| British Columbia
| New Brunswick
| House of Commons
The spring sitting of the fourth session of the 41st Parliament adjourned on May 30, 2019. During the sitting, 33 bills received Royal Assent, including two Private Members’ bills introduced by the Third Party Leader.
The following bills were of particular note:
- Bill 8, Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019, makes changes to the Employment Standards Act which has not been significantly updated in 15 years. The Bill received Royal Assent on May 30, 2019 and the changes include stronger child employment protections that broadly raise the age a child may work from 12 to 16 with exemptions that allow 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds to perform light work. The Bill also seeks to modernize the employment standards system with a more effective compliance and enforcement program.
- Bill 10, Income Tax Amendment Act, 2019, is designed to bring together the fiscal elements needed to support LNG investment. This bill repeals the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act and the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act and amends the Income Tax Act to implement a natural gas tax credit. This provides a non-refundable tax credit to qualifying corporations that own natural gas as it enters the inlet meter of an LNG facility in British Columbia. An amendment proposed by a Member of the Official Opposition, Mike de Jong, removing the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act from a list of Acts to be repealed by the Bill, was adopted when the division on the amendment resulted in a tie and the Chair, Deputy Speaker Joan Isaacs, a Member of the Official Opposition, cast her vote in favour of the amendment, stating her decision was a matter of conscience. The bill was reported as amended and received Royal Assent on April 11, 2019.
- Bill 30, Labour Relations Code Amendment Act, 2019, reflects the recommendations provided to government by a panel of special advisers who undertook a comprehensive public review of the Labour Relations Code during early 2018. Changes introduced by this bill include protecting union certification and collective agreement rights for employees in specified sectors who are affected by contract re-tendering; and enhancing mediation and arbitration provisions to ensure timely and efficient resolution of labour relations disputes. The Labour Relations Code Amendment Act received Royal Assent on May 30, 2019.
On April 10, 2019, the Third Party Leader, Andrew Weaver, introduced Bill M209, Business Corporations Amendment Act (No. 2), which received Royal Assent on May 16, 2019. This bill amends the Business Corporations Act, adding a new section to the act that would give companies in British Columbia who put the pursuit of social and environmental goals at the heart of their mission the ability to incorporate as benefit companies. The Leader of the Third Party also introduced Bill M206, Residential Tenancy Amendment Act, 2019, which amends the Residential Tenancy Act to provide tenants with the ability to end their fixed-term lease if staying in their rental unit is a threat to their safety or security; and broadens the family violence provisions introduced in 2015. Bill M206 received Royal Assent on May 30, 2019. Committee of the Whole proceedings on both bills was unusual. The responsible Minister in each case (Carole James, Minister of Finance, and Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, respectively) was present to answer questions directed to ministry staff due to a process established by government for the consideration of Private Members’ Bills in Committee of the Whole that only permitted a Minister to confer with ministerial staff seated on the floor of the House. The last Private Member’s Bill to receive Royal Assent in BC was Bill M 203, Terry Fox Day Act, on November 27, 2014, introduced by a Private Member of government caucus.
The Committee of Supply spent more than 192 hours considering the 2019-2020 ministry Estimates; 17 fewer hours than last year. Traditionally the Committee of Supply sits in two sections but, as in 2018, the Legislative Assembly authorized an additional third section (C) to assist in completing debate on both Estimates and bills. As noted in the previous issue, Bill 6, Supply Act (Supplementary Estimates) received Royal Assent on March 25 – the first time supplementary estimates have been authorized since 2008-2009. The Committee of Supply spent over 14 hours considering the Supplementary Estimates of nine ministries.
Speaker’s Statement: Conduct of MLAs and Rules for Question Period
Between April 1 and April 9, 2019, there were frequent interruptions, interjections, and general disorder during oral question period and Speaker Darryl Plecas called the Members to order numerous times. On April 2, 2019, after Members immediately heckled each other at the start of question period, the Speaker stated that he was reluctant to recess the House in the middle of question period. At the beginning of oral question period on April 3, 2019, the Speaker made a further statement regarding the continuing unruly conduct during question period.
On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the Official Opposition House Leader, Mary Polak, raised a point of order, seeking clarification on the Speaker’s specific expectations with respect to interjections during question period. The following day, the Speaker made a statement regarding the conduct of Members and rules for question period. He referred to Standing Order 47A, which outlines the basic expectations for oral question period, and acknowledged that presiding over oral question period is always a challenging role for a Speaker. He noted that it had become virtually impossible for the Chair to hear proceedings, particularly answers to questions. With respect to questions about the role of the Chair, the Speaker provided a detailed statement to the House: that he as Speaker would interfere in debate if it appeared that either the question or the response could not be heard; that he would exercise his discretion where it’s afforded to him by the rules of the House, including allowing or disallowing a supplementary question, as provided for in Standing Order 47A, subsection (c); that as Speaker, he had a fundamental duty to uphold order and decorum in the House and he would not hesitate to ask Members to come to order when such discretion is merited and at any point during a sitting, including during oral question period; and that at the end of question period, Members must be succinct in stating their question or providing a brief response, as the case may be.
Legislative Assembly Administration
As reported in the previous issue, on March 7, 2019 the House Leaders announced that former Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, had been retained as a Special Investigator to conduct an investigation into allegations of misconduct against the Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms, and to present a final report to House Leaders by May 3, 2019. The Special Investigator’s final report was received by the House Leaders on May 2, 2019 and was tabled in the Legislative Assembly by the Government House Leader on May 16, 2019. The Special Investigator found that Craig James, as Clerk, engaged in misconduct with respect to four of the five allegations investigated, specifically in relation to making expense claims for improper purchases of a personal nature; directing the creation of three benefits to his personal advantage outside of established protocols; improperly removing Legislative Assembly property from the Legislative Precinct without accounting for it; and improperly using legislative property for personal purposes. The Special Investigator found that Gary Lenz, as Sergeant-at-Arms, did not engage in misconduct with respect to any of the five allegations investigated in the report. Mr. James retired effective May 16, 2019 and Mr. Lenz continues on administrative leave. On May 30, 2019 the Legislative Assembly appointed a Special Committee to select and unanimously recommend the appointment of a Clerk to the Legislative Assembly pursuant to statutory provisions and the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly.
As reported in the previous issue, on March 7, 2019 the Speaker, as Chair of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, presented a report from the Committee in the Legislative Assembly. The report notes that the Committee instructed the Acting Clerk of the Legislative Assembly during its meeting on January 21, 2019 to develop the scope for a financial audit of Legislative Assembly departments, and to develop a framework for a workplace review. The results of the audit will be released as a number of small reports, the first of which is expected to be released in late summer 2019. A request for proposals for the workplace review is currently being drafted.
This spring, three parliamentary committees launched concurrent public consultations.
On February 21, 2019, the Legislative Assembly appointed a Special Committee to conduct an audit respecting the outcome or resolution of randomly selected complaints and investigations, pursuant to section 51.2 of the Police Act [RSBC 1996] c. 367. As part of its review of the police complaint process, the Committee launched a public consultation, including a call for written submissions, on the efficiency, effectiveness, and accessibility of the police complaint process; aspects of the police complaint process that could be improved; and suggestions for changes to Part 11 of the Police Act. Sixteen written submissions were received by the June 28, 2019 deadline. The Committee also issued a Request for Proposals to engage an auditor to conduct a compliance and a performance audit of the police complaint process. The successful proponent was MNP, LLP who must present a report to the Committee by October 1, 2019.
The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth launched a special project focused on the assessment and eligibility process for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, or Developmental Delay on April 15, 2019. Public hearings took place during the weeks of May 20 and June 3 with a deadline for written submissions of June 7, 2019. The Committee heard 85 presentations and received 136 written submissions from service providers, parents, caregivers, and other people with an interest in children and youth with neuro-diverse special needs.
According to the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act, S.B.C. 2000, c. 23, the Minister of Finance must make public a budget consultation paper no later than September 15 each year. It is then referred to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services which must conduct consultations as it considers appropriate and make public a report on the results of those consultations no later than November 15. This year, the Committee, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, adjusted that timeline: the Minister of Finance released the budget consultation paper on June 3, 2019, and accordingly, the public consultation took place throughout June 2019. This change will enable the Committee to deliver a final report to the Legislative Assembly earlier in the budget process and will allow more time for government’s review and consideration of the Committee’s recommendations. The Parliamentary Committees Office sent over 900 emails to stakeholders to notify them of this change in addition to advertising in provincial and regional newspapers and on social media. The Committee received 492 written submissions, received 452 survey responses and heard 276 presentations in comparison to 253 written submissions, 473 survey responses, and 267 presentations last year. The Committee is also seeking feedback from the public on this change in timing. The Committee is expected to issue its report by the end of July or early August 2019.
