Fifth Session of the 42nd Legislature
The Fifth Session of the 42nd Legislature commenced on November 15, 2022 with the first Speech from the Throne delivered by Anita Neville, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. An Indigenous drummer once again played an Honour Song while the Lieutenant Governor and the official party entered the Chamber, a ceremony initiated during the Speech from the Throne from the Fourth Session in 2021.
The address outlined a series of initiatives to be implemented in order to strengthen the province’s health-care infrastructure and to take aim at violent criminal behaviour while supporting efforts to tackle mental health, homelessness and addiction issues and identified the following priorities and commitments:
Helping Make Our Communities Safer
Helping Families Make Ends Meet
Strengthening Health Care and Reducing Surgical and Diagnostic Backlogs
Helping Make Manitoba More Competitive
Helping Protect Our Environment, Climate and Parks
Helping Build Stronger Communities
During his contribution to the Throne Speech debate on November 17, Wab Kinew, the Leader of the Official Opposition, moved a motion expressing non-confidence in the Government. He highlighted several areas he believed the Government failed to address in the Speech from the Throne, including:
refusing to reverse its cuts to public health care and instead pushing through further privatization of Manitoba’s public health care system, bringing the province closer to a costlier and inequitable American-style two-tier health care system;
failing to address the current health care crisis in Manitoba that is putting intense strain on front line health care workers and patients waiting in pain in emergency rooms, especially in pediatric facilities such as the Health Science Centre’s Children’s Hospital;
continuing to cut northern healthcare and mental health services in the north;
failing to fill widespread staff vacancies in homecare so that seniors and vulnerable Manitobans have access to quality and timely care;
refusing to call an independent public inquiry into Manitoba’s pandemic response to learn from its mistakes and bring forward changes to improve the lives of Manitoba families and strengthen the health care system;
continuing to cut and underfund K-12 education in Manitoba as class sizes keep increasing, while offering no real plans to support adult education; and
refusing to address the addictions crisis by failing to provide investments into harm reduction initiatives including safe consumption sites.
Later in the debate, Independent Liberal Member Dougald Lamont (Leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party) moved a sub-amendment criticizing the Provincial Government on numerous items including its failure to:
recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over and that for many people, businesses and organizations, life and work now is harder than at any point during the pandemic;
apologize to nurses for forcing them to endure impossible working conditions which include not ending mandatory overtime or providing them and other health care workers coverage for burnout, as requested by the Manitoba Nurses’ Union, which is driving nurses from the system;
accept responsibility for its own role in creating a health care crisis by cutting and freezing actual health spending, and forcing the closure of clinics;
commit to equity in federal health care funding for Canadian Health Transfers, which would see an immediate improvement in Manitoba’s health funding if it were calculated based on need, instead of on the current, grossly unfair per capita formula;
take action to create an independent, non-partisan Senior’s Advocate to assist in creating policies and recommendations on issues that have been ignored for decades under previous governments; and
articulate a plan to increase Manitoba’s economic self-reliance, choosing instead to focus on Manitoba as a “Branch Plant Economy” where Manitobans will toil for owners and investors, with the result that all profits will be located outside the province.
On November 24, the sub-amendment was defeated on division. Subsequently, Mr. Kinew’s amendment was defeated on a recorded vote of yeas 21, nays 33, while the main motion carried on a recorded vote of yeas 33, nays 21.
The Fall Sittings period concluded on December 1, 2022 with Royal Assent being granted to the following three Government and two Private Member Bills:
Bill No. 3 – The Vital Statistics Amendment Act (Name Registration) amends how a name may be expressed under The Vital Statistics Act. In accordance with a person’s traditional culture, a person may be registered under a single name instead of having both a given name and a surname. A validated registration now includes a letter or typographical symbol.
Bill No. 4 – The Minimum Wage Adjustment Act, 2022 (Employment Standards Code Amended) amends The Employment Standards Code to set the minimum wage at $14.15, effective April 1, 2023.
Bill No. 5 – The Demise of the Crown Act (Various Acts Amended) amends several statutes to deal with the demise of the Crown. The chief legislative counsel now has a revision power to make changes to other Acts and regulations to reflect the change of sovereign.
Bill No. 200 – The Black History Month Act (Commemoration of Days, Weeks and Months Act Amended) amends The Commemoration of Days, Weeks and Months Act so that February of each year is proclaimed as Black History Month.
Bill No. 213 – The Animal Care Amendment Act amends The Animal Care Act to prohibit leaving a companion animal, such as a dog, in an unattended vehicle if the temperature in the vehicle is dangerously hot or cold for the animal. If the exterior temperature is more than 22 degrees C or less than -10 degrees C, it is presumed that the temperature inside the vehicle is dangerous for the animal.
The Assembly is scheduled to resume sitting on March 1, 2023.
Sessional Order Extension
On December 1, the Assembly extended the Sessional Order which allowed for virtual hybrid sittings of the House and Committees until June 1, 2023. The Sessional Order was also amended by deleting a provision regarding Standing Committee membership to reflect a recent Rule change that allows House Leaders to determine the size and composition of Committees.
HTML Version of the Rule Book
In addition to the PDF version of the Rules, which is a precise reproduction of the hard copy version, an HTML version of the Rule Book is now included on the Legislative Assembly website. The HTML version is easier to navigate as it shows the Table of Contents on the left side of the screen, with links to other sections. Although there are plans to expand the link selections in the future, this innovation has already created a more interactive and navigable version of the Rule Book.
The HTML version can be accessed at:
Online Committee Registration Form
Partly inspired by requests from the public for such a service, a brand new tool is now available which allows members of the public to register online to speak to a bill at committee. This tool allows people to go to a link on the Assembly website, answer some questions and provide some information, and then the registrant will automatically appear in our presenter database. From there the information would be used to create presenters’ lists and other documents essential to committee work, as well as provide information for Hansard, Committee Reports, Committee Clerks’ notes, and so on. Presenters may also use this tool to indicate if they are appearing virtually or in person, to indicate if they require translation services, and to provide written submissions.
During the Fall Sittings of the House, the Standing Committees on Social and Economic Development met to complete clause-by-clause consideration of Bills 3, 4, 5 and 213 while the Committee of the Whole met to complete consideration of Bill 200.
The Standing Committee on Crown Corporations met on five occasions in December and January to consider the 2022 Annual Reports of the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, Efficiency Manitoba, Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation and the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board respectively. The Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs also met in December and January to consider Annual Reports of Elections Manitoba and the Advocate for Children and Youth respectively.
New Member for Kirkfield Park
On December 13, 2022 voters of the constituency of Kirkfield Park, in Winnipeg, elected Manitoba Progressive Conservative Kevin Klein as their MLA, filling a seat left vacant due to the resignation of former Progressive Conservative Member Scott Fielding. Mr. Klein had previously served four years as a Winnipeg city councillor.
With an election expected this Fall and a number of Government Members having indicated they will not stand for re-election, on January 30, Premier Heather Stefanson presented a new Cabinet with four new faces while several Ministers have been assigned new duties:
Cliff Cullen, continues as Deputy Premier and assumes the role of Minister of Finance;
Jeff Wharton, previously Minister of Environment, Climate and Parks is the new Minister of Economic Development, Investment and Trade;
Jon Reyes, previously Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration is now the Minister for the newly established Department of Labour and Immigration;
Eileen Clarke, becomes Minister in a role she served previously, once again assuming the role of Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations;
Sarah Guillemard, former Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness is now the Minister of the reframed Department of Advanced Education and Training; and
Andrew Smith, former Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, is the new Minister of the Department of Municipal Relations but still retains responsibility for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
The new ministers are:
Janice Morley-Lecomte, who joins as Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness having served previously as Government Whip;
James Teitsma becomes Minister of the newly framed Department of Consumer Protection and Government Services having recently served as Vice-Chair of Public Accounts;
Obby Khan is now the Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage and becomes the first Muslim Minister in the history of the province; and
Kevin Klein, recently elected in a by-election as mentioned above, becomes Minister of the refreshed Department of Environment and Climate Change.
Research Officer / Clerk Assistant
United Conservative Party (UC) Leadership Contest
On October 6 Danielle Smith, former MLA and former leader of the Wildrose Party, won the leadership contest for the United Conservative (UC) Party with over 50 per cent of the vote on the sixth ballot. She replaces Jason Kenney as leader of the party. Ms. Smith, who did not hold a seat in the Legislative Assembly at the time, was sworn in as Alberta’s 19th Premier on October 11, 2022.
A new cabinet, appointed by Premier Smith, was sworn in on October 24. The 27-member cabinet includes Premier Smith, who also oversees the Intergovernmental Relations portfolio, two ministers without portfolio and two Deputy Premiers. Premier Smith also assigned parliamentary secretary roles to 12 Private Members.
Following her victory in the UC leadership contest, Premier Smith announced her candidacy in a by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat after the resignation of former MLA Michaela Frey. Smith also indicated that there would be no by-election held to fill the vacant seat for Calgary-Elbow or any other constituency for the remainder of the Legislature. Under Alberta’s law on fixed election dates a general election is scheduled to occur on May 29, 2023.
On November 8 Premier Smith secured a seat in the Legislative Assembly after winning the by-election in Brooks-Medicine Hat with approximately 54 per cent of the votes cast. She was sworn in as an MLA on November 29.
Other Membership Changes
On October 6 Ms. Frey (formerly Glasgo) resigned as the Member for Brooks-Medicine Hat. The following day Todd Loewen, MLA, who had left the UC caucus in May, was invited to return to that caucus.
On November 29, the day of the throne speech, Jason Kenney announced that he would be resigning as the Member for Calgary-Lougheed.
The current composition of the Assembly is 60 members of the UC, 23 members of the New Democratic Party and two independent Members. There are also two vacant seats.
