PEI, Engage PEI, and watershed management. The Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development examined the provision of high-speed Internet services in PEI, the impact of the 2016 reduction in service of the Wood Islands, PE – Caribou, NS ferry, and several matters related to education. The Standing Committee on Health and Wellness examined the use of drugs in the province and supports for grandparents as primary caregivers. The Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy examined the bioscience industry, active transportation, and the Cornwall Bypass Capital Project. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts examined the Atlantic Procurement Agreement, the 2016 Report of the Auditor General, and a special report of the Auditor General on the government’s involvement with an e-gaming initiative and financial services platform.
Audio Recording of Committee Meetings Published
As of September 1, 2016, audio recordings of committee proceedings held in public are published on the Assembly website. This change was the result of a recommendation by the Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges in its second report of the second session, Sixty-fifth General Assembly. A written transcript of committee proceedings continues to be produced.
Plebiscite on Electoral Reform
PEI’s plebiscite on electoral reform will take place from October 29 to November 7, 2016. Voters will have the opportunity to indicate their preferences from among five voting systems via a preferential ballot. The voting systems are Dual Member Proportional; First Past the Post (the current system); First Past the Post Plus Leaders; Mixed Member Proportional; and Preferential Voting. Plebiscite voting will be possible in-person, online or by telephone, and will be open to Islanders 16 years or older as of November 7, 2016. Upon recommendation of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, Elections PEI has carried out an education campaign on the plebiscite throughout the summer and early fall. See www.yourchoicepei.ca for further information.
By-election in District 21: Summerside - Wilmot
Following the August 1 resignation of Liberal MLA Janice Sherry, a by-election in District 21: Summerside-Wilmot, was held on October 17, 2016. By-election candidates were Scott Gaudet (New Democratic Party), Lynne Lund (Green Party), Chris Palmer (Liberal Party) and Brian Ramsay (Progressive Conservative Party). Unofficial results gave Mr. Palmer the win, with 978 of 2,311 votes cast (42.3 per cent).
Clerk Assistant – Research, Committees and Visitor Services
House of Commons
The Second Session of the 41st Parliament continued as the House reconvened on September 19, 2016, having adjourned for the summer on June 17, 2016. The information below covers the period from August 1 to November 3, 2016.
On November 1, 2016, Bill Morneau (Minister of Finance) tabled the Fall Economic Statement in the House of Commons. Mr. Morneau delivered an address to Members which outlined the government’s economic outlook for the country. Mr. Morneau also tabled a Notice of a Ways and Means motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures (Ways and Means No. 9) on October 21, 2016. This motion was concurred in on October 25, 2016, following a recorded division, and Bill C-29, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016 and other measures, was subsequently introduced and read a first time.
Procedure, Points of Order and Questions of Privilege
On October 6, 2016, the House proceeded to debate the Standing Orders and procedure of the House and its committees. Pursuant to Standing Order 51(1), the House is required to review its Standing Orders between the sixtieth and ninetieth sittings days of the first session of a new Parliament. Members discussed a range of possible amendments to the Standing Orders, including modifying the timing of votes, the House of Commons calendar and sitting schedule, and reforms to procedures relating to Question Period and to committees, among other matters. The proceedings expired at the end of Government Orders and the matter was deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Points of Order and Questions of Privilege
On September 19, 2016, Dan Albas (Central Okanagan—Similkameen —Nicola) rose on a question of privilege regarding the Government’s response to a written question (Question No. 152), which sought information regarding the use of rented limousines by Ministers on official business. In their answers, the Ministers of Health and of Natural Resources stated that they did not use rented limousines in their travel. Mr. Albas asserted that these responses were at oddswith information that surfaced in the media, and that as a result, the Ministers had mislead the House and the omission of details constituted a contempt of Parliament. The Speaker delivered his ruling on September 27, 2016, affirming that this was not a prima facie case of privilege. The Speaker made mention of the Chair’s limited role in judging the accuracy of the responses provided by Ministers to the House. He also explained that in determining whether the House had been misled, the Chair was restricted to considering evidence of which the House formally had possession. However, the Speaker also reiterated the importance of written questions to the parliamentary system and the importance of providing accurate, complete and transparent answers to enable Members to fulfill their obligations as legislators and representatives.