Acting Conflict of Interest Commissioner
As reported in the previous issue, on March 29, 2019 BC’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser passed away after a short illness. On May 9, 2019, the Legislative Assembly appointed a Special Committee to select and unanimously recommend the appointment of a new Conflict of Interest Commissioner pursuant to Section 14(6) of the Members’ Conflict of Interest Act. Lynn Smith was appointed as Acting Conflict of Interest Commissioner on June 17, 2019 by Order in Council. Ms. Smith received a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Simon Fraser University. She was appointed to BC’s Supreme Court in 1998 and served as a Supreme Court justice until her retirement in 2012. The Special Committee to Appoint a Conflict of Interest Commissioner issued a call for applications for the position on June 21, 2019 with a deadline to apply for the five-year term appointment by August 30, 2019.
Human Rights Commissioner
This year, the Legislative Assembly appointed its ninth Statutory Officer: a Human Rights Commissioner. This position was established following the adoption of amendments to the Human Rights Code on November 27, 2018. The Special Committee to Appoint a Human Rights Commissioner issued an open call for applications on February 1, 2019 and, after a series of interviews and deliberations, recommended Kasari Govender. The Legislative Assembly appointed her to the position on May 29, 2019. Ms. Govender has an extensive background defending human rights and working with diverse communities as well as a commitment to Indigenous reconciliation and women’s rights, and will commence her role on September 3, 2019.
Retirement of Acting Sergeant-at-Arms
On May 31, 2019 Randy Ennis, Acting Sergeant-at-Arms, retired from the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Ennis joined the Legislative Assembly Protective Services as a Constable in 2005 and was promoted to various positions, including to Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms in 2009. Prior to working at the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Ennis served as a member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Military Merit. In addition, Ron Huck, Staff Sergeant and Operations Commander, retired from the Legislative Assembly on the same day. Mr. Huck joined the Legislative Assembly Protective Services as a Constable in 2006 and was promoted to Staff Sergeant and Operations Commander in 2009. He previously worked as a Police Officer with the Saanich Police Department for 11 years and worked in the BC Public Service for 22 years prior to that. The Premier paid tribute to both in the House.
Sitting Days and Standings
The Second Session of the 59th Legislature adjourned on June 14 after 40 sitting days and is scheduled to resume sitting on November 19, 2019. The current standings in the House are 22 Progressive Conservatives, 21 Liberals, three Greens and three People’s Alliance.
The Standing Committee on Estimates and Fiscal Policy, chaired by Glen Savoie, met in the Legislative Assembly Chamber for three weeks in April and May to review and approve the budgetary estimates of various government departments.
Kimberly Poffenroth, the Chief Electoral Officer, tabled a discussion paper on June 4 before members of the Standing Committee on Procedure, Privileges and Legislative Officers, chaired by Stewart Fairgrieve. With a goal of enhancing and modernizing voting procedures, the recommendations contained in the discussion paper entitled “Modernizing New Brunswick’s Electoral Legislation” include amendments to the Elections Act, the Political Process Financing Act and the Municipal Elections Act. Initiatives included such items as: eliminating the political appointment of the returning officers who manage provincial and municipal elections and establishing a competitive, competency-based hiring process; eliminating the restrictions on advertising on election day and the day preceding; and introducing vote-by-mail for any municipal byelection or local service district plebiscite held between general elections. Elections New Brunswick invited all interested individuals, including stakeholders with direct ties to the electoral processes administered by the organization, to review the recommendations and offer feedback before September 30. The feedback received will help to form the final recommendations that will be submitted to the government for modernizing the various pieces of legislation.
On June 11, the Standing Committees on Public Accounts and Crown Corporations, chaired by Roger Melanson and Glen Savoie respectively, met with Auditor General Kim MacPherson, who presented three performance audits of government programs and a special review. The performance audits were in relation to Medicare cards, outsourcing of highway maintenance and construction work, and the collection and forgiveness of overdue property taxes. The special review was in relation to the City of Saint John funding agreement and found that the $22.8 million agreement to address the city’s anticipated budget deficits created several risks and challenges for the province. According to the Auditor General, the agreement terms created an inappropriate incentive for the city to report deficits to maximize funding. As well, negotiators allowed key safeguards protecting the province to be removed. The Auditor General was also of the view the agreement circumvented the Local Governance Act discouraging ongoing deficits and violated the Financial Administration Act. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts agreed to hold further public hearings on the agreement in August to hear from various individuals involved in its development and implementation.
As of June 14, 30 bills were introduced during the Spring session, including:
Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Local Governance Act, introduced by Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr, which enables local governments to create bylaws imposing tourism accommodation levies on guests of hotels and other accommodation providers to help fund local tourism marketing and development projects.
Bill 14, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Act, introduced by Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart, which eliminates the requirement of front licence plates on passenger and light commercial vehicles.
Bill 28, An Act to Amend the Family Services Act, introduced by Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. The proposed amendments to the Family Services Act incorporate kinship care into legislation as a care option for children and provide a new alternative to adoption known as transfer of guardianship, involving an arrangement with kin or a long-standing foster relationship. It also incorporates treatment centres into legislation as a new resource available to children, and it adds provisions related to the screening process for those working or having frequent contact with children receiving services or resources under the Family Services Act.
Bill 30, An Act Respecting Certain Responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner and the Ombud, introduced by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason, which transfers responsibilities for the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act to the Ombud permanently. It also expands the role of the Integrity Commissioner to grant the commissioner the authority currently provided to a designated judge under the Conflict of Interest Act, which includes the authority to provide advice, administer disclosures and oaths, investigate and make determinations with respect to Deputy Ministers, executive staff members, and heads of Crown corporations.
In light of a series of measles cases in the Saint John area, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy introduced Bill 39, An Act Respecting Proof of Immunization, proposing amendments to the Education Act and Public Health Act to remove the option for nonmedical exemptions from the mandatory immunization requirements for public school and licenced early learning and child care admissions. The order for second reading of the Bill was discharged and the subject matter of the Bill referred to the Standing Committee on Law Amendments for future consultations.
The first Bill introduced by the People’s Alliance and their Leader, Kris Austin, was Bill 18, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Act, which passed third reading and awaits proclamation. The bill extends the annual certificate of inspection for vehicles to two years.
Robert McKee, a Member from the Official Opposition, introduced Bill 40, AnAct Respecting Third Party Advertising. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure third party political advertising outside an election period is disclosed. The bill would mandate the Supervisor of Political Financing to complete a review of third party spending limits and report back with recommendations. It would also cause political parties that are found to have violated the existing ban on collusion with third parties to be deregistered as political parties.
The Speaker of the House, Daniel Guitard, broke a tie vote at second reading of Bill 23, An Act to Amend the Electricity Act, introduced by Green Party Leader David Coon. The Bill allows municipal and First Nations governments to create partnerships with local renewable power producers and permits publicly owned municipal distribution utilities in Saint John, Edmundston, and Perth-Andover to secure electric power from local renewable power producers outside their municipal boundaries. The Speaker voted in favour of the Bill at second reading to allow further debate in Committee of the Whole, where the Bill was eventually defeated.
In support of nursing home workers and their fight for a new contract, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Denis Landry, introduced Motion 36 urging the government to work with the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes and provide the Association the assurances necessary for them to agree to enter into binding arbitration to resolve this dispute and enter into a collective agreement. With the support of two People’s Alliance MLAs and three Greens, the motion was adopted in a 25-21 vote.
New Leader Elected
Kevin Vickers was elected Leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party on April 24, 2019, replacing former Premier Brian Gallant. After serving for 29 years in the RCMP, Kevin Vickers was the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons from 2006 to 2015 and helped end the Parliament Hill attack in October 2014. He was awarded the Star of Courage and named Canadian Ambassador to Ireland in 2015. He retired in 2019 to pursue his political career in New Brunswick. As he does not currently have a seat in the legislature, Denis Landry serves as the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Assembly.
Alberta Premier Addresses the Legislative Assembly
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was in New Brunswick and addressed the Assembly on June 13 as part of a cross country tour to raise support for oil and gas development. In his address, he mentioned the important ties between Alberta and New Brunswick, announcing his intention to work with New Brunswick’s Premier Blaine Higgs to strengthen national unity, to be partners in trade with the development of natural resource corridors, and to support federal policies to help peoples of both provinces enjoy prosperity.