Fourth Session of the 30th Legislature
The Session did not resume on October 31 as originally scheduled because the Third Session of the 30th Legislature was prorogued on October 30. The Fourth Session of the 30th Legislature began on November 29, 2022, with the Speech from the Throne. The speech focused on economic issues such as jobs and inflation, access to health care, and the province’s relationship with the federal government.
Following the Speech from the Throne, Premier Smith moved First Reading of Bill 1, Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act. While the voice vote indicated that the motion carried, a number of Members took the uncommon measure of calling for a division on First Reading. The motion carried with the support of 54 UC MLAs and independent Member Drew Barnes (Cypress-Medicine Hat).
The Bill provides a framework for the provincial government to take certain actions following the passage of a motion by the Legislative Assembly expressing its opinion that a federal initiative is unconstitutional. Federal initiatives are defined to include existing or proposed federal laws, programs, policies, agreements or actions. The process is commenced by a member of Executive Council moving a motion in the Legislative Assembly that states that a federal initiative is unconstitutional on the basis that it interferes in an area of provincial legislative jurisdiction, violates the rights of Albertans under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or that it causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans as a result of such interference or violation. The motion must also identify measures that the provincial government should consider in response to the federal initiative.
If the Legislative Assembly passes the motion, the provincial government is empowered to suspend or modify the application or operation of all or part of a regulation, direct a Minister to exercise a specific power, duty or function under an enactment, or issue a directive to a provincial entity. Provincial entities include regional health authorities, public post-secondary institutions, school boards, municipalities, police services and entities that receive grants or other public funds from the provincial government. The authority under the Act continues for 2 years from the date the motion is passed or the date the motion is rescinded by the Legislative Assembly, whichever occurs first. The provincial government is also permitted to extend its powers by order for one additional 2-year term. Individuals and private businesses are not subject to the Act.
Motions for time allocation were passed for deliberations on Bill 1 at Second Reading, Committee of the Whole and Third Reading. The Bill received Royal Assent on the final day of session, December 15. The chiefs of treaties 6, 7 and 8 First Nations have raised concerns regarding the Act. On December 19 the Onion Lake Cree Nation, a Treaty 6 First Nation, launched legal action against the legislation, saying that it infringes upon treaty rights.
Bill 2, Inflation Relief Statutes Amendment Act, 2022, was introduced by Matt Jones, MLA and Minister of Affordability and Utilities, on December 7. Intended to provide relief for Albertans from record-high inflation, the Bill proposed, among other things, to control utility costs during the winter, initiate the reindexing of personal income taxes and benefit programs and extend the full provincial fuel tax for an additional six months.
The Bill received Royal Assent on December 15, and while many details remain unknown, some affordability initiatives introduced by the government include monthly payments of $100 to seniors and families with children who have an income below $180,000 and a natural gas rebate program that takes effect when the price reaches $6.50/gigajoule.
The Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund held its annual public meeting on the evening of October 27. Seating in the public gallery was reopened for in-person attendance, and public participants wishing to connect to the meeting remotely could do so by telephone, or they could submit questions via e-mail, web form, Facebook or Twitter.
On November 30 the Assembly passed Government Motion 7, which deemed the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship to be the special committee of the Assembly for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive review of the Conflicts of Interest Act. On December 21 the Committee met and requested technical briefings from the office of the Ethics Commissioner and the Ministry of Justice and directed staff to prepare briefing materials.
On December 5 the Select Special Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner Search Committee completed its mandate and recommended to the Assembly that Kevin Brezinski be appointed to the positions of Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner. The Assembly agreed with the recommendation, and an Order in Council was issued appointing Mr. Brezinski to both roles as of December 30, 2022. Mr. Brezinski is a 30-year veteran of the Edmonton Police Service, which included service as the senior officer in charge of the Professional Standards Branch.
On December 14 the Assembly referred consideration of the 2019-2021 Annual Report of the Property Rights Advocate to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future for review. After receiving a presentation from the Advocate on January 10, 2023, the Committee completed its review of the report and made no recommendations. At the same meeting the Committee also received technical briefings from the Ministry of Technology and Innovation and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner as part of its ongoing review of the Personal Information Protection Act.
Also, on December 14 the Assembly referred the 2021-2022 annual report of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate to the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices for review. The Committee has 90 days to report back to the Assembly. On January 16, 2023, it met with the Advocate and began its review process..
Fall Sitting Period
The Third Session of the 42nd Parliament resumed on October 3, with the Sessional Order adopted on February 8 enabling the continuation of hybrid proceedings remaining in effect. Pursuant to a March 7 Sessional Order which enables certain proceedings in the House to be undertaken in up to three sections, a second section of the House was used beginning on October 31 for committee stage consideration of public bills. On November 3, the Legislative Assembly adopted a motion which adjourned the House until November 21, thereby cancelling four sitting days that had been scheduled for the week of November 14 due to the transition to the new government led by Premier David Eby.
The March 7 Sessional Order was amended on November 21 to authorize a third section of the House to also consider public bills at committee stage (this section was previously only authorized to examine Estimates); the third section was subsequently used during the final week of the Fall Sitting period. Also on November 21, the Assembly adopted a motion to extend its sitting hours for the remainder of the final week of the fall sitting period with the adjournment time extended from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the Monday and Tuesday afternoon sittings and extended from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the Wednesday afternoon sitting. During the same week, the Assembly adopted two additional motions to apply time allocation to the remaining bills awaiting various stages of consideration.
The House adjourned on November 24 and was expected to resume on February 6, 2023 with the anticipated prorogation of the Third Session of the 42nd Parliament in the morning and the opening of the Fourth Session with the Speech from the Throne in the afternoon.
New Premier and Executive Council
As noted in the previous edition of this publication, in June 2022, Premier John Horgan announced that he would step down as Premier after a new leader was elected for the BC NDP. Mr. Eby, MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey and former Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, was acclaimed leader on October 21 and became Premier-designate. Premier Eby was sworn in as the 37th Premier of British Columbia by the Lieutenant Governor, Janet Austin, on November 18 at a ceremony at the Musqueam Community Centre in Vancouver; his first day in the House as Premier was November 21.
A new cabinet was sworn in by the Lieutenant Governor at Government House in Victoria on December 7. The cabinet is comprised of 24 ministers and four ministers of state, including two new ministerial positions for a standalone Ministry of Housing and a Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. Nine of the cabinet ministers are new appointees or were promoted from parliamentary secretary positions. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, was also appointed Government House Leader, succeeding Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
In total, 19 bills received Royal Assent during the fall sitting period, including:
Bill 36, Health Professions and Occupations Act – creates a new oversight body and complaints process, streamlines designations and reduces the number of regulatory colleges through amalgamation, better addresses sexual misconduct and abuse, and discrimination to enable the delivery of culturally safe health care.
Bill 38, Indigenous Self-Government in Child and Family Services Amendment Act – reduces barriers to Indigenous jurisdiction over Indigenous child and family services in British Columbia and allows for the creation of a new Indigenous child welfare director within the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Bill 43, Housing Supply Act – streamlines the approval process for housing developments and gives the province the power to set municipal targets for affordable housing.
Bill 44, Building and Strata Statutes Amendment Act, 2022 – removes most age-based restrictions on strata housing rentals, with exceptions for seniors homes, and eliminates the ability of strata corporations to have rental restriction bylaws, including short-term rentals.
The Select Standing Committee on Health released its report titled Closing Gaps, Reducing Barriers: Expanding the Response to the Toxic Drug and Overdose Crisis on November 1 with 37 recommendations to address the illicit drug toxicity and overdose crisis. The recommendations focus on ramping up current government supports and services and the provision of significant investments across a continuum of care. The Committee heard 118 presentations and received 881 written submissions during its public consultation.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its Annual Review of the Budgets of Statutory Offices on December 8 with the Committee’s recommendations for the budgets of each statutory office for fiscal years 2023-24 to 2025-26, as well as supplementary funding requests from Elections BC for the current fiscal year. The Committee generally supported budget lifts to address expanded mandates and increased workloads and also looked for opportunities to adjust overall expenditures in other areas, given challenges presented by current economic conditions.
The Special Committee to Appoint a Merit Commissioner released its report on December 12 with a unanimous recommendation to appoint David McCoy as Merit Commissioner for a three-year term. The Committee’s report is expected to be presented to the Legislative Assembly when it resumes in 2023.
Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC)
The Legislative Assembly’s Accountability Report 2021-22 was released on November 28. The report outlines the decisions of LAMC and summarizes key activities of the Legislative Assembly Administration during the 2021-22 fiscal year, including measures to respond to the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and sustain House proceedings and other Assembly functions.
At its December 13 meeting, LAMC undertook initial consideration of the 2023-24 Legislative Assembly budget submission (Vote 1) which is closely tied to the goals, objectives, and key priorities identified in the Legislative Assembly Administration Strategic Plan 2022-23 to 2024-25. Committee Members agreed to direct Assembly staff to withhold the administration of the statutory increase to the Members’ basic compensation scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2023 until such time that a statutory change in this regard may be brought forward for the Legislative Assembly’s consideration. It is anticipated that LAMC will conclude its consideration of the 2023-24 budget submission in January 2023.
Based on input received through an internal staff survey and significant preparatory work undertaken by staff, the Committee also agreed to instruct Assembly staff to prepare a project plan to establish a modular employer-sponsored child care facility on the Legislative Precinct as a short-term solution to provide child care services for families of Precinct staff, with the provision that that the child care needs of caucus and Assembly staff be given priority over Members. The Committee also approved a motion to direct Assembly staff to incorporate a child care facility into the current planning for the proposed development of the Armouries building located within the Precinct as a longer-term solution.