On October 18, 2016, the Speaker ruled on the question of privilege raised on June 6, 2016 by Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) regarding the rights of members from unrecognized parties to propose amendments to bills at report stage. Ms. May had contended that Members of unrecognized parties could no longer submit motions to amend bills at report stage due to the adoption of identical motions in all House committees requiring independent Members to submit their amendments during clause-by-clause consideration of bills in committee, a situation which was impractical and negatively impacting her rights in the House. The Speaker ruled that he could not find that a prima facie question of privilege existed in this case. He explained that the current process does not diminish nor remove the right of Members of non-recognized parties to amend legislation. Instead, the Speaker asserted that this right has been safeguarded by providing Members with a mechanism to participate in committee proceedings.
As part of its mandate to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform continued its consultations. During September and October, the Committee undertook a series of cross-country visits to consult Canadians, holding 17 meetings in various locations across the country. The Committee is now preparing its report for the House in advance of the December 1, 2016 deadline.
On September 28, 2016, following recorded divisions, the Speaker addressed the Chamber to note the presence of strangers on the floor of the House, immediately before the first vote. He reminded Members to make it clear to their staff that they cannot set foot on the floor of the Chamber when the House is sitting.
Committees of the Whole
On November 2, 2016, after Question Period, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole in order to welcome to the Chamber Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Speaker made welcoming remarks and congratulated the athletes on behalf of all Members.
Effective August 26, 2016, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Heritage) resigned as a Member of Parliament.
On September 19, 2016, the Deputy Speaker informed the House that a vacancy had occurred for the electoral district of Ottawa—Vanier, by reason of the death of Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier) who passed away on August 16, 2016, after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Immediately after Oral Questions on September 21, 2016, the House paid tribute to Mr. Bélanger. Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister), Rona Ambrose (Leader of the Official Opposition), Tom Mulcair (Leader of the New Democratic Party) and a Member from the Bloc Québécois, Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord), made statements in tribute to M. Bélanger. The Speaker then invited Members to observe a moment of silence in his honour.
Over the past few months, all three recognized parties in the House of Commons named new House Leaders. In August, Bardish Chagger (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism) was appointed as the new House Leader for the Government, replacing Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard). In September, Candice Bergen (House Leader of the Official Opposition) assumed the role for the Conservative Party, replacing Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu’Appelle). In October, Murray Rankin (Victoria) was named the new House Leader of the New Democratic Party, replacing Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby). All three newly appointed House Leaders were also made members of the Board of Internal Economy.
Effective September 23, 2016, Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore) resigned as a Member of Parliament to run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party of Alberta.
On October 3, 2016, on the occasion of Women’s History Month, Patty Hajdu (Minister of Status of Women,) made a statement in the House. Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton) and Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo—Ladysmith) also made statements. Unanimous consent was granted for Monique Pauzé (Repentigny), a Member from an unrecognized party, the Bloc Québécois, to comment on the Minister’s remarks.
Moments of Silence
On October 17, 2016, the House observed a moment of silence in honour of Jim Prentice, a former Member of Parliament and Minister who passed away on October 13, 2016.
Table Research Branch
The first session of the 41st Legislature resumed on October 3, 2016. The House will sit until November 10, when this session will conclude in accordance to the Sessional agreement passed on June 21, 2016. The House debated a number of government bills during the fall sitting, including:
Bill 2 – The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act, which requires a by-election to be conducted within 180 days after a vacancy occurs in the representation of an electoral division, amending the current Act which requires the by-election to be held within one year;
Bill 7 – The Labour Relations Amendment Act, which makes a vote by secret ballot mandatory before a union can be certified as the bargaining agent for a group of employees;
Bill 9 – The Election Financing Amendment Act (Repeal of Annual Allowance), removing the annual allowance for registered political parties from The Election Financing Act;
Bill 10 – The Balanced Budget, Fiscal Management and Taxpayer Accountability Repeal and Consequential Amendments Act, which repeals The Balanced Budget, Fiscal Management and Taxpayer Accountability Act;
Bill 15 - The Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Act (Advanced Education Administration Act and Private Vocational Institutions Act Amended), requiring that policies that raise awareness of sexual violence and address prevention and reporting be adopted and implemented by higher education institutions.