50th Anniversary of the Official Languages Act
Fifty years ago, New Brunswick became the only officially bilingual province. A law was passed, and a movement of equality was launched. Since the enactment of the Official Languages Act in 1969, numerous measures have been implemented to foster the cultural, economic, educational and social development of the official linguistic communities. The anniversary is seen as an opportunity to celebrate the province’s two official linguistic communities. A variety of events and initiatives will take place this year, in partnership with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and several other community organizations in New Brunswick.
100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in New Brunswick
The right for women to vote in provincial elections came into effect on April 15, 1919. Until 1843, women were technically allowed to vote in New Brunswick but that changed in 1843 when the Elections Act was amended to state that only men who owned property could vote. Women were officially excluded. Between 1885 and 1919, eight bills and four resolutions for women’s suffrage were introduced in the legislature. In January 1919, most Canadian women over 21 won the right to vote in federal elections. In April of that year, New Brunswick’s Attorney General introduced a bill given royal assent on April 17, allowing women to vote in provincial elections. It would take until 1934 before women were given the right to hold public office. Brenda Robertson became the first woman elected to the New Brunswick Legislature in 1967.
3rd Session of the 41st Legislature – Spring Sitting
The Third Session of the 41st Legislature resumed on March 6, 2019 with the summer adjournment scheduled for June 3, 2019. During the Spring sitting, the House considered Specified Government Bills and several Private Members’ Bills.
On June 3, 17 Government Bills and four Private Members’ Bills received Royal Assent, including:
- Bill 7 – The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Immediate Roadside Prohibitions), allowing peace officers to impose immediate roadside prohibitions on drivers based on blood alcohol content;
- Bill 8 – The Referendum Act, which requires that a referendum be held before implementing a significant change to the provincial voting scheme and before the Manitoba Legislative Assembly can vote on authorizing an amendment to the Canadian Constitution;
- Bill 9 – The Family Law Modernization Act, creating a pilot project for a new dispute resolution process to resolve family disputes outside the traditional court system. The bill includes a simplification of the child support processes, expansion of the administrative authority of the Maintenance Enforcement Program, and improved enforceability of family arbitration awards. The pilot program will last three years;
- Bill 15 – The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act (Cannabis Possession Restrictions), which prohibits the possession of more than 30 grams of non-medical cannabis in a public place;
- Bill 21 – The Legislative Building Centennial Restoration and Preservation Act, allocating $10 million annually for the next 15 years to address much needed restoration and preservation of the Manitoba Legislative Building, the grounds and associated infrastructure;
- Bill 240 – The Elections Amendment Act requiring candidates to disclose offences under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances, and The Income Tax Act or the Income Tax Act (Canada), that they have pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of.
The Committee of Supply considered the Estimates of the Departmental Expenditures for one day during the Spring sitting, without therefore completing all the necessary steps for the passage of the budget by the last sitting day before the summer.
Before the House rose for the summer, the Committee of Supply considered and passed supply resolutions dealing with temporary funding for operating and capital expenditures until the main supply bills are completed. The House also dealt with passing all stages of a second Interim Supply bill for the current fiscal year. As a result, Bill 33 – The Interim Appropriation Act, 2019 (2) received Royal Assent on June 3, 2019.
During this past session, the Government also introduced Bill 30 – The Interim Appropriation Act, 2020, to authorize operating and capital expenditures for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The bill did not go through any further than being introduced in the House, but this was a new and innovative type of Interim Supply bill. In Manitoba new budgets are usually introduced in April: therefore Interim Supply bills are necessarily introduced and passed in March to guarantee normal functioning of government. However, there has never been an Interim Supply bill introduced so early for the following fiscal year.
During the Spring sitting, the Standing Committees on Social and Economic Development, Legislative Affairs, Private Bills, and Justice held a total of seven meetings hearing public presentations on legislation and completing consideration of clause-by-clause of several bills.
The May 29 meeting of the Social and Economic Development meeting is worthy of mention because the committee sat for almost six hours to hear 30 presentations on Bill 30 - An Act concerning the Leasing of 800 Adele Avenue, Winnipeg. The purpose of the Bill was to terminate the lease of 800 Adele Avenue, Winnipeg, that was entered into by the First Nations Southern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority. For the first time in the history of the Manitoba Legislature, translation services were offered in a language other than French (although in the past services have occasionally be provided for sign language interpretation). Prior to the committee, several presenters enquired about the possibility to be given the possibility to speak Punjabi language during their presentation. The Committees Branch provided a translator who was present during the meeting to translate the presentations into English. However, the Committee did not start clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill prior to the House rising for summer; therefore, the Bill will not proceed further due to an election having been called.
In addition, the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs completed the hiring process for a new Ombudsperson. On May 9 the Committee recommended to the President of Executive Council that Jill Perron be appointed as the Ombudsperson for the Province of Manitoba
42nd General Election of Manitoba
On June 19, 2019 Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced voters will go to the polls on September 10. Manitoba has fixed election date legislation and the 42nd General Election was schedule for October 6, 2020. Nevertheless, legislation does not affect the powers of the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the Legislature at the request of the Premier. Premier Pallister is expected to drop the writ sometime in August, which will start a campaign of either 28 or 34 days. At the time this report was submitted, political parties are nominating candidates for the 57 constituencies.
Several MLAs have announced that they will not run for re-election in September 2019, including some long serving Members and former ministers:
- James Allum; first elected in October 2011 and re-elected in 2016, Mr. Allum served twice as Minister of Education and also as Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
- Rob Altemeyer; served four terms starting June 2003, always representing the central constituency of Wolseley, in Winnipeg. Mr. Altemeyer has chaired many committees and was for a long time the deputy chairperson of the Committee of the Whole House.
- Nic Curry; first elected in 2016 in the now defunct urban constituency of Kildonan, in north Winnipeg.
- Flor Marcelino; elected in 2007, has served three terms representing citizens living in the core area of Winnipeg. Ms. Marcelino served in Cabinet for several years first as Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism and later as Minister of Multiculturalism and Literacy. Ms. Marcelino was also the first female MLA of Filipino heritage to be elected in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.
- Andrew Swan; first elected in a by-election in June 2004, for the last 15 years Mr. Swan has represented Winnipeg west end constituency of Minto. Mr. Swan has been member of Cabinet for a good part of his time as MLA first as Minister of Competitiveness, Training and Trade and later as Minister of Justice and Attorney General. For a year Mr. Swan also served as Government House Leader.
Current Party Standings
The party standings in the Manitoba Legislature prior to the 42nd General Election are: Progressive Conservatives 38, New Democratic Party 12, Liberal Party four with three Independent Members.
Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
2019 Fall Sitting
As per the provisions of Standing Order 75(10), the 2019 Fall Sitting of the Second Session of the 34th Legislative Assembly is expected to commence during the first week of October.
Bills Assented to During 2019 Spring Sitting
The 2019 Spring Sitting began on March 7 and concluded on April 30, after 30 sitting days. During the Sitting, the following government bills were assented to by Yukon Commissioner Angélique Bernard:
- Bill No. 29, Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2019
- Bill No. 30, Act to Amend the Education Labour Relations Act
- Bill No. 31, Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act
- Bill No. 32, Act to Amend the Securities Act
- Bill No. 33, Yukon Government Carbon Price Rebate Implementation Act
- Bill No. 208, Third Appropriation Act 2018-19
- Bill No. 209, Interim Supply Appropriation Act 2019-20; and
- Bill No. 210, First Appropriation Act 2019-20 (the bill, providing for a record budget of nearly $1.5 billion, was introduced by Yukon’s Premier and Finance Minister, Sandy Silver)
No private members’ bills were introduced or considered during the 2019 Spring Sitting.
Report of the Auditor General
On June 18, officials from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) presented Speaker Nils Clarke with a performance audit entitled Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Yukon Legislative Assembly: Kindergarten Through Grade 12 Education in Yukon – Department of Education. Later that morning, the officials provided MLAs with an in camera briefing in the Chamber on the report. In the afternoon, OAG officials met with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The OAG’s performance audit, which is posted on the Committee’s webpage, concluded that “the Department of Education did not do enough to assess or address the long-standing gaps in student outcomes” and “did not do enough to deliver education programs that were inclusive and that fully reflected Yukon First Nations culture and languages.”
New NDP Leader
Kate White, the MLA for Takhini-Kopper King, was formally acclaimed as the new Leader of Yukon’s NDP at the party’s May 4, 2019 leadership convention, held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. While Ms. White was formally endorsed by the party on that date, at the close of nominations on April 18, she was the sole declared candidate.
Ms. White was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the October 2011 general territorial election and re-elected in the November 2016 general election. Ms. White’s online caucus biography notes that she is a Red Seal baker, has worked in the mining industry, and works as a life-skills coach with women at Corrections Yukon.