Incoming Delegation Visit
In October 2022, the Legislative Assembly hosted a delegation from the National Assembly of the Parliament of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to share information and best practices. The delegation included the Auditor General, Deputy Speaker, and Members and support staff from the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee who met with Members of the Legislative Assembly’s Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Committee staff. The visit was facilitated by the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation.
Committee Research Analyst
Ontario’s Legislature resumed the first Fall Sitting period of the 1st Session of the 43rd Parliament on October 25, 2022.
On October 31, 2022, the Member for Scarborough—Guildwood (Mitzie Hunter) raised a question of privilege regarding comments made by the Minister of Education to the media and on his social media account. She asserted that the comments presupposed the passage of Bill 28, An Act to resolve labour disputes involving school board employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which was introduced earlier that day and was being considered by the House. MPP Hunter provided written notice along with copies of news articles, printouts of the Minister’s social media accounts, and videos of the Minister’s comments to the media. Specifically, MPP Hunter highlighted statements by the Minister stating that “the government is going to pass the Bill” and that “we will pass a law.” The Government House Leader (Paul Calandra), the Official Opposition House Leader (Peggy Sattler), the Member for Ottawa South (John Fraser) and the Member for Guelph (Mike Schreiner) also provided comments.
On November 3, 2022, the Speaker, Ted Arnott delivered his ruling that while MPP Hunter correctly identified the issues as relating to contempt, he was not able to find that a prima facie case of contempt had been established. He noted that on a number of occasions, the Minister acknowledged that the Bill had not yet passed. The Minister used conditional language such as “would, if passed, keep kids learning in school” both in his brief comments after the Bill received First Reading and during his lead-off speech on the motion for Second Reading of the Bill. Additionally, the Speaker noted that in one of the Minister’s tweets in question, the Minister included the following statement: “… we will have no other choice but to introduce legislation tomorrow, which will ensure that students remain in class to catch up on their learning”. When taken as a whole, the tweet does acknowledge the necessary role of the Legislature.
The House expressed its condolence on the passing of several former Members, including:
Jim Henderson, Member for the electoral districts of Humber and Etobicoke—Humber (May 2, 1985 to June 7, 1995)
Joe Dickson, Member for Ajax—Pickering (October 10, 2027 to June 6, 2018)
Gordon Irvin Miller, Member for the electoral districts of Haldimand—Norfolk and Norfolk (September 18, 1975 to September 5, 1990)
Douglas Jack Wiseman, Member for the electoral districts of Lanark and Lanark—Renfrew (October 21, 1971 to September 5, 1990)
Lily Oddie Munro, Member for Hamilton Centre (May 2, 1985 to September 5, 1990)
Richard Patten, Member for Ottawa Centre (September 10, 1987 to September 5, 1990, and June 8, 1995 to October 9, 2007)
Julian Alexander Arnott Reed, Member for Halton—Burlington (September 18, 1975 to May 1, 1985)
William Grenville Davis, Premier of Ontario from March 1, 1971 to February 8, 1985, and Member for the electoral districts of Brampton, Peel North and Peel (June 11, 1959 to May 1, 1985)
Ed Thomas Philip, Member for the electoral districts of Etobicoke and Etobicoke—Rexdale (September 18, 1975 to June 7, 1995)
Alan William Pope, Member for Cochrane South (June 9, 1977 to September 5, 1990)
David Rotenberg, Member for Wilson Heights (June 9, 1977 to May 1, 1985)
During the Fall Sitting period, eight Government Bills were introduced, of which seven received Royal Assent. Bill 46, Less Red Tape, Stronger Ontario Act, 2022, will be considered by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs during the winter adjournment.
These bills cover a wide range of topics including back to work legislation regarding a labour dispute of educational support workers, the powers granted to mayors and municipal governments, housing and infrastructure development, budget measures, and amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act.
Bill 28, An Act to resolve labour disputes involving school board employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees
This legislation addressed the labour disputes between school board employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ministry of Education, by providing new collective agreements and the terms of such agreements. The Act required the prohibition of strikes or lockouts during the outlined term of the agreement and included the notwithstanding clause to secure this prohibition. The Bill was introduced on October 31, 2022 and with the use of a time allocation motion, concluded Second and Third Reading on November 3, 2022; it also received Royal Assent on the same day.
Bill 35, An Act to repeal the Keeping Students in Class Act, 2022
This legislation repealed Bill 28 in its entirety. The Bill was introduced on November 14, 2022, and with unanimous consent, a motion was passed in the House to allow for the Bill to be called for Second Reading and Third Reading later that day. The motion further indicated that at each stage of the Bill, the Speaker put every question necessary to dispose of the respective stages without debate or further amendment. As a result, the Bill received all three reading stages and received Royal Assent on November 14, 2022.
Bill 51, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act
This Bill makes significant changes to the Legislative Assembly Act. The legislation shifts some of the responsibilities for the administration of the Office of the Assembly from the Speaker to the Board of Internal Economy, as well as providing a mechanism for the Board to delegate any of these authorities back to the Speaker. The Bill also provides that, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by order, grant a former Clerk of the Assembly the right to use the honorific “Honourable”. Lastly, the legislation changes the appointment process for the Sergeant-at-Arms in Ontario.
The new process involves a selection panel composed of one Member from each recognized party of the Assembly, chaired by the Speaker who is a non-voting member. This panel must have unanimous agreement on the selection of an individual. Once the panel decides on their selection, the Sergeant-at-Arms would be appointed by an Order of the Assembly.
At the end of the previous Parliament, significant changes were made to the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with regards to the Private Bills procedure. Previously, Private Bills were immediately referred to a Standing Committee for review after First Reading. In the current process, all Private Bills remain ordered for Second Reading following introduction but can be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for consideration if a permanent Member of the Committee or any five Members of the Assembly provide a written request to the Clerk of the House. If no request is received within 16 sessional days, the Order for Second Reading may be called and bills proceed with Second and Third Reading without debate or amendment.
During the Fall Sitting period, six Private Bills received Royal Assent, one of which was requested to be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Highlights from the House
Special Early Morning Sitting
On October 31, 2022, an Order in Council was issued ordering that the Speaker be advised that public interest required the Assembly to reconvene earlier than its scheduled start time of 9:00 a.m. on November 1, 2022. As such, the Speaker provided notice to reconvene the House at 5:00 a.m. on November 1, 2022.
This special early morning sitting was requested for the House to consider Second Reading of Bill 28, An Act to resolve labour disputes involving school board employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Naming of Members
On November 2, 2022, 16 Members of the Official Opposition were named by the Speaker and were directed to withdraw from the service of the House for the duration of the sessional day. This was a result of the Members’ disregard for the Speaker’s warnings during Question Period as Members showed their discontent with the responses given regarding Bill 28 and the labour dispute of educational support workers.
Ontario’s Sergeant-at-Arms, Jacquelyn Gordon retired in December 2022. She was the first female Sergeant-at-Arms in Ontario and served the Legislature since January 2017. During her time here, she has overseen the modernization of the Legislative Protective Services and Legislative Precinct. This includes the development of an Armed Response Unit, commission and construction of a new Visitor Entrance, and the challenging task of keeping everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The procedures for reviewing the Expenditure Estimates were changed effective this parliament. This was the first time the six policy-field Committees considered the Estimates following the removal of the Standing Committee on Estimates. With the new process, each committee was able to determine its own timeline for consideration but kept the same deadline of the Third Thursday in November to report all Estimates selected for review back to the House.
As this was an election year in Ontario, the Estimates were not tabled in the House until September 8, 2022. The Legislature was also adjourned from September 14 to October 25, 2022, which resulted in their selection and consideration beginning in late October.
Among six policy field committees, 22 Ministries and Offices were selected to be reviewed. However, due to the shorter time available for their consideration, the Estimates of eight Ministries were reviewed to completion and reported back to the House on November 24, 2022. The remaining Estimates were deemed to be passed by the respective committees and reported back to the House.
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
The Committee met in closed session on November 1 to receive a briefing from the Financial Accountability Officer, Peter Weltman.
A motion outlining the method of proceeding on Pre-Budget Consultations 2023 was adopted during its meeting on December 7, 2022. The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Kenora, Red Lake, Windsor, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Ottawa, Kingston, Barrie, and Toronto over several days in January and February 2023. This will be the first time since January 2020 that the Committee will travel for Pre-Budget Consultations.
Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
The Committee met in September and October of 2022 to review the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s television broadcast system. The Committee invited the Clerk of the Assembly and the Director of Broadcast and Recording Service to appear, and was given a tour of the upgraded broadcast facilities and control room.
In November, the Committee undertook a study on the lifespan of, and deficiencies with, the building systems in the Legislative Precinct and the need for rehabilitation and restoration. The Committee invited both the Deputy Clerk and the Director of Precinct Properties Branch to appear before the Committee to discuss the state of the Main Legislative Building. The Committee also received a tour of the building, with a focus on areas and items in need of significant repair or refurbishment. The Committee agreed to explore the possibility of holding meetings in Ottawa with the aim of speaking to Government officials, House of Commons staff and Members of Parliament about the planning and execution of the renovation and restoration project currently underway in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
Standing Committee on Public Accounts
The Committee invited the Auditor General to provide in-camera briefings on her Special Report on Laurentian University and the 2022 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario.
It should be noted, that the Committee has agreed that Members may participate from any seat allocated to Committee Members regardless of party affiliation. This has resulted in “mixed-party” seating which was a recommendation of the Sub-committee on Committee Business to foster the values of non-partisan cooperation on the Committee. The Committee also adopted the practice of requiring all witnesses appearing before the Committee to take an oath or make a solemn affirmation before beginning their testimony.
Fall 2022 Sitting
The Sixty-Fourth General Assembly’s First Session resumed on October 13, 2022 and adjourned on November 9, sitting for 18 days in total.
