Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement of the prorogation of Parliament, many constituents have asked me what it all means.
The prorogation of Parliament ends a session. The principal effect of ending a session by prorogation is to end business. All government bills that have not received royal assent cease to exist and committee activity is stopped.
In order for government bills to proceed in the new session, they must be reintroduced as new bills or reinstated with the approval of the House.
There are a number of important pieces of legislation that will be lost because of the prime minister’s decision, including the Clean Air and Climate Change Act, which has taken months of work in committee to amend to make it a valuable tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put Canada’s industrial emitters on a carbon budget.
Other items of note that have been lost are:
•a bill to provide matrimonial property rights to aboriginal women;
•a private member’s bill that would require the government to implement the 2005 Kelowna Accord; and
•numerous justice bills to amend the Criminal Code on issues of mandatory minimum sentences, age of consent, and dangerous offenders.
The standing orders provide for the automatic reinstatement of private member’s bills in a new session. That means my motion regarding the need for a “Buy Canada” policy for public transportation projects will remain on the schedule for upcoming business.
Now we wait for the start of the second session of the 39th Parliament, which will begin with a Speech from the Throne on Oct. 16.
It is my hope that the throne speech will reflect the interest of Canadians by addressing the challenges facing Canada’s economy, particularly on issues in the manufacturing sector; by setting out a plan to combat poverty; and by committing to reintroduce the amended Clean Air Act, which is the best tool Canadians have to effectively protect the environment and fight the effects of climate change.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Harper must work to regain the trust of Canadians by honouring the federal court ruling on the Canadian Wheat Board; by explaining his broken promises on equalization; and by opening his party’s books to public scrutiny in light of the very troubling revelations about an alleged in-and-out scheme being investigated by Elections Canada.
The ball is in your court Prime Minister Harper—please don’t disappoint Canadians yet again.