Ms. White assumes the leadership mantle from Liz Hanson, who last November announced plans to step down from the role upon the selection of a new leader. Ms. Hanson, who became NDP Leader in September 2009 and has served as Leader of the Official Opposition, and Leader of the Third Party, retains her Whitehorse Centre seat. Together, Ms. White and Ms. Hanson form the Third Party Caucus.
New Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
As anticipated in Yukon’s preceding legislative report, on May 4, 2019 Dan Cable officially became Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. On March 5, Speaker Clarke, Chair of the Members’ Services Board (an all-party committee of the Assembly) announced that the Committee had selected Mr. Cable to succeed Floyd McCormick as Clerk. Mr. Cable comes to the Assembly with 17 years of experience in the Yukon government’s Department of Justice. For the past 13 years, he served as the department’s Director of Policy and Communications. The Speaker’s news release noted that Mr. Cable’s responsibilities included ministerial support, as well as the Justice department’s access to information and protection of privacy file. Mr. Cable has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Alaska.
In order to provide for a smoother transition, the incoming Clerk and the outgoing Clerk enjoyed a period of overlap from April 1 to May 3.
Dr. McCormick’s final day as Clerk was May 3; he had served in that role since March 2007, having begun his career at the Assembly in August 2001, as Deputy Clerk. With unanimous consent, before adjourning for the summer on April 30, Speaker Clarke, Government House Leader Tracy-Anne McPhee, Dean of the House and Official Opposition MLA Brad Cathers, and Ms. Hanson, Third Party Leader, paid tribute to the outgoing Clerk, following which Dr. McCormick was piped out of the Chamber.
As forecasted in Yukon’s preceding legislative report, a youth parliament program for high school students was delivered between April 10 and 12. The youth parliament proceedings conducted in the Chamber on April 12 formed the centerpiece of the program. Speaker Clarke presided over both the morning sitting and the afternoon sitting of the youth parliament. A youth parliament exercise had not been held in the Yukon Legislative Assembly since April 2010.
Respectful Conduct policy
A July 11 news release issued by the Yukon Legislative Assembly Office announced the creation by the Members’ Services Board (an all-party Committee of the Assembly) of a respectful workplace policy for MLAs. As noted in the announcement, the policy “contains guidance for Members as well clear definitions of what constitutes disrespectful conduct and the remedies and procedures available for redress.” The policy, which was approved by the Members’ Services Board on June 12 and took immediate effect, is posted on the Legislative Assembly’s website.
The Winter 2019 sitting of the 2nd Session of the 5th Legislative Assembly convened on February 19, 2019, and concluded on March 12, 2019. The proceedings of the Committee of the Whole during the Winter 2019 sitting were dominated by the consideration of the government’s proposed 2019-2020 main estimates.
Eight bills received Assent during the Winter 2019 sitting:
- Bill 13, Write-Off of Assets Act, 2017-2018;
- Bill 15, Appropriation (Operations and Maintenance) Act, 2019-2020;
- Bill 16, Supplementary Appropriation (Capital) Act, No. 3, 2018-2019;
- Bill 17, Supplementary Appropriation (Capital) Act, No. 1, 2019-2020;
- Bill 18, Supplementary Appropriation (Operations and Maintenance) Act, No. 1, 2018-2019;
- Bill 19, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act;
- Bill 20, Interim Language of Instruction Act; and
- Bill 21, An Act to Amend the Revolving Funds Act.
The Spring 2019 sitting convened on May 28, 2019, and concluded on June 6, 2019. Five bills received Assent during the Spring 2019 sitting:
- Bill 1, Corrections Act;
- Bill 22, Supplementary Appropriation (Operations and Maintenance) Act, No. 1, 2019-2020;
- Bill 23, Supplementary Appropriation (Capital) Act, No. 2, 2019-2020;
- Bill 24, Write-Off of Debts Act, 2018-2019; and
- Bill 27, An Act to Amend the Senior Citizens Benefits Act.
The Fall 2019 sitting is scheduled to convene on October 17, 2019.
Passing of Speaker Joe Enook
Speaker Joe Enook passed away on March 29, 2019, following a short illness. Flags were half-masted at the Legislative Assembly Precinct in honour of his passing, and a book of condolences was hosted in the main foyer. A formal obituary of the late Speaker was published in the Spring 2019 edition of Canadian Parliamentary Review.
From April 10-11, 2019, the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Oversight of Government Operations and Public Accounts held televised hearings on the most recent annual reports of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Representative for Children and Youth, both of whom are independent officers of the Legislative Assembly. Committee Chairperson and Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main subsequently presented reports on the televised hearings during the spring 2019 sitting of the House.
Appointment of New Speaker and Other Presiding Officers
The Nunavut Leadership Forum, which consists of all Members of the Legislative Assembly, gathered on the morning of May 28, 2019, to select a new Speaker. Four Members accepted nominations. Baker Lake MLA and Deputy Speaker Simeon Mikkungwak was declared elected following one round of balloting. Mr. Mikkungwak was subsequently dragged to the Chair following the passage of a formal motion of appointment when the House convened that afternoon. On June 6, 2019, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion to appoint Hudson Bay MLA Allan Rumbolt as the new Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole and Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak as a new Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole.
Appointment of New Representative for Children and Youth
On June 6, 2019, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion recommending that Marilyn Jane Bates be appointed Representative for Children and Youth. Her five-year term of office commences on July 22, 2019.
Order of Nunavut
On March 12, 2019, the Order of Nunavut Advisory Council, which is chaired by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, announced that the 2018 appointment to the Order would be Zacharias Kunuk. Mr. Kunuk is a filmmaker and co-founder of Igloolik Isuma Productions whose 2001 film, Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner, was honoured with the Caméra d’Or at the 54th Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Kunuk is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mr. Kunuk’s investiture ceremony was held in the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly on June 4, 2019. The ceremony was televised across the territory and live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website. Commissioner of Nunavut Nellie Kusugak presided over the ceremony in her capacity as Chancellor of the Order.
Office of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut
Toward the end of a busy spring, the House voted to sit late on two evenings to ensure the completion of certain items of business prior to adjournment. The Government also advised the Speaker that the public interest required the House to meet during adjournment, resulting in the Speaker recalling the House on the afternoon of Sunday, June 2 to debate Bill 117, An Act to amend the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
As has become traditional over the past several years, a Royal Assent ceremony was held in the Legislative Chamber on the last sitting day. Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario assented to four government bills and five private bills before retiring from the Chamber.
The House adjourned on June 6, 2019 and is scheduled to return on October 28, 2019.
Premier Doug Ford announced a major cabinet shuffle on June 20, 2019, just over a year into the government’s mandate. The shuffle saw the size of cabinet change from 21 to 28 ministers, and changed the portfolios of over half the Ministers. New members of Cabinet include Paul Calandra (Minister without Portfolio and Government House Leader), Doug Downey (Attorney General), Jill Dunlop (Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues), Stephen Lecce (Minister of Education), Ross Romano (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities), Prabmeet Sarkaria (Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction), and Kinga Surma (Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA)).
Condolences and Passing of Former Member
The House expressed its condolences on the passing of two former Members from the electoral district of Peterborough: Walter Pitman, Member from October 17, 1967 to October 20, 1971 and Peter Adams, Member from September 10, 1987 to September 5, 1990.
Julia Munro, who served as a Member from June 8, 1995 until June 6, 2018, passed away on June 12, 2019. She held the distinction of being the longest serving female legislator in Ontario’s history. The Legislative Assembly’s flags were lowered to half-mast on the day of her funeral.
The Financial Accountability Officer, Peter Weltman, tabled three reports: Ontario Health Sector: 2019 updated assessment of Ontario health spending, Economic and Budget Outlook, Spring 2019 and Expenditure Estimates 2019-20: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
The House also received the final Annual Reports from Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Diane Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario; and François Boileau, French Language Services Commissioner. Under the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, the offices of these Parliamentary Officers, as well as that of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner (Sidney B. Linden), were wound down as stand-alone offices and amalgamated with the operations of three other Parliamentary Officers. As of April 1, 2019, the Office of the Auditor General took on duties that were carried out by the Office of the Environmental Commissioner, while responsibilities of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and the French Language Services Commissioner were transferred to the Office of the Ombudsman as of May 1, 2019. The Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner was also merged with the Office of the Integrity Commissioner on May 1, 2019.
On April 11, 2019, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli delivered his first Budget. Highlights of his Budget speech included plans for deficit reduction, alcohol retail reform, transit expansion in Toronto, a new childcare tax credit, changes to auto insurance, as well as new designs for driver’s licenses and license plates.