Nine of the 18 sitting days departed from the House’s ordinary schedule. For five consecutive meetings, the House sat until 11:59 p.m. The longest meeting was held on October 21, when the House opened at
9:00 a.m. and sat for fifteen hours until 11:59 p.m. Although the House does not normally sit on Mondays, the Fall 2022 Sitting also included two Monday sittings (on October 17 and 24).
At the end of the Fall Sitting, his Honour the Lieutenant Governor assented to 24 Bills: 21 Government Bills, two Private Bills, and one Private Members’ Public Bill.
Gender Neutral Rules
On October 13, 2022, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board introduced Resolution 386 to amend the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly by replacing gender-specific nouns and pronouns with gender-neutral ones. Resolution 386 received the House’s unanimous consent to waive notice and to pass without debate.
Rulings on Questions of Privilege
Three questions of privilege were resolved during the second week of the Fall Sitting. All three questions asserted the same individual right to be free from intimidation. Based on the precedent for intimidation, the Rulings applied a two-part test for establishing a prima facie breach of privilege. First, viewed objectively, was there an intimidating action? And second, if there was indeed an objectively intimidating action, was there a corresponding impairment of a specific parliamentary duty or function?
The first two questions of privilege were raised by the Member for Bedford Basin and the Member for Cumberland North on the final day of the Spring Sitting (64th Leg, 1st Sess, 22 April 2022 at 2722-2725). Since both questions involved an overlapping set of factual allegations, they were disposed of through one concurrent Speaker’s Ruling (64th Leg, 1st Sess, 21 October 2022 at 3885-3889).
First, the Member for Bedford Basin claimed a breach of privilege from an insulting remark that the Minister of Economic Development (Lunenburg) admitted to uttering towards a group of Opposition Members gathered outside the chamber. The Speaker described the remark as “the sort that would be reprimanded by a teacher in a playground or reproached by a parent in a home.” The remark was therefore not sufficiently grave to meet the high threshold of an intimidating action.
Second, the Independent Member from Cumberland North claimed a breach of privilege from a remark allegedly uttered by the Premier after the Member had risen on a point of order. The alleged remark alluded to an event in June 2021 that occurred in the Member’s constituency, which had prompted the expulsion of the Member from the PC Caucus. Although the Speaker found the alleged remark to be objectively intimidating, there was no prima facie breach of privilege because there was no discernible impairment of the Member’s parliamentary duties or functions.
The third question of privilege arose from events that transpired in the days leading up to the Fall Sitting. Quoting from a media scrum on October 14, the Leader of the Official Opposition (Yarmouth) alleged that a pattern of communications between the Premier and the Speaker in which the Premier had allegedly requested the Speaker’s resignation constituted a breach of the Speaker’s privilege (64th Leg, 1st Sess, 14 October 2022 at 3315). Given the importance of the Speaker’s independence and impartiality to the House, the Leader of the Official Opposition further alleged that all Members of the House were, by virtue of the Premier’s alleged intimidation of the Speaker, vicariously impaired from performing their parliamentary duties.
Since the Speaker was a witness in the question, he ceded the Chair to Deputy Speaker Angela Simmonds (Preston). After receiving representations and deliberating on the question, the Deputy Speaker ruled there was no prima facie breach of privilege (64th Leg, 1st Sess, 18 October 2022 at 3440). The Ruling reaffirmed that the task of determining a prima facie breach requires accepting the representations at face value. Accordingly, the Ruling did not definitively find the truth of the matter. The Speaker stated that the Premier never asked him to change his Rulings in exchange for withdrawing the resignation request. The Speaker also stated that he would not change his conduct in office to appease the Premier. In discussing the Premier’s request to resign, the Speaker was conscious of the reality that the leader of a majority Government can effectively procure any Speaker’s removal through a Resolution passed by a majority of the House, in which the caucus follows their Leader. Based on these representations and the precedent for intimidation, the Deputy Speaker ultimately found that more than a conditional threat to introduce that resolution was required to establish intimidation, such as an action that “compelled the Speaker to behave differently, or a corresponding offer by the Speaker to alter his behaviour.”
Three New Deputy Speakers Appointed
On November 3rd, the House passed Resolution 385, which appointed three new Deputy Speakers from the PC Caucus. Deputy Speakers Lisa Lachance and MLA Simmonds are now joined by Deputy Speakers Danielle Barkhouse (Chester-St. Margaret’s),
Kent Smith (Eastern Shore), and Nolan Young (Shelburne). The House’s addition of three Deputy Speakers was also accompanied by the enactment of a new Section 40A of the House of Assembly Management Commission Regulations. Instead of dividing the Deputy Speaker salary five ways, the new Section 40A sets the same minimum salary of $12,500 for each individual Deputy Speaker.
The extended daily hours were punctuated by numerous recorded divisions called by the Opposition and prolonged by filibustering. The filibustering reached a climax on October 25. That day, the maximum 20 hours permitted for the Committee of the Whole House on Bills to consider Bill 196, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Act (amended) expired (Rule 57(2)).
The first hoist motion of the Sixty-Fourth General Assembly was brought to the floor on October 20. The Member for Kings South (Liberal) moved to amend the motion for Second Reading of Bill 208, Environment Act (amended) for three months hence. Sixteen other Opposition Members spoke to the hoist motion, which garnered support from the NDP Caucus and the Independent Member. When put to a recorded division a week later, the hoist motion was defeated 32-13.
In substance, Bill 208 replaces the cap-and-trade program with an output-based pricing system for carbon emissions. Coincidentally, the last time a hoist motion was attempted, the dilatory maneuver also targeted a climate change bill (On October 30, 2019, the Member for the former riding of Sackville Beaver-Bank (now Sackville-Uniacke) moved to amend the motion for third reading of Bill 213, Sustainable Development Goals Act for six months hence. That hoist motion was also defeated (63rd Leg, 2nd Sess, at 5011-5016)).
A spirit of cooperation overtook the House on October 26. From that day onwards, the pace and productivity of the proceedings improved. A spirit of an entirely different sort, however, appeared in anticipation of All Hallows Eve and the Gaelic occasion of Oidhche Shamhna. On October 28, thunder rolled in the chamber after the Deputy Premier, in his capacity as Minister of Gaelic Affairs, captivated the House with the lore of the evil eye. The House also collectively shivered when the Member for Timberlea-Prospect recounted the ghost story of “A Forerunner from Mabou”. Officers of the House were then spellbound by a blatant violation of the rule against props as the Member for Dartmouth North tabled a bloody letter handed to her on the MacDonald Bridge by the ghost of Helen Creighton.
Bills 196, 214, 215, 216, 219, 222, 223, and 224 restructure and consolidate a variety of agencies, boards, and Crown corporations.
Bill 198, An Act to Amend Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1992, the Emergency “911” Act, and Chapter 8 of the Acts of 1990, the Emergency Management Act: the breakdown in critical communications during Hurricane Fiona precipitated the imposition of new obligations upon telecommunications service providers. Companies are now obligated to ensure continued access to 911, and to take reasonable actions to ensure phone and internet services continue uninterrupted during emergency events. Telecommunications service providers who fail to notify customers of disruptions and to rebate bills accordingly are also liable for regulatory offences.
Bill 203, An Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Labour Standards Code, enacts the policy objective initially proposed by Bill 82, Ruby’s Law, a Private Members’ Bill (Cole Harbour-Dartmouth). Bill 203 provides protected unpaid leave for employees who experience a pregnancy loss.
In tandem, Bills 206 and 207 establish the regulatory framework for green hydrogen energy innovation and production.
Bill 212, An Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Utilities Act intervenes in Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s rate application before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The amendments restrict any net rate increase on non-fuel costs for Nova Scotia Power to a maximum of 1.8 per cent over 2023-2024. Nova Scotia Power is also obligated to invest the revenue from that increase exclusively in improvements to the power grid’s reliability.
Bill 225, An Act to Amend Chapter 39 of the Acts of 2008, the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter empowers the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to nullify by-laws that would impact housing or development in the capital region. The Committee of the Whole House on Bills passed an amendment to require the Minister to consult marginalized communities, including African Nova Scotia and Mi’kmaq communities, before nullifying a by-law that affects community ties.
Private Members’ Bills
By the final day of the Fall Sitting, the total number of Private Members’ Bills introduced during the First Session of the Sixty-Fourth Assembly grew to 180. (In Fall 2021, 74 Private Members’ Bills were introduced; in Spring 2022, 57 Private Members’ Bills were introduced; and in Summer 2022, 12 Private Members’ Bills were introduced).
The following chart depicts the proportion of Private Members’ Bills introduced to date during the 1st Session:
# of Private Members’ Bills
# of Private Members’
1 Passed (Bill 94)
New Democratic Party
2 Defeated (Bills 3 and 19)
1 Passed (Bill 230)
During Opposition Business in the Fall, the House debated six Private Members’ Bills: Bill 233, Need A Family Practice Registry Accountability Act; Bill 217, Residential Tenancies Act (amended); Bill 209, Improving Access to Pharmaceuticals Act; Bill 98, Equity and Sustainability in Electrical Utilities Act); Bill 232, Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended); and Bill 97, Social Safety Net Security Act.
Notably, Bill 230, the Provincial Lichen Act, was the sole Private Members’ Bill to pass during the Fall Sitting. It was brought forward by Jill Balser on behalf of lichen enthusiasts in her constituency of Digby-Annapolis. Bill 230 declares the blue felt lichen (Pectenia plumbea) to be the Provincial Lichen. With scallop-like contours, the rare species rests in humid-low lying areas. The blue felt lichen can be spotted along the Atlantic Coast in Digby, Shelburne, as well as on the shores of the Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Breton. Nova Scotia is now the first jurisdiction in the country to designate an official lichen.