Intersessionally, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts met three times to consider several reports from the Auditor General and Follow-up of Previously Issued Recommendations on a variety of issues such as: education, educational outcomes for Aboriginal students, Provincial Nominee Program, waiving of competitive bids, and management of provincial bridges.
In addition, the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations met on several occasions to consider reports from various crown corporations including: the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, and Manitoba Hydro. Furthermore, the Standing Committees on Legislative Affairs and the Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development held several meetings to hear public presentations and conduct clause-by-clause consideration of Bills.
Finally, the Legislative Affairs committee also met to start the process for hiring a new Children’s Advocate. For this purpose, the committee agreed to strike a sub-committee to manage the hiring process.
Renovations in the Chamber
In the spring submission to Legislative Reports, it was noted that the first stage of renovations in the Chamber to enhance accessibility had taken place. The first step in this multi-phase plan involved raising six desks in the third row to allow an MLA using an accessibility mobility device to be able to maneuver directly to a desk without having the impediment of uneven floor level. The next phase took place during summer months, when the remaining desks in the third row were all raised to the same level as the entrance into the Chamber. Electrical and Hansard wiring to the desks had to be disconnected and the desks were moved out of the Chamber to permit construction of the new structural floor. Construction continued until very close to the commencement of the current sitting of the House when the desks were reinstalled on the newly raised floor. After the desks were reinstalled, the electrical and Hansard wiring had to be reconnected, and Hansard also needed to test the system to make sure it would be operational and not fail during the daily sittings.
Opposition Day Motion
On October 18, 2015 Tom Lindsey, the newly elected Member for Flin Flon, moved an Opposition Day Motion urging “That the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba condemn the Provincial Government’s attack on worker’s rights and reaffirm the current right to unionize using the well-established certification process.” Previously to the coming into force on April 16, 2016 of the new rules adopted last year, the Speaker was to interrupt debate on an Opposition Day motion at 4:30 p.m. to put the question. The current rules instead require the House to not adjourn until all Members wishing to speak to the motion have done so. Following a debate that saw the participation of 26 Members, the motion was defeated on a vote of yeas 16, nays 35 and the House adjourned shortly past 6 :00 p.m.
Current Party Standings
The current party standings in the Manitoba Legislature are: Progressive Conservatives 40, NDP 14, with three Independent members.
Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
Two years after the start of its 41st Parliament, the Ontario Legislature prorogued on September 8, 2016, and resumed its second session four days later on September 12. Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the session.
A by-election was held on September 1 to fill a vacancy in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River. Previously held by the former Liberal MPP, Bas Balkissoon, who resigned his seat on March 22, 2016, the seat was won by Progressive Conservative candidate Raymond Cho, a former Toronto City Councillor.
During the summer adjournment, former Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak announced that he was resigning as MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook on September 16. Hudak’s 21-year tenure at Queen’s Park saw him in a variety of roles such as backbencher, Cabinet Minister, committee chair, and Party Leader. He has since become the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Real Estate Association.
After 37 years, Deborah Deller, Clerk of the Assembly, said goodbye to the Ontario Legislature on October 31. Ms. Deller began her career at the Assembly as a tour guide, developing a love for parliamentary procedure that propelled her journey to becoming Clerk of the Assembly in 2007.
During this period, the House expressed its condolences on the passing of the following former Members:
Charles Murray Tatham, Member for Oxford, September 10, 1987 to September 5, 1990.
Cynthia Maria Nicholas, Member for Scarborough Centre, September 10, 1987 to September 5, 1990.
The day after the Throne Speech, the House passed a motion to set out the business of certain Committees:
The Standing Committee on Estimates was authorized to resume consideration of the 2016-2017 Expenditure Estimates at the same stage of progress as at prorogation of the 1st Session of the 41st Parliament. The Committee continues to meet to review the Estimates of the selected ministries and offices.
The Standing Committee on Social Policy was authorized to conduct a study on the legislative and regulatory barriers and burdens facing service clubs in Ontario.