Select Committee on Financial Transparency
The Select Committee on Financial Transparency took part in seven report writing sessions spanning from December to February, continuing to meet through the winter adjournment. The Committee tabled its final report on March 26, 2019.
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
The Standing Committee of Finance and Economic Affairs considered Bill 100, An Act to implement Budget measures and to enact, amend and repeal various statutes this spring. The Bill contained 61 Schedules and made amendments to a number of Acts, including the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, and enacted PTSD Awareness Day. The Committee held two days of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause consideration on the Bill. On May 14, 2019, the Bill was reported back to the House as amended and received Royal Assent on May 29, 2019.
Standing Committee on Estimates
On May 14, 2019, the Standing Committee on Estimates met to select estimates of ministries and offices for review. The 2019-2020 Estimates of seven ministries were selected: the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Transportation; the Ministry of Infrastructure; the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. On June 4, 2019, the committee commenced its consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Standing Committee on General Government
The Standing Committee on General Government met for one day of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause consideration on Bill 87, An Act to amend various statutes related to energy. The Bill was reported back to the House with certain amendments on April 30, and later received Third Reading and Royal Assent. The Bill includes changes to the Ontario Energy Board’s governance structure and operations, and amends the financing of the Fair Hydro Plan Act, 2017.
The Committee next considered Bill 107, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and various other statutes in respect of transportation-related matters. Among other initiatives, the Bill updates various road safety rules, and gives the province the authority to upload responsibility for new rapid transit projects or expansions in the City of Toronto. It also allows the government to upload city assets related to these types of transit projects. Following two days of public hearings and one day of clause-by-clause consideration, the Committee reported Bill 107 back to the House without amendments. It then went on to pass Third Reading and receive Royal Assent.
Standing Committee on Justice Policy
On March 19, 2019, Nathalie Des Rosiers (MPP for Ottawa-Vanier) filed a notice of motion pursuant to Standing Order 126. In accordance with this Standing Order, once in each session a permanent member of the Committee may propose that the Committee study and report on a matter or matters relating to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries and offices assigned to the Committee. The Committee met on March 28, 2019, to debate the motion relating to the processes by which the Ministry of Committee Safety and Correctional Services selects the heads of its responsible police agencies. Pursuant to Standing Order 126, the debate was limited to 30-minutes, after which time the Committee voted down the motion.
The Committee met to consider Bill 108, An Act to amend various statutes with respect to housing, other development and various other matters. The Committee met on May 31, 2019 for one day of public hearings, followed by one day of clause-by-clause consideration on June 3, 2019. The Committee reported the Bill back to the House the following day, as amended. Once reported back, the bill was immediately ordered for Third Reading pursuant to an Order of the House. The Bill went on to receive Royal Assent on June 6, 2019.
Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly
The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly met pursuant to its permanent mandate, to continue its consideration of the Assembly’s television broadcast system and guidelines. The resulting report was tabled on April 29, 2019.
Standing Committee on Public Accounts
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts invited officials from the Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx to appear at public hearings on the Metrolinx (Section 3.07) portion of the 2018 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario. The Committee also invited officials from the Treasury Board Secretariat and Communications branch of the Cabinet Office to appear at public hearings on the Review of Government Advertising (Chapter 4) portion of the same report.
The Committee held several in camera sessions dedicated to report writing on the following topics from the Auditor’s 2017 Annual Report: Real Estate Services (Section 3.11); Public Health: Chronic Disease Prevention (Section 3.10); and Cancer Treatment Services (Section 3.02).
The committee also held in camera report-writing meetings related to the following topics from the Auditor’s 2018 Annual Report: Public Accounts of the Province (Chapter 2); and Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment Project, Section 3.02).
Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills
The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills considered five private bills in the spring, which all received Royal Assent on June 6, 2019.
Standing Committee on Social Policy
The Standing Committee on Social Policy met to consider Bill 74, An Act concerning the provision of health care, continuing Ontario Health and making consequential and related amendments and repeals. Following two days of public hearings and two days of clause-by-clause consideration, the Committee reported the bill back to the House with certain amendments. Once reported back, the bill was immediately ordered for Third Reading pursuant to an Order of the House. Among other objectives, the bill set the legislative framework necessary to integrate multiple existing provincial agencies into a single health agency, called “Ontario Health”.
Provincial General Election
A general election was held in Alberta on April 16, 2019. The United Conservative Party secured 63 of the 87 seats in the Assembly, while the New Democratic Party won the remaining 24 seats to form the Official Opposition. Overall voter turnout was 64 per cent, which is the highest for a provincial election in Alberta since 1982. In total, over 1.9 million Albertans voted and 36.7 per cent of these voters cast their ballot at advance polls, which is the highest advance voter turnout experienced in any Canadian jurisdiction. Of the advance voters, 31.8 per cent used the new “Vote Anywhere” option, which enabled voters to receive the ballot for their electoral division from any advance polling location in the province.
The Legislative Assembly Office (LAO) provided a two-day administrative orientation to new Members on April 24 and 25, 2019. Prior to the orientation new Members were given access to a secure online portal which permitted them to access employment forms and details regarding available information technology equipment and services. All participating Members left the first day of the orientation with a security pass, mobile devices, laptops and active information technology accounts. The orientation also featured an information fair, hosted by all branches of the LAO, and presentations from LAO management on subjects including security, benefits and remuneration, as well as other support services available to Members. A former Member and his spouse made a presentation on “Life as an MLA”, which was well received.
Less than a month later, to prepare for the beginning of the First Session, procedural orientations were offered to the new Members of each caucus. Hosted by the Table Officers, these half day sessions included a presentation and briefing materials, and concluded with a session focused on the responsibilities and limits on Members as Notaries Public and Commissioners for Oaths under the Notaries and Commissioners Act.
On April 30, 2019, Premier Jason Kenney, MLA (Calgary-Lougheed) and the 22 other members of his cabinet were sworn in. Shortly after the ceremony, cabinet held its first meeting and proclaimed Bill 12, Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, but did not utilize its provisions. This legislation, passed in the spring of 2018, empowers the Minister of Energy to require energy exporters to obtain a licence and meet a variety of terms and conditions prior to sending products such as natural gas, crude oil or refined fuel out of the province. The Attorney General of British Columbia has filed a Statement of Claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench challenging the constitutional validity of the legislation as well as a claim in Federal Court in the event that the Attorney General of British Columbia is found not to have standing to proceed with the claim in Alberta.
Fourteenth Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
On May 21, 2019, Nathan Cooper, MLA (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills), was elected by his peers to serve as the 14th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on May 5, 2015, Mr. Cooper is serving his second term as an MLA. Angela Pitt, MLA (Airdrie-East), also in her second term, was elected to serve as Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees and Nicholas Milliken, MLA (Calgary-Currie), a new Member, was elected as Deputy Chair of Committees. This is the first time since the addition of the position of Deputy Chair of Committees in 1979 that all of the presiding officers of the Assembly are under 40 years of age.
First Session of the 30th Legislature
On May 22, 2019, Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Alberta delivered the Speech from the Throne presenting the Government’s plans to eliminate the provincial carbon levy, amend workers’ rights, create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Later that afternoon Bill 1, An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax, received First Reading. The Bill then made its way through the legislative process, without amendment, in fewer than two weeks. It received Royal Assent on June 4, 2019.
Amendments to the Standing Orders
Significant amendments were made to the Standing Orders effective May 30, 2019. Under the amended Orders banging on desks is prohibited, Introduction of Guests is now done by the Speaker, and Members are permitted to abstain from voting.
Changes have also been made to committee business, including the requirement for all the Legislative Policy Committees, and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, to appoint a subcommittee on committee business during the first meeting of the Legislature. In addition, the Standing Committee on Private Bills has become the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills. All Private Members’ Public Bills now stand referred to the new committee following first reading and the Committee must report back to the Assembly within eight sitting days with a recommendation of whether a Bill should proceed.
Filibusters and Time Allocation
Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business proposed changes to rules around union certification and related labour matters, reducing the rate at which time off with pay instead of overtime pay must be provided under an overtime agreement, and changing eligibility rules for holiday pay. In relation to the changes introduced by the Bill, the Government also advised that it planned to create a reduced minimum wage rate for youth. On June 5, 2019, the evening session began at 7:30 p.m. During the debate on Second Reading of Bill 2 members of the Official Opposition spoke at length and in the end, the Assembly set a new record for its longest continuous sitting after deliberating continuously for 24 hours and 13 minutes.