Office of the Clerk
Second Session of the 60th Legislature and Throne Speech
Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy opened the 2nd Session of the 60th Legislature on October 25, 2022, with the delivery of the province’s first Speech from the Throne in two years. The speech focused on New Brunswick’s record population growth, its strong economic performance, and how the Blaine Higgs government plans to address challenges in the health and education sectors. The speech also outlined the provincial government’s legislative and policy agenda with a focus on five priority areas: energizing the private sector; creating vibrant and sustainable communities; delivering dependable public health care; creating a world-class education system; and protecting the environment.
Reply to Throne Speech
On October 27, Official Opposition Leader Robert McKee gave his reply to the Speech from the Throne. He thanked former Leader of the Official Opposition and Member for Dieppe, Roger Melanson, for his service and leadership and wished him well in his next endeavours. He also congratulated Susan Holt, who is the new Leader of the provincial Liberal Party. Mr. McKee raised concerns about keeping the government accountable, highlighting the need for transparency in decision-making. He also expressed concerns about the government’s response to health care, long-term care, and affordable housing.
Lieutenant Governor’s Portrait Unveiled
On October 27, a portrait of the former Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas was unveiled in the rotunda of the Legislative Assembly building. The portrait was painted by Wolastoqiyik artist Natalie Sappier.
The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal Ceremony
The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal Investiture ceremony was held on the evening of November 15 at the Legislative Assembly building. The Lieutenant Governor presented the medals to the Speaker and the Members. The medal honours The Queen and her lifelong service to Canada, as well as those residents of New Brunswick who have been exemplary in their service to others.
Auditor General Report
Auditor General Paul Martin released Volumes II and III of the 2022 auditor general report on November 29. Overall, the fiscal 2022 financial statement audit of the province revealed that New Brunswick’s financial condition continues to improve. The report also contained updates on the status of the implementation of past recommendations at departments, agencies, and Crown corporations. The report drew particular attention to the Environmental Trust Fund, under the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Local Government, which has a surplus of $41 million. Mr. Martin also highlighted issues in the provincial government’s contaminated sites management process relating to its legislative authority, execution, performance monitoring and reporting.
Preliminary Report from the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission
The Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission, an independent body established by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on recommendation of the all-party Legislative Administration Committee, released its preliminary report on December 12. The report outlined a proposed new electoral map that redraws the boundaries of the province’s 49 electoral districts while providing effective representation for all residents. Recommendations from the preliminary report will be open to review as the commission holds a second round of virtual public hearings in January 2023, and a final report will follow.
The 2023-24 Capital Budget was tabled by Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves on December 6 and totals $1 billion, an increase of $152.3 million over the multi-year plan tabled last year, which reflects the needs associated with a growing population and the elevated costs of a high-inflation environment. Specifically, the government will invest $110.2 million in education, to support the infrastructure of public schools; $50 million in community investment, which includes maintenance and improvements in nursing homes and to address housing challenges; $477.4 million for the maintenance and improvement of highways, roads and bridges, which represents an increase of 17.9 per cent over the multi-year capital plan; and $176.6 million in health-care infrastructure, which includes renovations, additions and related improvements, and equipment.
As of December 16, 28 bills were introduced during the fall session and 24 received Royal Assent. Some bills of note include:
Bill 3 – An Act Respecting Surgical Facilities, introduced by Health Minister Bruce Fitch, allows regional health authorities (RHA) to enter into agreements with health-care providers to administer surgeries in private clinics, in order to free up operating rooms for more complicated procedures.
Bill 5 – Missing Persons Act, introduced by Public Safety Minister Kris Austin, is designed to assist law enforcement agencies in locating a missing person in instances where no criminal investigation is underway. Enacting missing persons legislation was a recommendation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Bill 8 – An Act to Amend the Elections Act, introduced by Opposition Leader Robert McKee, requires by-elections to be set within six months of a legislative seat becoming vacant, ensuring that all jurisdictions have more timely representation.
Bill 17 – Disclosure to Protect Against Intimate Partner Violence Act, introduced by Mr. Austin, permits individuals who feel they may be at risk to request information from law enforcement on a partner’s history of intimate partner violence.
Bill 23 – An Act to Amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, introduced by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder, is intended to ensure essential services remain available during labour disputes while clarifying the rules of engagement between the employer and bargaining agents during the collective bargaining process.
Bill 25 – An Act Respecting Residential Tenancies, introduced by Service New Brunswick Minister Jill Green, is intended to help tenants adjust to new market conditions and give them more time to seek help from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
Bill 27 – An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act, introduced by Green Party Leader David Coon, was read for a first time and referred to the Standing Committee on Law Amendments for further consideration. Amendments to the Act would legislate paid sick leave for all workers in the province.
On December 15 the House adopted a resolution, introduced by Opposition Member Isabelle Thériault, which directs the Standing Committee on Procedure, Privileges and Legislative Officers to examine the options for a fixed legislative calendar and return to the Legislative Assembly with recommendations.
The Select Committee on Accessibility in New Brunswick tabled its interim report on December 16. The all-party committee, chaired by Kathy Bockus, was charged with conducting consultations with stakeholders, as well as government departments involved with the disability community, and reporting to the house with recommendations. The interim report entitled Nothing About Us, Without Us: Moving Together Towards an Accessible New Brunswick, outlined the committee’s support for the development of accessibility legislation, which will be the first step toward creating an accessible province. The committee’s final report will be reserved to respond to draft legislation, which the committee has recommended be prepared by the end of May 2023.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Chuck Chiasson, met on November 29 to discuss the Report of the Auditor General of New Brunswick, 2022, Volume II – Performance Audit and Volume Volume III – Financial Audit.
The Standing Committee on Economic Policy, chaired by Greg Turner, and the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship, chaired by Ryan Cullins, remained active in the fall session.
On October 21, former Opposition Leader and Member for Dieppe, Roger Melanson, announced his resignation, retiring after a 12-year career in politics that included a position as finance minister under Premier Brian Gallant. Mr. Melanson will take on new professional challenges in the private sector.
Denis Landry and Daniel Guitard resigned their roles as Members of the Official Opposition on November 30, both to seek mayoral positions in their respective communities. Mr. Landry, Member for Bathurst East-Nepisiguit-Saint-Isidore, was first elected in 1995, and occupied several ministerial positions, including that of Minister of Justice and Public Safety under Premier Brian Gallant. Mr. Guitard, Member for Restigouche-Chaleur and a former Speaker, resigned after serving in the legislature since 2014.
The House adjourned on December 16 and is scheduled to resume sitting on March 21, 2023, when it is expected that Mr. Steeves will present the 2023-24 Budget. The standings in the House are 29 Progressive Conservatives, 13 Liberals, three Greens, one Independent and three vacancies.
Prorogation and opening of a new session
On October 25, 2022, Indigenous leaders hosted a pipe ceremony on the invitation of Speaker Randy Weekes in the rotunda of the Legislative Building to mark the opening of a new legislative session. The annual ceremony included Elders, Knowledge Keepers, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker, and Members of the Legislative Assembly from both sides of the House.
The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan reconvened the following morning on October 26, 2022. As the first order of business, the Speaker informed the Assembly that Nathaniel Teed had been elected as the new member for Saskatoon Meewasin. Mr. Teed, who had been sworn in earlier that morning, was formally presented to the Speaker and Assembly and subsequently took his seat in the Chamber. Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty then prorogued the second session of the twenty-ninth legislature.
That afternoon, the Lieutenant Governor opened the third session of the twenty-ninth legislature with the delivery of the Speech from the Throne. This was followed by blessings from Indigenous Elders AJ and Patricia Felix and Catholic Archbishop Don Bolen. During his remarks, Elder Felix blessed the House with a smudge, marking the first time a smudge has been performed inside the Chamber.
Motions of condolence
On October 27, 2022, the second day of the fall sitting, the Assembly passed two notable motions. The first was in response to a shocking tragedy that occurred in Saskatchewan on September 4, 2022, when a mass stabbing took place on James Smith Cree Nation and in the village of Weldon, leaving 11 individuals deceased and 18 others injured. The condolence motion, which was moved by Premier Scott Moe and supported by the Assembly, expressed the Assembly’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of the victims, its support for their loved ones and communities, and its gratitude to Saskatchewan’s first responders, RCMP, community leaders, and medical professionals. In accordance with a subsequent transmittal motion, copies of the motion and debate were then transmitted to the victims’ families, the chiefs of James Smith Cree Nation, and the Village of Weldon.
The second notable motion passed by the Assembly that day extended a humble address to King Charles III expressing the Assembly’s sympathy and sorrow on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The address welcomed the King’s accession to the Throne and pledged the Assembly’s continued desire to uphold and support the monarch. Both Premier Moe and Opposition Leader Carla Beck spoke to the motion before it was passed, engrossed, signed by the Speaker, and forwarded to the King through the proper channels.
Introductions in the Assembly
The first weeks of the fall sitting saw the introduction of several individuals in the Assembly. Rob Park was officially introduced as a Table Officer on October 27, 2022, having been appointed Clerk Assistant earlier in the year. Danielle Humble-Selinger, Procedural Clerk, was then introduced on November 1, 2022, and the Assembly was informed that she will gain work experience as a Table Officer on a rotational basis while participating in a professional development program. Finally, Lyall Frederiksen was introduced as Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms on November 7, 2022, having served in the role since mid-summer.
Appointment of Ombudsman and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner
On October 31, 2022, the Assembly appointed Sharon H. Pratchler as Ombudsman and Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner (OPIDC), effective November 1, 2022. The Ombudsman’s role is to promote and protect fairness and integrity in the delivery and design of government services, while the Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner’s role is to provide advice and support to public servants concerned about wrongdoing in the workplace. In Saskatchewan, the OPIDC is an officer of the Assembly who reports directly to the Assembly through the Speaker.