The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly was charged with considering Bill 64, An Act to amend the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Employment Standards Act, 2000, which was reinstated on the Orders and Notices paper at the same stage of progress as at prorogation. Bill 64 is a Private Members’ Public Bill that was introduced in the 1st Session by Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West. The bill seeks to establish the advisory council on work-integrated learning, to advise the minister on work-integrated opportunities in the province. Ms. Sattler describes the bill’s purpose as “to expand high-quality work-integrated learning programs for post-secondary students and end the proliferation of exploitative, unpaid internships.” The Committee held public hearings on the bill.
Members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts attended the Annual Conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees (CCPAC) in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in August. The Committee also tabled its report on Healthy Schools Strategy (Section 4.03, 2015 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario) on October 17.
The Standing Committee on Justice Policy considered Bill 13, An Act in respect of the cost of electricity. The bill authorizes financial assistance for certain Ontario electricity consumers in respect of electricity costs. The bill received one day of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause consideration, and was reported back to the House on October 18 without amendment.
The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills met for a general orientation from Legislative Counsel, Legislative Research Service and the Committee Clerk for the benefit of many new members to the Committee. The Committee began consideration of its Draft Report on Regulations made in the second half of 2015. The Committee opted to invite officials from the Ministry of Transportation to attend a future meeting in order for Members to ask questions about one regulation under consideration.
On October 13 and 14, Ontario welcomed 39 Parliamentary Clerks from across the country to attend the Canadian Parliamentary Committee Clerks Conference in Toronto. The program included nine business sessions in which clerks discussed topics of mutual interest and exchanged ideas for professional development.
This past summer, a restoration project revealed Gustav Hahn’s artwork in the Chamber ceiling that has been covered for over a century. The project initially only involved the installation of safety railings in the public galleries, but a drooping panel in the ceiling led to the discovery of the original artwork which is still in good condition. When the legislative building opened 1893, the Chamber ceiling was painted with maple leaf frescoes and friezes of allegorical figures representing virtues such as justice, wisdom, power, and art. In 1912, due to Members having difficulty hearing each other, the ceiling was covered with horse hair (to absorb sound), canvas and white paint. Major restorations in the 1990s uncovered sections of the painted allegorical figures, and the recent project uncovered four panels of maple leaves around the grate at the centre of the ceiling.
Valerie Quioc Lim
The House of Assembly adopted the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace effective May 20, 2016.
On September 28, 2015 the Committee on Assembly Matters established a three-member all-party working group with the mandate to prepare a draft policy addressing harassment in the workplace for the committee’s consideration. The draft policy prepared by the working group focussed on the following:
specifying the category of persons to whom the policy applies, namely, all elected Members, permanent and contract staff who are remunerated from the Legislative Services budget and contract staff who work at the House of Assembly but are paid under other budgets such as security and cleaning staff and volunteers retained by MLAs to work in their constituency offices;
presenting a broad definition of harassment to include any behaviour that a person knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm, including sexual and non-sexual harassment on a one-time or on a recurrent basis;
identifying the workplace as anywhere the business of the House of Assembly takes place including MLA offices, parliamentary travel and House of Assembly social functions;
specifically excluding the application of the policy to debates and proceedings in the House or before its committees;
setting out a detailed resolution process with particular focus, whenever possible, to early and informal complaint resolution;
stating that the complaint resolution process is to be complainant driven;
setting out the nature of possible sanctions including termination of employment for employees and the bringing of a matter involving an MLA before the House of Assembly with the House voting on the specific sanction to be imposed; and
requiring educational and ongoing orientation/training relating to the policy.
The Committee on Assembly Matters adopted the policy on May 18, 2016. On that same day the policy was tabled in the House by the Speaker and the Government House Leader moved a resolution in the House that provided for the House to adopt the policy if legislative amendments to the House of Assembly Act authorizing the making of the policy were passed and providing for the effective date of the policy to be the date the amending bill received royal assent. The resolution was passed unanimously by the House.
The Government House Leader then on the same day introduced Bill 187 amending the House of Assembly Act. The following day, May 19, 2016 with the unanimous consent of the House, the bill received second reading, the requirement to refer the Bill to the Law Amendments Committee and then to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills was waived and the bill immediately received third reading. The bill received royal assent on May 20, 2016 - the effective date of the policy.