On June 13, 2019, Bill 9, Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act was introduced in the Assembly. The Bill proposed a delay of binding wage arbitration with public sector unions, regardless of contract provisions, until after October 2019. The Official Opposition objected to the Bill arguing that it was unconstitutional. A recorded vote on the Bill was requested on First Reading, which was carried. Debate on Second Reading began on the evening of June 17, 2019, at which time the Government House Leader, Jason Nixon, MLA (Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre), moved the previous question, and lasted until almost 3:00 a.m. On June 19, 2019, Mr. Nixon introduced time allocation motions, which were carried, limiting the remaining debate time on the Bill to six hours of Committee of the Whole consideration and two hours at Third Reading. Bill 9 passed Third Reading on division following an all-night sitting on June 19. A number of unions, including the United Nurses of Alberta, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, have announced they will challenge the new legislation in court.
Despite the already long hours of the previous weeks, the Assembly continued to sit for long periods following the July long weekend. On July 3, 2019, the Assembly deliberated on a number of matters, including: Bill 13, Senate Election Act, which would provide Albertans the opportunity to select individuals whose names would then be put forward to the Prime Minister to be considered for appointment to the Senate; Bill 12, Royalty Guarantee Act, which proposes to provide more stability for the oil and gas sector by maintaining the legislative framework for hydrocarbon royalties; Bill 2, An Act to make Alberta Open for Business; and Bill 8, Education Amendment Act, 2019, which would make amendments to the unproclaimed Education Act, including amending the coming into force date to September 2019. The Official Opposition raised concerns that protections for Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in schools and the students who are involved in them that are currently in place were not carried over to the Education Act and would no longer exist on the repeal of the School Act. The evening sitting on July 3, 2019, began at 7:30 p.m. and continued until 11:50 a.m. on July 5, 2019. Having sat without interruption for a full 40 hours and 20 minutes, the Assembly significantly surpassed the previous record for longest continuous sitting which had been set just weeks earlier, on June 5, 2019.
The business for the spring session is now concluded and the Assembly is adjourned until October 22, 2019.
Ninth Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
On May 24, 2019, Speaker Cooper announced that, effective immediately, Shannon Dean, formerly the Law Clerk and Executive Director of House Services, had been appointed as the ninth Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. In his announcement Speaker Cooper noted, “Ms. Dean is eminently qualified to lead the Legislative Assembly Office and I am honoured to appoint her as the first female clerk in Alberta’s history.”
The Assembly adjourned the third session of the twenty-eighth legislature on May 16, 2019 until October 23, 2019. Prior to adjournment, the Assembly considered the estimates of ministries, agencies, and Crown corporations for nearly 72 hours and passed 38 pieces of legislation in the spring sitting.
Of notable mention, the government and opposition found common cause to give quick passage to Bill No. 172, The Saskatchewan Employment Act (Paid Interpersonal Violence and Sexual Violence Leave) Amendment Act, 2019. The new act provides leave of five employer-paid days and five unpaid days in a 52-week period for victims of interpersonal and sexual violence.
Change in the Opposition Leadership Loles
On June 11, 2019 the Leader of the Opposition, Ryan Meili, announced changes to the opposition house leadership team. Nicole Sarauer, was appointed as the new Deputy Leader. Cathy Sproule replaces Ms. Sarauer as the House Leader and Vicki Mowat replaces Warren McCall as the Deputy House Leader.
The Saskatchewan Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association participated in an interparliamentary exchange program with the Parliament of Western Australia. A delegation from Western Australia visited Saskatchewan from April 15 to 27, 2019. The delegation consisted of two Members of the Legislative Council, one Member of the Legislative Assembly, one Clerk from the Legislative Council, and one Clerk from the Legislative Assembly.
During the first week, the delegation observed proceedings of the Legislative Assembly and its committees. During the second week, the Western Australian members accompanied Saskatchewan MLAs into their constituencies and focused on their special interest areas while the Western Australian Clerks remained in Regina to receive briefings from the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly Service.
National Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration and Treaty 4 Flag Raising
On June 21, 2019, National Indigenous Peoples Day, an event was held at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. The Legislative Building, located in Regina, is situated in Treaty 4 territory the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Lakota, and Dakota peoples. As part of the celebration the Treaty 4 flag was raised on the ceremonial flagpole in front of the building.
The event included a pipe ceremony, the singing of the Treaty 4 Flag Song by the Starblanket Junior Drum Group, comments from many special guests, as well as keynote address by Elder Larry Oakes, son of the late Gordon Oakes, the designer of the Treaty 4 flag.
On June 21, Governor General Julie Payette granted Royal Assent in a traditional ceremony that was broadcast on television for the first time from the Senate of Canada Building. There had previously been written declarations of Royal Assent on April 11, April 30 and May 27.
A total of 26 bills received Royal Assent during this quarter, including one Senate government bill, one Senate private bill, one Senate public bill, 22 House of Commons government bills and one House of Commons public bill. Full details about proceedings on bills are available through LEGISinfo at www.sencanada.ca.
The trend of increased messages between the houses concerning amendments to bills has persisted throughout this quarter; some of the messages, such as those concerning Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, have been extremely complex and lengthy. In these cases, all involving government legislation, the House of Commons either disagreed with Senate amendments, or accepted certain amendments, sometimes with changes, and disagreed with others. Ultimately, the Senate did not insist on its amendments and responded accordingly in its messages.
Chamber, Procedure and Speaker’s Rulings
There were numerous points of order and questions of privilege raised during this quarter and the Speaker delivered 13 rulings. Many of the points of order dealt with unparliamentary language. The Speaker emphasized that senators should exercise caution and not impute motives to other individuals during debate.
A number of points of order and questions of privilege had to do with the use of social media. Points of order were raised to address language in social media, which was also the subject of a question of privilege. Another question of privilege addressed a leak of a political agreement on social media. When addressing the points of order, the Speaker urged senators to evaluate their tweets before posting them and consider whether they reflect poorly on the chamber. When ruling on May 2 about the posting of a political agreement on social media, the Speaker determined that a prima facie question of privilege was not established, since the agreement in question did not qualify as a matter that directly concerned the privileges of the Senate, any of its committees or any senator. The Speaker took the opportunity to, once again, underline the need “…for all senators to reflect on the need for prudence when using the powerful tools that social media place at our disposal… While these tools help us highlight the important work of the Senate, we should not ignore their potential pitfalls.”
On two separate points of order, the receivability of certain amendments were brought into question. On March 19, a point of order was raised by Senator Don Plett with respect to the receivability of an amendment moved by Senator Peter Harder to a motion to authorize the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to examine and report on allegations to pressure the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. The Speaker ruled the amendment to be out of order on the basis that “…the amendment proposes to remove the core of the original proposal. As such, it removes the proposed path, without proposing any other action by the Senate, which is simply asked to acknowledge facts. Replacing a proposal for Senate action with a simple recognition of facts is a major change in the basic goal of the motion.”
On May 15, Senator Pierrette Ringuette raised a point of order on the receivability of an amendment to a motion seekingto establish a Special Senate Committee on Prosecutorial Independence. The amendment, moved by Senator Plett, proposed that the study instead be conducted by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. In this instance, the Speaker ruled the amendment to be in order and quoted a previous ruling on February 24, 2009 as the basis for his ruling: “[i]n situations where the analysis is ambiguous, several Senate Speakers have expressed a preference for presuming a matter to be in order, unless and until the contrary position is established. This bias in favour of allowing debate, except where a matter is clearly out of order, is fundamental to maintaining the Senate’s role as a chamber of discussion and reflection.”
On April 22, Senator Ghislain Maltais retired from the Senate. Senator Maltais was a Liberal Member of the National Assembly of Québec from 1983 to 1994, where he served as parliamentary assistant to the environment and wildlife minister, as well as the forestry minister. He was appointed to the Senate on January 6, 2012 and served on several committees during his tenure in the Upper Chamber, most notably as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.
Fifty-six committee reports were tabled or presented during this period and 19 committee reports were adopted by the Senate.
Of particular note, two reports on bills were defeated, meaning that the bills proceeded to third reading without amendment. On May 7, the Senate rejected the twenty-first report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence on Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, with amendments and observations, presented on April 10. On June 6, the Senate also rejected the seventeenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast, presented on June 3, which had recommended that the bill not be proceeded with.
On April 30, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators, entitled Consideration of an Inquiry Report from the Senate Ethics Officer, was presented in the Senate. The report recommended the suspension of Senator Lynn Beyak, and was adopted on May 9. As a consequence, the senator was suspended for the duration of the current Parliament.
Philippe Hallée assumed the position of Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of the Senate on April 22, 2019.
House of Commons
This account covers the continuing First Session of the 42nd Parliament from April through to June 2019.