Summary of the fall sitting of the third session of the twenty-ninth legislature
The Assembly sat for 25 days throughout the fall. Forty public bills were introduced by the government and three private members’ public bills were introduced by members of the opposition. Four bills received royal assent during the fall sitting, including an appropriation bill containing supplementary estimates for various ministries and agencies.
Bill No. 89, The Income Tax (Affordability) Amendment Act, 2022, which was passed early in the fall sitting, made changes to the province’s income tax legislation to incorporate a tax initiative announced over the summer. The initiative saw all adult Saskatchewan residents who filed a 2021 income tax return receive a one-time affordability tax credit payment of $500. The bill also extended the small business tax rate reduction for another year and made a corresponding change to the dividend tax credit rate.
Bill No. 119, The Representation Act, 2022, was introduced immediately after the Assembly approved and adopted the final report of the Constituency Boundaries Commission of Saskatchewan on December 1, 2022. This commission is established every 10 years to review and adjust Saskatchewan’s constituency boundaries in accordance with population changes. Accordingly, the bill adopted the commission’s proposals by establishing and fixing the boundaries and names for 61 new constituencies.
Finally, Bill No. 123, The Election Amendment Act, 2022, made changes recommended by Saskatchewan’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in Volume IV of his report on the twenty-ninth general election. The changes allow the CEO to modernize the election process through numerous directives, such as the use of electronic poll books, voting over the course of an election week period, and flexible, vote-anywhere polling.
On November 28, 2022, Firearms Secretariat Minister Christine Tell moved a motion condemning the federal government’s amendments to Bill C-21 and calling on the provincial government to explore all options to protect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners. Twenty-four members from both sides of the House spoke to the motion before it was unanimously passed on recorded division. A transmittal motion was subsequently agreed to, ordering the Speaker to transmit copies of the motion and debate to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Transfer of security services
On October 19, 2022, one week prior to the beginning of the fall sitting, The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act, 2021 came into force, resulting in a transfer of security services in the Legislative Building. Responsibility for security services in the legislative district was transferred from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the newly established Legislative District Security Unit (LDSU), which is part of the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety. The LDSU is composed of eight officers, one administrator, and one supervisor, in addition to its director, Dani Herman. The Sergeant-at-Arms remains responsible for the security of the legislative precinct, which now consists solely of the floor of the Chamber.
The transfer of security services necessitated changes to rules 160(4), (5), and (6) of the Rules and Procedures of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, which concern the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the Sergeant-at-Arms. The Standing Committee on House Services met on November 1, 2022, and made a recommendation to the Assembly to omit the aforementioned rules and replace them with revised versions. The committee’s report was concurred in by the Assembly later that day.
A second rule change took place one month later, on December 5, 2022, with respect to privilege. In recent years, a practice had developed whereby members provide the Speaker with written responses to questions of privilege prior to the Speaker’s ruling on the matter. Rule 12, in its previous form, provided no authority or structure for the Speaker to consider such responses. The Government and Opposition House Leaders agreed that rule 12 should be updated to accommodate this practice.
A subcommittee of the Standing Committee on House Services was therefore established to study the issue and its recommendations were presented to the full committee on December 5, 2022. The committee’s proposed rule changes were outlined in a report, which was presented and concurred in by the Assembly later that day. The Assembly subsequently passed a motion formally adopting the changes to rule 12, and the Rules and Procedures of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan have been updated accordingly.
New political party in Saskatchewan
On November 30, 2022, the Saskatchewan United Party (SUP) was registered as an official political party by Elections Saskatchewan. Nadine Wilson, MLA for Saskatchewan Rivers, subsequently informed the Speaker on December 2, 2022, that she is the new party’s leader. Ms. Wilson had been sitting in the legislature as an independent since resigning from the Saskatchewan Party in September 2021.
Portrait hanging of former Premier
The official portrait of former Premier Brad Wall was unveiled in the rotunda of the Legislative Building on November 30, 2022. The portrait, painted by Canadian artist Phil Richards, joins those of all former Saskatchewan premiers which are displayed in the Saskatchewan Gallery of the Legislative Building. The unveiling was attended by Mr. Wall, Premier Moe, dignitaries, current and former MLAs, and friends and family members of the former Premier.
New Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
On January 1, 2023, Gregory Putz retired after serving the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for nearly 36 years, including 16 years as Clerk. On December 6, 2022, the Assembly passed a motion recognizing Mr. Putz’s service to the legislature, expressing its appreciation, and designating him as an honourary officer of the Assembly with a seat at the Table on all ceremonial occasions.
Iris Lang became the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan following Mr. Putz’s retirement, having been appointed Clerk Designate on November 15, 2022. Ms. Lang, who was Deputy Clerk of the Assembly at the time of her appointment, has served the Legislative Assembly Service in a variety of positions over the past 37 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position.
Adjournment of the fall sitting
The Assembly adjourned on December 7, 2022. It will reconvene on March 6, 2023, in accordance with the parliamentary calendar.
On January 14, 2023, Ranj Pillai (Porter Creek South) was sworn in as Yukon’s new Premier. When out-going premier Sandy Silver (Klondike) stepped aside from the role, he had been the longest-serving among Canada’s current premiers.
As noted in Yukon’s previous legislative report, Mr. Silver announced on September 9 that he would step aside as Premier once a Yukon Liberal Party Leader successor was named. A November 26 Liberal party news release announced that the leadership convention date had been set for January 28. At the close of nominations, Mr. Pillai was the sole candidate; the following day (January 8), he was acclaimed by the party’s executive as the new party leader.
On January 14, Mr. Pillai was sworn in as Yukon’s 10th Premier by Adeline Webber, the Administrator of Yukon, at a public ceremony in Whitehorse. The entire Cabinet was also sworn in during the ceremony, which took place at the Jim Smith Building. While the seven individuals making up Cabinet are the same MLAs who comprised the preceding Cabinet, some portfolios have shifted. Among these changes, the role of Deputy Premier is now held by Jeanie McLean (Mountainview).
Mr. Pillai was first elected in Yukon’s November 7, 2016 general election, and was re-elected in the April 12, 2021 general election. During his first term as an MLA, Mr. Pillai was the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, the Minister of Economic Development, and the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation.
In his second term in Mr. Silver’s administration, Mr. Pillai had served as the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Tourism and Culture, as well as the Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation, the Yukon Liquor Corporation, and the Yukon Lottery Commission.
As Premier, Mr. Pillai is also the Minister of the Executive Council Office. Additionally, he has retained the Economic Development and Yukon Housing Corporation portfolios.
Before moving to territorial politics, Mr. Pillai had been the Executive Director of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations government. From 2009-2012, Mr. Pillai served as a Whitehorse City Councillor. Going back further, as a point of interest, Mr. Pillai had attended the same Antigonish, Nova Scotia high school as Mr. Silver.
2022 Fall Sitting
The 2022 Fall Sitting of the First Session of the 35th Yukon Legislative Assembly began on October 6 and concluded on November 24, 2022, after 28 sitting days.
Government bills assented to
During the 2022 Fall Sitting, the following government bills were assented to by Yukon Commissioner Angélique Bernard:
Bill No. 16, Second Act to amend the Legal Profession Act, 2017 (2022) – Tracy-Anne McPhee
Bill No. 17, Clean Energy Act – John Streicker
Bill No. 18, Midwifery Integration Amendments Act (2022) – Ms. McPhee
Bill No. 19, Technical Amendments Act (2022) – Ms. McPhee
Bill No. 20, Animal Protection and Control Act – Nils Clarke
Bill No. 21, Carbon Price Rebate Amendments Act (2022) – Mr. Silver
Bill No. 206, Second Appropriation Act 2022-23 – Mr. Silver
Supplementary Budget Bill
Six of the seven government bills introduced during the 2022 Fall Sitting were assented to prior to the final sitting day. The seventh government bill – the supplementary appropriation bill – was assented to on November 24. On that final day of the Sitting, the only government bill on the Order Paper was Bill No. 206, Second Appropriation Act 2022-23, which was still in Committee of the Whole.
Pursuant to the Sessional Order adopted on October 31, 2022, the application of Standing Order 76 (known as “the guillotine clause”) was restricted to appropriation bills during the 2022 Fall Sitting (as had also been the case during the 2022 Spring Sitting). Accordingly, at 5:00 p.m. on November 24, Bill No. 206 was expedited through the remaining stages and was assented to.
Private Member’s bill assented to
During Opposition Private Members’ Business on Wednesday, November 23, Bill No. 305, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act (Annie Blake, MLA for Vuntut Gwitchin) received second reading, was considered in Committee of the Whole, and was reported without amendment. With the unanimous consent of the House, Ms. Blake, as a member of the third-party caucus, also moved third reading of the bill that day. Bill No. 305, which establishes as an annual general holiday September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, passed third reading (18 yea, nil nay). On the next day, which was the final day of the Sitting, Bill No. 305 was assented to by Commissioner Bernard.
Private Member’s bill defeated
On October 18, Kate White, Leader of the Third Party, introduced Bill No. 306, Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Act (2022). During Opposition Private Members’ Business on Wednesday, October 26, Bill No. 306 passed second reading and consideration of the bill began in Committee of the Whole. On November 9, consideration of Bill No. 306 resumed, and the bill was reported to the House without amendment. Third reading debate also took place that day. As described by Ms. White in her remarks at third reading, Bill No. 306 sought to “reinstat[e] the right to consent for First Nations without a final agreement for oil and gas dispositions within their territory.” The motion for third reading of Bill No. 306 was defeated (3 yea, 15 nay) on November 9.
Liberal-NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement
As previously noted, after Yukon’s last general election, a confidence and supply agreement (CASA) was reached between the Yukon Liberal Party caucus and the NDP caucus. The CASA, which was signed on April 28, 2021, is set to expire on January 31, 2023.