The policy is posted on the Nova Scotia Legislature’s website.
Fall 2016 sitting
On October 13, 2016 the 2nd Session of the 62nd General Assembly prorogued and the 3rd Session commenced with the Speech from the Throne.
Lisa Roberts was elected in the by-election for Halifax Needham held on August 30, 2016 and took her seat on October 13 as an NDP MLA replacing the Honourable Maureen MacDonald.
To date this sitting, 49 bills have been introduced – five government bills, 43 Opposition Private Members’ Bills and one Private Bill.
The topic of labour unrest with province-wide public school teachers dominated Question Period at the time of writing as 96 per cent of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union membership voted in favour of strike action on October 25, 2016.
Annette M. Boucher
Since our last report, many bills have received second reading and been referred to committee. Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, was read a second time and referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. Bills S-202, An Act to amend the Divorce Act (shared parenting plans), and S-215, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Aboriginal women), were both sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for study. Bill S-213, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Parliament of Canada Act (Speakership of the Senate), was sent to the Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization, while S-219, An Act to deter Iran-sponsored terrorism, incitement to hatred, and human rights violations, went to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The Senate also passed three Senate Public Bills during this period. Bills S-217, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (detention in custody), S-211, An Act respecting National Sickle Cell Awareness Day, and S-205, An Act to amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act (Inspector General of the Canada Border Services Agency) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, were read a third time and are awaiting consideration in the House of Commons. Both Bills S-217 and S-205 were amended in committee.
Senate committees were very active during this quarter.
The Special Senate Committee on Senate Modernization presented a series of 10 reports covering a wide range of specific subjects: committees, the representation of regional interest, the broadcasting of Senate proceedings, the speakership of the Senate, the treatment of omnibus bills, the Order Paper, Question Period, caucuses, and the mandate of the institution. The reports contain numerous recommendations regarding how the Senate could move forward and modernize its practices to accommodate a less partisan approach to doing business in the Senate. The reports, if adopted, would result in the Rules Committee and the Internal Economy Committee being charged to develop the specific changes to the Rules of the Senate and the Senate Administrative Rules necessary to implement the special committee’s proposals. The reports are under consideration in the Senate Chamber.
Several committees took advantage of the summer adjournment period to conduct fact-finding missions or hold public hearings in locations across the country. The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources undertook a five-day fact-finding mission to British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to discuss how Canada can transition to a low-carbon economy. The committee made stops in Vancouver, Kitimat and Prince George, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Estevan, Saskatchewan. The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications held meetings in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as part of its study on the transport of crude oil in Canada. The committee also visited Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is studying the issue of court delays in criminal justice proceedings. The committee visited Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It also heard witnesses in Montreal, Québec. Notably, the committee heard from a number of sitting judges – something that is quite rare. The members of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages undertook fact-finding work and held a series of public hearings in British Columbia during this quarter. The committee is examining access to French education in the province, and hopes to make recommendations on best practices and to address key challenges relating to the issue. Finally, the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans made its way to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick in the context of its study of marine search and rescue activities.
Other committees travelled abroad. The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade conducted a fact-finding mission to Buenos Aires as part of its ongoing study on recent developments in Argentina and their implications for Canadian policy and regional dynamics, while the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence was in New York for high-level meetings with senior military advisors, diplomats and experts on the state of peacekeeping missions as part of their study on issues related to the Defence Policy Review undertaken by the government.
This period saw two senators take their leave from the Senate. Michel Rivard retired from the Senate on August 7, 2016. He was appointed to the Senate on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2009 after a career as a businessman and a Quebec MNA. Janice Johnson resigned from the Senate on September 27, the 26th anniversary of her appointment to the Senate by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Senator Johnson was known for her work on issues related to arts and culture, the environment and women’s issues.
A Restored Black Rod
To commemorate the sesquicentennial of Canada, gifted artisans attached to the Royal Household undertook the restoration of the Senate’s Black Rod.