The following three bills of note received royal assent on June 21.
The House passed Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages, on May 9. It will establish a Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and will make official that “The Government of Canada recognizes that the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 include rights related to Indigenous languages.”
Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, having been introduced by the Minister of Indigenous Services, Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl) on February 28, was deemed to have passed the House on June 3. It affirms the rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in relation to child and family services and sets out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to Indigenous children, such as the best interests of the child, cultural continuity and substantive equality.
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale (Regina—Wascana) introduced Bill C-93, An Act to provide no-cost, expedited record suspensions for simple possession of cannabis, on March 1. It passed the House on June 9. It amends the Criminal Records Act to, among other things, allow persons who have been convicted under various acts of simple possession of cannabis offences committed before October 17, 2018, to apply for a record suspension without having to wait and without any fees.
On May 29, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (Papineau), introduced Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. It is intended to:
- implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, done at Buenos Aires on November 30, 2018;
- set out rules of interpretation;
- provide for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional and administrative aspects of the agreement; and
- amend acts to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the agreement.
The House referred it to the Standing Committee on International Trade on June 20.
On June 18, the eighth and final supply day in the period ending June 23, the House considered motions to concur in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. The government’s carbon tax policy and environmental plan was the opposition parties’ issue, and they gave notice of 382 opposed items. In the end, the opposition House leader, Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar), withdrew the notices and the House concurred in the Main Estimates and passed its accompanying supply bill.
Procedure and Privilege
Questions of Privilege
On April 4, the Speaker delivered his ruling on the question of privilege that Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby) had raised on March 18 that alleged that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, David Lametti (LaSalle—Émard—Verdun), and his parliamentary secretary, Arif Virani (Parkdale—High Park) had made statements intended to mislead the House about interference by the Prime Minister and his office in the work of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville). In ruling, the Speaker listed the three conditions required to find that a member deliberately misled the House: “one, it must be proven that the statement was misleading; two, it must be established that the member making the statement knew at the time that the statement was incorrect; and three, that in making the statement, the Member intended to mislead the House”. The Speaker said he had to rely on the information available, namely the statements made in the House by Messrs. Lametti and Virani. As matters stood, the Speaker ruled that he could not find that there had been a breach of privilege.
On April 8, the Deputy Speaker ruled on question of privilege raised on March 22, 2019, by John Nater (Perth—Wellington) concerning an apparent violation of section 49.8 of the Parliament of Canada Act because of the way that Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby) had left the caucus of the Liberal Party of Canada.
In ruling, the Deputy Speaker stressed that asking the House to deal with the possible expulsion of a member from caucus was not a proper subject for a question of privilege. If a member believes that the House needed to put in place certain practices, perhaps by way of additional Standing Orders, this should be done through a substantive motion following proper notice. The Chair had no role in the interpretation of statutes. All that was required under subsection 49.8(5) of the Act was that the Chair be informed of the results of any vote taken by a caucus to expel a member.
He concluded by stating that, as far as he knew, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes was not expelled, but had voluntarily withdrawn from the caucus to sit as an independent, and that, based on this understanding and these facts, there was no question of privilege.
On May 6, the Speaker ruled on a question of privilege raised on March 22 and April 4, by Erin O’Toole (Durham) concerning solicitor-client privilege in the context of parliamentary privilege. He alleged that the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (Papineau), used solicitor-client privilege inappropriately by only partially waiving the obligation of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Ms. Wilson-Raybould, in respect to the SNC-Lavalin affair. Stating that there has been confirmation that parliamentary privilege is absolute and supersedes solicitor-client privilege, he contended that without that full waiver of solicitor-client privilege, his own ability to fulfill both his individual and collective functions has been impeded. Rather than asking the Chair to find a prima facie case of privilege, the member asked the Chair to reaffirm that parliamentary privilege, being absolute, supersedes solicitor-client privilege. He also wanted the Speaker to invite the former attorney general to speak in the House, assuring her that she would not be subject to the constraints of solicitor-client privilege.
In his ruling, the Speaker affirmed that any member participating in the deliberations of the House and its committees was protected by the privilege of free speech; as were witnesses appearing before committees. Whether this accepted principle was somehow diminished or even overturned by solicitor-client privilege, the former attorney general had decided to respect that convention. The Chair was not in a position either to question or to pass judgment on her decision. The Chair was also limited in its authority to invite members to speak on particular issues. It was not for the Speaker to invite the former attorney general to speak, as Mr. O’Toole had suggested.
Points of Order
On May 9, Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland) rose on a point of order related to her motion no. 167 adopted by the House on May 30, 2018, which instructed the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to study rural crime in Canada and to “report its findings to the House within six months of the adoption of this motion.”
Ms. Stubbs pointed out that the committee had failed to meet the deadline that the House, that the six-month deadline for the committee to report was a limit established by the House, and the committee had, therefore, failed to comply with an order of the House. The Speaker took the matter under advisement. The Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood), responded that the language of the motion was not prescriptive, and stated that the Committee had been very busy, that there was significant disagreement in the committee as to the content of the report, and that events in the House had had disruptive effects on committee proceedings.
The Speaker ruled on May 16. He reminded the House that committee dynamics and challenges did not excuse a committee from its obligation to respect orders of the House and that, should difficulties arise in executing an order of the House, the committee should request an extension to a deadline it cannot meet by way of a report to the House.
As Mr. McKay had presented the report of the Committee earlier that day, the Speaker said he considered the matter closed. This was the first instance in which Standing Order 116(2), which creates an exception to the right for a Chair’s decision to be appealed to a committee, had been invoked since the House adopted the Standing Order in June 2017.
At the request of the Board of Internal Economy, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) examined “matters relating to the non-attendance of members by reason of maternity or care for a new-born or newly-adopted child,” as House by-laws made little allowance for the demands on new parents. PROC reported back with draft regulations, recommending that they be annexed to the House of Commons Members’ Sessional Allowance Regulations. The House concurred in the report on June 12. Thereby, each day a pregnant member does not attend a sitting of the House for four weeks before the expected birth of a child is a day of attendance at that sitting, and each day a member does not attend a sitting of the House to care for a new-born or a newly-adopted child is reckoned as a day of attendance of the member.
Statements by Ministers
On April 29, during Routine Proceedings, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland (University—Rosedale), paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks committed in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21. The Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu’Appelle), and the leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh (Burnaby South), responded. Luc Thériault (Montcalm) and Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) received unanimous consent to respond to the minister’s statement. The House had observed a moment of silence earlier in the sitting before Oral Questions.
On June 20, as the House began sitting, the House Leader of the Official Opposition, Ms. Bergen (Portage—Lisgar), rose on a point of order to inform the House that Mark Warawa (Langley—Aldergrove), had died. On this news, the House agreed by unanimous consent to go through Routine Proceedings and then to suspend the House until noon. On resuming its sitting, the House heard tributes from Ed Fast (Abbotsford), John Aldag (Cloverdale—Langley City), Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley), Mr. Thériault (Montcalm) and Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands). The Speaker spoke in tribute and called on the members to observe a moment of silence in honour of Mr. Warawa. The House then adjourned until September 16.
Andrew Bartholomew Chaplin
Table Research Branch
Proceedings of the National Assembly of Québec
At the request of Premier François Legault, the Assembly met for extraordinary sittings on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16, 2019. The purpose of these sittings was to finish examining the following two bills under closure: Bill 9, An Act to increase Québec’s socio-economic prosperity and adequately meet labour market needs through successful immigrant integration, and Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State. The bills were passed, respectively, by the following margins: Yeas 62, Nays 42, Abstentions 0; and Yeas 73, Nays 35, Abstentions 0.
Budget estimates and passage of Appropriation Act No. 2, 2019-2020
On April 9, 2019, the Budget Speech came to an end once voting on the Government’s budgetary policy, and on the motions stating a grievance with regard to it, had been completed. On May 7, 2019, after examination of the estimates in committee, the Assembly met in a Committee of the Whole to consider the Assembly’s estimates. On May 9, 2019, the appropriations for 2019-2020 were adopted and Appropriation Act No. 2, 2019-2020 was passed.