Among other things, the CASA provides that the Yukon Liberal Leader will not ask for a dissolution of the Assembly, and that NDP MLAs “will neither move nor vote non-confidence,” and “will vote in favour of the government on confidence motions.”
The breakdown in Yukon’s 19-member House remains the same as it was following the April 12, 2021, general election: 8 Liberal MLAs (now led by Premier Pillai), 8 Yukon Party MLAs (led by Currie Dixon), and 3 NDP MLAs (led by Ms. White).
Premier Pillai has indicated his willingness to negotiate an extension of the CASA with NDP Leader Ms. White, which would see the status quo – a Liberal minority government – remain in place until the general election in November 2025.
2023 Spring Sitting
As per Standing Order 75(10), the 2023 Spring Sitting will begin during the first week of March. The Standing Orders also provide that the Spring Sitting will be between 20 to 40 sitting days in duration. A 30-day Sitting would see the House rise by the end of March.
House of Commons
This account covers key highlights of the period from October to the end of December 2022. The House adjourned on December 14, 2022, and was scheduled to next sit on January 30, 2023.
Bill C-30, an Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit)
On October 3, 2022, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North), sought and obtained unanimous consent to establish provisions for proceedings on the bill at report stage and third reading. Pursuant to that order, on October 4, 2022, the bill was reported to the House without amendment by the Standing Committee on Finance, deemed concurred in at report stage without amendment and was considered at third reading during the same sitting.
Bill C-31, an Act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and housing
On October 17, 2022, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos (Québec) moved a motion (Government Business No. 20) concerning how the House would dispose of Bill C-31. The motion governed the timeline and proceedings for all stages of the bill. It also stipulated that the Standing Committee on Health should have priority use of House resources during its consideration of the bill and provided for the cancellation of Private Members’ hour on October 27, 2022, to allow for the consideration of the bill at report and third reading stages. After a closure motion, the order was adopted the next day.
Accordingly, on October 19, 2022, the bill was adopted at second reading and referred to the Standing Committee on Health. On October 25, 2022, the committee reported the bill back to the House with amendments. Later that day, the Speaker declared null and void two amendments adopted by the Standing Committee on Health during its consideration of Bill C-31 because they infringed upon the financial prerogative of the Crown and lacked the required royal recommendation. On October 27, 2022, the House concurred in the bill at report stage with further amendments and the bill was read a third time and passed. The bill was passed by the Senate and received royal assent on November 17, 2022.
On October 5, 2022, Mr. Lamoureux sought and obtained unanimous consent for a motion extending the deadline for the final report of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying to February 17, 2023. On October 6, 2022, a message was received from the Senate, indicating that it had also agreed to the change of deadline for the final report.
On December 14, 2022, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Bardish Chagger (Waterloo), presented the 19th report of the committee entitled, “Protecting the Parliamentary Precinct: Responding to Evolving Risks.” The report re-evaluated the boundaries of the parliamentary precinct and considered expanding them with a view to exploring options for robust safety protocols following the Freedom Convoy protest that occurred in January and February 2022.
Procedure / Privilege
Questions of Privilege
On October 4, 2022, the Speaker ruled on the question of privilege that had been raised by John Nater (Perth–Wellington) on September 28, 2022, regarding a witness who appeared before a Senate committee considering Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. The Speaker reminded members that the question stemmed from the deliberations of the Senate, not the House and, therefore, it did not fall under the Speaker’s authority. The Speaker also reviewed the facts and was not convinced that the conduct in question was an attempt to intimidate a committee witness or an act of reprisal and that there was no prima facie question of privilege.
On December 14, 2022, the Speaker ruled on a question of privilege that had been raised by Leslyn Lewis (Haldimand—Norfolk) on December 13, 2022. Ms. Lewis had said that she categorically denied allegations made against her by Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould (Burlington) during a point of order on December 8, 2022. Further, Ms. Lewis argued that the allegations attacked her reputation and credibility and constituted a violation of her privileges as a member of Parliament. Ms. Lewis called for the House to hold Minister Gould in contempt of Parliament. The Speaker observed that members presented differing accounts surrounding the allegations in question. Moreover, the Speaker was not convinced that this matter was interfering with Ms. Lewis’ parliamentary duties and, as a result, there was no prima facie question of privilege.
Additional powers until June 2023
On November 14, 2022, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Mark Holland (Ajax) moved a motion (G-22) to govern the sittings and proceedings of the House until June 23, 2023. The motion would allow the government to move the ordinary hour of daily adjournment for a subsequent sitting to midnight (12:00 a.m.) with the agreement of another party; it would give the Speaker the power to combine motions to concur in the votes for which a notice of opposition was filed for voting purposes during consideration of the estimates on the last allotted day of each supply period; and, it would allow for the consideration of a motion for third reading of a government bill during the same sitting in which the said bill had been concurred in at report stage. After adopting a closure motion, the House adopted the order on November 15, 2022.
Dividing a bill pursuant to Standing Order 69.1
On November 22, 2022, Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby) and the House Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu’Appelle), each rose on a point of order to request that Bill C27, An Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts be divided for the purposes of voting, pursuant to Standing Order 69.1. They argued that the first two parts of the bill did not share common elements with the third part of the bill. On November 23, 2022, Mr. Lamoureux pointed out that the entire bill shared the common theme of privacy protection and argued that it should be considered as a whole.
On November 28, 2022, the Speaker determined that dividing the bill for voting at second reading was justified. Accordingly, the Speaker ruled that two votes would take place at the second reading stage: the first vote would be on parts 1 and 2 of the bill, and the second vote on part 3. The bill remains on the Order Paper awaiting resumption of debate at second reading.
On October 28, 2022, the House agreed by unanimous consent to allow the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland (University–Rosedale) to present the 2022 fall economic statement on November 3, 2022, and to allow one member from each recognized opposition party and a member of the Green Party to reply within a set time, followed by a period of questions and comments for the minister. On November 3, 2022, Ms. Freeland presented an economic statement, and the Leader of the Official Opposition Pierre Poilievre (Carleton), as well as Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette), Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood—Transcona) and Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) also made statements in response to the Minister’s statement. The House then adjourned to the next sitting day.
Private Members’ Business
Managing Private Members’ Business and the Royal Recommendation
On September 26, 2022, the Speaker made a statement regarding the management of Private Members’ Business and the need for a bill to be accompanied by a royal recommendation. He informed the House that Bill C-285, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act, standing in the name of Dean Allison (Niagara West), and Bill C-290, An Act to amend the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, standing in the name of Jean-Denis Garon (Mirabel), might each require a royal recommendation, and encouraged members to make any arguments pertaining to the matter at the earliest opportunity.
On September 28, 2022, Mr. Garon argued that Bill C-290 did not generate any expenditures beyond what was already set out in the existing legal framework and, therefore, did not require a royal recommendation. On November 3, 2022, the Speaker informed the House that he had examined the bill and determined that the new definition of “public servant” proposed by Bill C-290 would, among other things, allow for the payment of compensation or the reimbursement of expenses or financial losses to contract employees who are found to have been subject to a reprisal following an investigation. The Speaker ruled that the implementation of Bill C-290 would infringe on the conditions of the initial royal recommendation that accompanied the current act and accordingly a royal recommendation was required before the bill could proceed to a final vote in the House at third reading. The bill remains on the Order Paper awaiting the resumption of debate at second reading.
On October 4, 2022, Mr. Lamoureux rose to speak to Bill C-285. He said that the provisions to amend the Employment Insurance Act provide for an exemption for disqualification or disentitlement for employment insurance benefits. Further, this proposed amendment to the Employment Insurance Act would seek to authorize a new and distinct charge on the consolidated revenue fund that is not authorized in statute and, therefore, a royal recommendation was required. On December 1, 2022, the Speaker informed the House that he was of the view that the bill imposed a new charge on the public treasury and infringed on the financial prerogative of the Crown. As a result, the Speaker ruled that the bill must be accompanied by a royal recommendation if it were to receive a final vote in the House at third reading.
On December 13, 2022, the House agreed by unanimous consent that the order for the second reading of Bill C-285 shall be discharged and the bill withdrawn and be replaced in the Order of Precedence by Bill C-278, An Act to prevent the imposition by the federal government of vaccination mandates for employment and travel, originally standing in the name of Mr. Poilievre but would thereafter stand in the name of Mr. Allison. As a result, the order for the second reading of Bill C-285 was discharged, the bill was dropped from the Order Paper, and Bill C-278 took its place.
Bill C-228, an act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985
On November 14, 2022, Mr. Lamoureux rose on a point of order and drew the Speaker’s attention to a committee stage amendment to Bill C-228, explaining that the amendment had been ruled inadmissible by the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance on the grounds that it went beyond the scope of the bill. A majority of members on the committee had voted to overturn the chair’s ruling and adopt the amendment. As a result, the amendment appeared in the most recent version of the bill, dated November 3, 2022. Mr. Lamoureux requested that the Speaker order a reprint of the bill, without the amendment in question. On November 16, Mr. Blaikie rose on a point of order and argued that the amendment in question should remain in the bill on the grounds that the sponsor of the bill considered it appropriate, that it was discussed during the debate at second reading and that the committee had overturned the ruling of the chair. The sponsor of the bill Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton) also rose on a point of order and agreed with Mr. Blaikie and argued that the government should not be able to overrule the will of the committee. On November 16, 2022, the Speaker ruled that the amendment in question was inadmissible on the grounds that it went beyond the scope of the bill and ordered that the amendment be struck from the text of the bill and that the bill be reprinted.
Tributes for former member Bill Blaikie
On October 17, 2022, the House agreed by unanimous consent to pay tribute to former member of Parliament (1979–2008) and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons (2006–2008) Bill Blaikie. The Speaker rose and made remarks, followed by Mr. Lamoureux, James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman), Louis Plamondon (Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel), Jagmeet Singh (Burnaby South), and Ms. May. Bill Blaikie’s son Daniel Blaikie was the last to speak, and he thanked his colleagues and paid tribute to his late father by sharing some memories of him. After these statements, the Speaker asked the members to observe a moment of silence.