Speaker of the Senate George Furey participated in a ceremony at Windsor Castle in October where Her Majesty the Queen presented the restored Black Rod to Greg Peters, the Usher of the Black Rod, who accepted it on behalf of the Senate. It had been blessed by the Dean of St. George’s Chapel, the Right Reverend David Conner, at a dedication service the preceding afternoon.
This restoration underscores the strong personal attachment of the Queen to Canada and the importance of the Crown in our parliamentary system.
Don McMorris, member for Indian Head-Milestone, resigned from cabinet and from the Saskatchewan Party caucus on August 8, 2016. As a result of the resignation, the composition of the Assembly has changed to 50 Saskatchewan Party members, 10 New Democratic Party members, and one independent member.
On August 23, 2016, Premier Brad Wall reorganized his cabinet to include 17 cabinet posts, one less than the previous cabinet. Don Morgan, Minister of Education and Minister of Labour, was appointed as Deputy Premier.
Four newly elected MLAs were appointed to cabinet:
Tina Beaudry-Mellor became Minister of Social Services and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women;
Bronwyn Eyre became Minister of Advanced Education;
Joe Hargrave became Minister Responsible for Crown Investments Corporation, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Transportation Company; and
Dave Marit became Minister of Highways and Infrastructure.
Six MLAs switched portfolios:
Dustin Duncan became Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister Responsible for SaskTel, and Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy;
Donna Harpauer became the Minister of Government Relations and Minister of First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs;
Jeremy Harrison became Minister of Economy, Minister Responsible for Global Transportation Hub and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority;
Scott Moe became Minister of Environment, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Water Corporation, and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Water Security Agency;
Christine Tell became Minister of Central Services and Minister Responsible for SaskGaming Corporation and Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission; and
Jim Reiter became the Minister of Health.
Four other cabinet ministers retained their current portfolios:
Kevin Doherty, Minister of Finance;
Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture;
Greg Ottenbreit, Minister Rural and Remote Health; and
Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice, Minister of Corrections and Policing, Minister Responsible for SaskBuilds, and Minister Responsible for SaskPower.
Ken Cheveldayoff was appointed as Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission. Nadine Wilson remained in the role of Provincial Secretary and Legislative Secretary to the Premier. Eight additional legislative secretaries were appointed:
Mark Docherty as Legislative Secretary to the Premier (Immigration and Culture);
Jennifer Campeau as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education (First Nations Student Achievement);
Lisa Lambert as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education (Curriculum Development and Consultation);
Lori Carr as Legislative Secretary to the Minister Responsible for SaskPower (Renewable and Sustainable Energy);
Fred Bradshaw as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Environment (Forestry and Wildfire Management);
Hugh Nerlien as Legislative Secretary to the Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission (Public Sector Bargaining);
Steven Bonk as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of the Economy (Export Development); and
Warren Kaeding as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture (Irrigation Expansion).
Paul Merriman was appointed as Government House Leader, and Greg Lawrence was appointed as Government Whip.
Changes to Board of Internal Economy
On August 23, 2016, Dustin Duncan, Paul Merriman, and Laura Ross replaced Ken Cheveldayoff, James Reiter, and Randy Weekes on the Board of Internal Economy.
Changes to Committee Membership
Changes to the composition of standing committees were made on August 31 and October 19, 2016. On October 19, Dan D’Autremont was elected as Chair of the Standing Committee on Human Services.
Standing Committee on Human Services
The Standing Committee on Human Services conducted an inquiry respecting improving the rate of organ and tissue donation in Saskatchewan. Hearings were held on September 6, 7, 12, and 13 in Regina and Saskatoon. The committee will report its recommendations back to the Assembly by November 30, 2016.
First Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature
The first session of the twenty-eighth legislature resumed on October 19, 2016 with 28 government bills awaiting resumption of their second reading debates. The fall session is expected to focus primarily on the government’s legislative agenda.
Due to the provincial election on April 4, 2016 a sessional order was adopted on May 18 to divide the first session into three sitting periods. The first sitting period was adjourned on June 30. The fall sitting will conclude on November 30. The third sessional period will convene on March 6, 2017 and conclude 29 sitting days after the budget motion for the 2017-18 fiscal year is moved.