From April to June, 2019, the Assembly passed 16 bills, of which four were private bills. Seven of the bills—the four private ones and three others—were passed unanimously. Of all the bills passed during this time, the following are noteworthy:
Bill 1, An Act to amend the rules governing the appointment and dismissal of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, the Director General of the Sûreté du Québec and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions;
Bill 3, An Act to establish a single school tax rate;
Bill 6, An Act to transfer responsibility for the registry of lobbyists to the Lobbyists Commissioner and to implement the Charbonneau Commission recommendation on the prescription period for bringing penal proceedings;
Bill 7, An Act respecting certain terms of employment applicable to officers of the health and social services network;
Bill 10, An Act to amend the Pay Equity Act mainly to improve the pay equity audit process;
Bill 12, An Act to clarify the scope of the right to free education and to allow the regulation of certain financial contributions that may be required;
Bill 13, An Act to amend the Taxation Act, the Act respecting the Québec sales tax and other legislative provisions;
Bill 19, An Act to amend the Act respecting the conditions of employment and the pension plan of the Members of the National Assembly following the adoption of certain fiscal measures by the Parliament of Canada; and
Bill 26, An Act respecting the Réseau structurant de transport en commun de la Ville de Québec.
Ruling from the Chair
On May 29, 2019, the President issued a directive on a question raised by the Member for Chomedey as to whether parliamentary privileges applied to written questions—that is, to questions entered on the Order Paper and Notices. The President pointed out that it is up to the courts to determine the scope of a parliamentary privilege, though in defining a privilege they must show deference to the opinion of the Assembly’s presiding officers. However, the Chair consented to examine the matter in its capacity as guardian of the rights and privileges of the Assembly and its Members.
The Chair also noted that, in a democratic society, each branch of the State must play its role independently of the others. Legislative assemblies and their members thus enjoy parliamentary privileges which guarantee their autonomy and independence in the exercise of their legislative and deliberative functions, including that of holding the Government to account for its actions. The privilege of freedom of speech finds it origins in article 9 of the British Bill of Rights of 1689. However, along with the fundamental principle of freedom of speech, article 9 enshrines another such principle whereby the Assembly exercises control over its parliamentary proceedings and procedure. This privilege is also provided for in section 44 of the Act respecting the National Assembly. Freedom of speech protects the words spoken by Members in the course of parliamentary proceedings in the Assembly and in committee and the acts done by them in carrying out their parliamentary duties. This protection covers parliamentary deliberations and decisions made by the legislative assembly, but it also covers all acts enabling Members to participate in parliamentary proceedings.
Although, to date, the courts have never ruled on the specific case of written questions entered on the Order Paper and Notices, the Chair considered that it would be difficult to conceive of such questions not being protected by the privilege of freedom of speech. They are part of the procedures set out in the Standing Orders for Members to use in the exercise of their deliberative and government oversight roles.
Oral and written questions must therefore be seen as complementing each other. Questions asked during Question Period (Oral Questions and Answers) must relate to matters of urgent or topical public importance for which a minister or the Government is officially responsible. All other questions must be placed on the Order Paper. Under the Standing Orders, the rules pertaining to oral questions also apply to written questions. It was clear to the Chair that, for the Assembly and its Members to exercise the means of parliamentary oversight provided for in the Standing Orders fully and with dignity, written questions must be given the same protection as oral questions but must still comply with the rules of parliamentary debate, in particular Standing Order 35, which deals with unparliamentary language and words inadmissible in debate.
Inauguration of the New Reception Pavilion
On May 29, 2019, the new reception pavilion was inaugurated by National Assembly President François Paradis. With the three-year renovation and expansion project now complete, Parliament now has modern infrastructures that meet today’s needs.
As part of the official celebrations, the public was invited to visit the new pavilion beginning on June 1. Guests explored the new spaces, which feature more secure visitor reception areas that are better adapted to the growing number of visitors; a multifunctional educational room; an impressive agora for conferences and film screenings; and two new parliamentary committee rooms. Those who came also had the opportunity to take in the new visitor experience, which combines videos, exhibitions, educational content and works of art, and thus learn more about the National Assembly’s role and democracy in Québec.
Tenth Anniversary of the Student Page Internship Program
On June 7, 2019, the Assembly’s President underlined the 10th anniversary of the student page internship program. Members of all 10 cohorts from past years were present for the occasion. The program was created in 2009 under a partnership between Université Laval and the National Assembly. Since then, some 140 undergraduates have taken their place on the floor of the Assembly and in parliamentary committees to assist the Members in their day-to-day parliamentary tasks. In addition to being worth six university credits, the internship gives participants an opportunity to observe first-hand the political, legislative and parliamentary process, gain rich work experience, and familiarize themselves with the workings of Parliament and with the jobs available in Québec’s civil service. A number of the Assembly’s current employees are former pages.
Fifth Edition of the International Parliamentary Training Program
The 5th edition of the International Parliamentary Training Program (PIFP), an initiative of Université Laval’s Research Chair on Democracy and Parliamentary Institutions and the National Assembly, was held from June 10 to 21, 2019. The purpose of the sessions, which took place at both institutions, was to provide training on parliamentary administration and encourage sharing of sound administrative practices.
Here are some of the highlights of the various mandates carried out by the parliamentary committees in April–June, 2019.
Examination of Budget Estimates
The budget estimates were examined in parliamentary committee from April 15 to May 2, 2019. This is the part of the sessional period in which parliamentary committees debate and vote on the estimates for the portfolios of the departments and bodies that fall within their areas of competence. Ten consecutive sittings, totalling a maximum of 200 hours, are set aside for this exercise.
One of the bills whose clause-by-clause consideration was completed by mid-June was Bill 1, An Act to amend the rules governing the appointment and dismissal of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner, the Director General of the Sûreté du Québec and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, examined by the Committee on Institutions (CI). Bill 1 provides that the persons mentioned in its title will now be appointed by the National Assembly on a motion of the Premier and that their appointment must be approved by two-thirds of the Members of the National Assembly.
The CI also completed clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 19, An Act to amend the Act respecting the conditions of employment and the pension plan of the Members of the National Assembly following the adoption of certain fiscal measures by the Parliament of Canada. Under Bill 19, the new taxable status, for federal tax purposes, of the allowance each Member receives to reimburse expenses incurred in the exercise of his or her duties is to be taken into account in determining that allowance. Note that the bill was sponsored by the House leaders of the Government, the Official Opposition and the Third Opposition Group.
Over this period, the CI held special consultations and public hearings on Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State, which, in particular, prohibits certain persons in positions of authority, such as prosecutors, police officers, and public elementary and secondary school teachers and principals from wearing religious symbols while exercising their functions.1 During special consultations on the bill in May 2019, 28 individuals and organizations were heard and 92 briefs were received. Clause-by-clause consideration of the proposed legislation began on June 4, and the bill was passed under an exceptional legislative procedure on June 16, 2019. In addition, clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 9, An Act to increase Québec’s socio-economic prosperity and adequately meet labour needs through successful immigrant integration, was completed in a committee of the whole after a little over 55 hours in the Committee on Citizen Relations and the adoption of a motion to introduce an exceptional legislative procedure on June 15, 2019.
Select Committee on the Sexual Exploitation of Minors
On June 14, 2019, the Members of the National Assembly adopted a motion to establish the Select Committee on the Sexual Exploitation of Minors in Québec. Under Standing Order 178, select committees can be appointed to study specific matters. This new committee’s mandate is to create a portrait of the sexual exploitation of minors in Québec, including the consequences on the transition to adulthood and any other consideration that could inform the Committee members. The Committee must submit its report before the 2020 fall sessional period adjourns.
The Select Committee will be composed of 13 permanent members (seven Members from the parliamentary group forming the Government, one of whom is the Committee Chair; four Members from the Official Opposition, one of whom is the Committee Vice-Chair; one Member from the Second Opposition Group and one Member from the Third Opposition Group). The Committee Chair is Ian Lafrenière, Member for Vachon, and the Vice-Chair is Christine St-Pierre, Member for Acadie.
Order of Initiative
On April 9, 2019, the Committee on Transportation and the Environment (CTE) adopted an order of initiative on the issues of recycling and local recovery of glass. Note that, to initiate such proceedings, the majority of the committee members from each parliamentary group must vote in favour of the motion. Once the motion is carried, the committee organizes its work itself, which means that the time frame can vary. Public hearings to be held in August will help the CTE establish a portrait of the situation.
Two New Committee Rooms
The expansion of the Parliament Building has added two new committee rooms, the names of which were unveiled on April 16. The first is called the Marie-Claire-Kirkland Room, in honour of the first woman to be elected to the National Assembly, in 1961, and appointed minister, in 1962. The second is called the Pauline-Marois Room, in honour of the first woman to serve as Premier of Québec, in 2012. Committees began using the new committee rooms on June 4, 2019.
1 Press release online : http://www.fil-information.gouv.qc.ca/Pages/Article.aspx?aiguillage=ajd&type=1&idArticle=2703287339
General Directorate for Parliamentary Affairs, Sittings Service
General Directorate for Parliamentary Affairs, Committees Service