On October 24 and 25, 2016, the Assembly debated a government motion regarding the federal government’s imposition of a national carbon tax. While the opposition and government both opposed the imposition of the tax, they could not agree on provincial measures related to emissions. At the conclusion of debate, members adopted a motion to transmit a copy of the motion and the verbatim proceedings of the debate to the Prime Minister and all federal opposition leaders.
The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2016
Due to input, co-operation, and universal support across party lines, the Assembly passed Bill No. 39, The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2016 through all stages on October 25, 2016. In his second reading speech the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, explained that the amendment would allow for workers suffering from psychological injuries caused by traumatic events in their workplace to be eligible for workers’ compensation. Since Bill No. 601, The Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2016 contained similar provisions, Danielle Charier, opposition member for Saskatoon Riversdale, withdrew her private member’s bill immediately following the passage of Bill No. 39.
New Advocate for Children and Youth
On October 27, 2016, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan adopted a motion to appoint Corey O’Soup as the new Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth.
The 33rd Legislative Assembly was dissolved by Order of Commissioner Doug Phillips on October 7. On November 7, a general election was held to elect the 19 members who would comprise the territory’s 34th Legislative Assembly. The Yukon Liberal Party won a majority government, with Mr. Sandy Silver, the member for Klondike and the lone Liberal member going into the election, emerging at the helm of an 11-member caucus.
The Yukon Party, which had been in power for three successive terms over 14 years, and which had 11 members at the time the election was called, returned six MLAs, becoming the new Official Opposition. While the Yukon Party gained a seat in Porter Creek Centre with the election of former Commissioner Geraldine Van Bibber, Premier Darrell Pasloski lost his seat in the riding of Mountainview. Mr. Pasloski stepped down as party leader and Stacey Hassard is now interim leader of the Yukon Party.
The New Democratic Party, which had entered the election with six members, retained two seats, including leader Liz Hanson’s seat in Whitehorse Centre.
There were two ridings that each featured two incumbent members on the ballot: Copperbelt South, and Whitehorse Centre. In Copperbelt South, Yukon Party Minister Scott Kent won the seat that had been held by NDP member Lois Moorcroft (who had herself been a Minister in a previous NDP government). In Whitehorse Centre, Yukon Party Minister Doug Graham was on the ballot in the riding held by Ms. Hanson (as noted, Ms. Hanson retained her seat).
The new Legislative Assembly features eight returning members and 11 new MLAs. In total, seven women were elected; one more than in the previous Legislative Assembly, and the highest number ever in a Yukon general election. Female MLAs now comprise 36.8 per cent of the House.
Recounts were held in the two ridings in which the plurality was less than ten votes: Mountainview, and Vuntut Gwitchin. In both cases the election night result was confirmed by the recount. Each riding was won by seven votes. The successful candidates, by electoral district, follow (new MLAs are indicated with an asterisk):
Copperbelt North – Ted Adel* (Liberal)
Copperbelt South – Scott Kent ( Yukon Party)
Klondike – Sandy Silver (Liberal)
Kluane – Wade Istchenko (Yukon Party)
Lake Laberge – Brad Cathers (Yukon Party)
Mayo-Tatchun – Don Hutton* (Liberal)
Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes – John Streicker* (Liberal)
Mountainview – Jeanie Dendys* (Liberal)
Pelly-Nisutlin – Stacey Hassard (Yukon Party)
Porter Creek Centre – Paolo Gallina* (Liberal)
Porter Creek North – Geraldine Van Bibber* (Yukon Party)
Porter Creek South – Ranj Pillai* (Liberal)
Riverdale North – Nils Clarke* (Liberal)
Riverdale South – Tracy McPhee* (Liberal)
Takhini-Kopper King – Kate White (NDP)
Vuntut Gwitchin – Pauline Frost* (Liberal)
Watson Lake – Patti McLeod (Yukon Party)
Whitehorse Centre – Liz Hanson (NDP)
Whitehorse West – Richard Mostyn* (Liberal)
The day after the election, the Whitehorse Star pegged voter turnout across the territory at 79.8 per cent.
On September 27 and 28, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Yukon, during which time Their Royal Highnesses attended a number of events in Whitehorse as well as in the town of Carcross.