Extra-parliamentary committee of parliamentarians to examine the Public Health Agency of Canada
On November 1, 2022, Mr. Holland tabled a memorandum of understanding to create an ad hoc extra-parliamentary committee of parliamentarians to examine documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada relating to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. The ad hoc committee will contain one representative from each recognized party, as designated by party leaders. Members of the committee will have access to an unredacted version of all documents produced by the Public Health Agency of Canada in response to orders of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations of March 31, 2021, and May 10, 2021, respecting the transfer of Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in March 2019, and the subsequent revocation of security clearances for, and termination of the employment of, Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng, with measures in place to ensure that confidentiality be respected. Support for this extra-parliamentary committee will be provided by public servants with appropriate subject-matter expertise and security clearance, as well as by a panel of arbiters composed of three jurists approved by government and opposition signatories.
Selected Decisions of Speaker Geoff Regan
On December 5, 2022, the Speaker tabled Selected Decisions of Speaker Geoff Regan, which is the 10th in a series that brings together, in a comprehensive collection, the significant rulings of Speakers of the House of Commons. The purpose of this volume is to present highlights of Speaker Geoff Regan’s procedural legacy. Speaker Regan was first elected to Parliament in 1993 and was re-elected seven times between 2000 and 2019. His election to the Speakership of the 42nd Parliament in 2015 was notable for the fact that he was the first Speaker to be elected from Atlantic Canada in nearly 100 years and the very first to be elected by single preferential ballot. Speaker Regan’s decisions formed the first body of jurisprudence guiding the application of the new Standing Order 69.1, which provides the Speaker with authority to divide the questions on omnibus bills, for the purposes of voting on the motions for second reading and referral to a committee, and for third reading and passage of the bill. Also under Speaker Regan’s mandate, the House recognized the use of Indigenous languages in the Chamber, in accordance with a process set out by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. This new practice, since being implemented, has enhanced members’ ability to exercise their right to speak in the Chamber.
Naming of a member
On December 8, 2022, disorder arose in the Chamber during Oral Questions and Raquel Dancho (Kildonan—St. Paul) was heard accusing the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre) of lying. After she withdrew her statement but refused to apologize, the Speaker named Ms. Dancho and ordered her to withdraw from the Chamber for the remainder of the sitting, pursuant to Standing Order 11. As a result, Ms. Dancho was barred from the physical Chamber and was not allowed to join the virtual parliament (zoom session) for the remainder of the sitting day, since no procedural distinction is made between members participating virtually and those present in person.
Death of a member
On December 12, 2022, Mr. Lamoureux informed the House of the death of Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre) who had died earlier that day. Mr. Lamoureux sought and obtained the unanimous consent of the House to observe a moment of silence and adjourn the sitting. On December 14, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau), Marty Morantz (Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley), Kristina Michaud (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia), Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay), Ms. May, and the Speaker made statements paying tribute to Mr. Carr, following which the House observed a moment of silence in Mr. Carr’s memory.
Changes to the House of Commons Administration
On October 5, 2022, at the end of Statements by Members, the Speaker made a statement on the retirement of Heather Bradley, Director of Communications in the Office of the Speaker.
On December 7, the Clerk of the House of Commons Charles Robert announced his retirement effective January 13, 2023. Mr. Robert served as Clerk of the House since 2017 and led the House Administration through several important initiatives, including a new and integrated “One House, One Team” client service model. On December 13, 2022, the Speaker made a statement following Oral Questions on Mr. Robert’s retirement.
Table Research Branch
Prince Edward Island
2nd Session, Sixty-sixth General Assembly
The Second Session of the Sixty-sixth General Assembly resumed on November 1, 2022, and adjourned to the call of the Speaker on December 1, for a fall sitting total of 17 days. The Second Session began in February 2021 and now totals 103 sitting days.
On November 2, Minister of Finance Mark McLane tabled a Capital Budget consisting of $308 million in planned 2023-2024 spending on capital projects such as roads, bridges, buildings and equipment.
The largest expenditures were planned for the departments of Transportation and Infrastructure ($80.2 million), Social Development and Housing ($64.7 million), and Education and Lifelong Learning ($60.3 million). Major projects highlighted by the Government include bridge replacement and repair; new or ongoing construction, renovation and repair of schools; and creation of additional social and affordable housing units.
During the fall 2022 sitting 31 bills were reviewed. Of these, 25 originated from Government, two were introduced by a member of the Official Opposition, one was introduced by a member of the Third Party, and one was introduced by private member of the governing party. Two bills were introduced by the Deputy Speaker on behalf of the Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly Management as they were concerned with matters under the jurisdiction of that committee. Ultimately, 19 Government bills and the two bills promoted by the Deputy Speaker received Royal Assent.
Among Government bills, Bill 87, Residential Tenancy Act received the most debate. This bill replaced the Rental of Residential Property Act, which had regulated the residential rental system in PEI for several decades. Significant changes in the new Act include prohibiting tenants from charging subletters more than the tenants pay in rent, a greater notice period for evictions without cause or for the purpose of renovations, and recognition of housing as a human right. The new Act also caps the allowable annual rent increase, as set by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, to three per cent, while allowing landlords to incorporate any allowable annual increases that were not charged to a previous tenant into the new rental rate after a unit is vacated. The new Act had been in development for several years, and just prior to its introduction Government introduced an amendment to the previous Act to nullify the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission’s order setting the 2023 allowable rent increase to 5.2 per cent and 10.8 per cent for non-oil heated and oil heated premises, respectively. Bill 87 received Royal Assent on December 1 after being debated over six days in Committee of the Whole House, though it is to be proclaimed at a later date when regulations are developed.
Three private member bills spurred a significant amount of debate. Bill 128, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No. 4), introduced by Official Opposition member Trish Altass, would provide employees with 10 paid sick days per calendar year, while enabling the establishment of a temporary financial support program to help employers adapt to this change. It was debated over three days in Committee of the Whole House, with the committee ultimately not recommending it. Bill 127, Election Signage Act, introduced by Third Party member Hal Perry, would impose limits on the size, placement and number of signs used by candidates and parties during elections. It was debated on two occasions in Committee of the Whole House; upon it being amended, the bill sponsor chose not to proceed further with the bill, though it remains on the Order Paper. Bill 130, Zero-emission Vehicles Act, introduced by Government Private Member Sidney MacEwen, would establish a vehicle manufacturer credit and charge system in order to encourage a greater supply of zero-emission vehicles to be offered for sale on PEI. This bill was introduced late in the sitting and only debated on one day, without the committee coming to a decision on it.
Following Oral Question Period on November 30, Speaker Colin LaVie reminded members to be aware of words used in the Chamber and cautioned members for the use of the words “inaccurate,” “fear mongering,” and “flipper.”
Pandemic Measures and Virtual Proceedings
The general public and members of the Press Gallery were able to attend proceedings in person during the fall sitting. Members’ desks were arranged in a fashion similar to pre-pandemic times, without additional spacing and glass dividers. Mask-wearing continued to be encouraged. Virtual proceedings remained in effect, which meant that some members chose to appear by video on some days, but most attended in person.
Committee Activities and Reports
In 2022, the five subject-area committees of the Assembly met 78 times and tabled 12 reports. Most reports summarized committee activities and contained recommendations based on the topics the committees examined. Post-tropical storm Fiona (September 23/24) had a major impact on committee work, first by necessitating the cancellation of meetings for a two-week period while power was restored across the Island, then by causing three committees – Education and Economic Growth, Health and Social Development, and Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability – to interrupt their existing work plans in October and November in order to examine the storm’s impact through the lens of their diverse mandates. The Standing Committee on Health and Social Development also reported the results of its study and consultation on Bill 49, Supported Decision Making-Agreements Act, as referred to it by the House in March. After consultation with multiple stakeholders, the committee put forward seven recommendations to strengthen the bill. These were adopted by the House in November; no further debate on Bill 49 has been held to date. All committee reports and recommendations were adopted by the Assembly.
In addition to the above reports, the Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly Management also tabled a report on Bill 127, Election Signage Act, on November 4. This committee is required under the Rules of the Legislative Assembly to review any bills relating to the Assembly itself or the administration of its offices. The committee concluded that while the bill would have implications on the operations of the Legislative Assembly, the committee will determine how to exercise its powers and duties as outlined in the Rules of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Assembly Act in the event that the bill passes in the Assembly.
Director of Parliamentary Research
Three Senate public bills were adopted at third reading and sent to the House of Commons on October 6: Bill S-208, An Act respecting the Declaration on the Essential Role of Artists and Creative Expression in Canada, Bill S-222, An Act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood), and Bill S-224, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons).
Six government bills received Royal Assent by written declaration during the quarter. Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit), was adopted by the Senate at third reading, without amendment, and received Royal Assent on October 18. Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and Bill C-31, An Act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and rental housing, were passed, without amendment, and received Royal Assent on November 17. On December 15, Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, and Bill C-36, An Act for granting to His Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, were passed by the Senate without amendment. Later that day, Bill C-32, Bill C-36, and Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (COVID-19 response and other measures), received Royal Assent.
The following Senate public bills also received Royal Assent by written declaration during this quarter: Bill S-206, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors), on October 18, as well as Bill S-219, An Act respecting a National Ribbon Skirt Day, and Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), on December 15. On the latter date, Bill C-235, An Act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies, was also passed by the Senate, without amendment, and received Royal Assent.
Chamber and Procedure
On October 6, the Speaker read a message from the House of Commons indicating that it had adopted a motion to extend to February 17, 2023, the deadline for the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying to submit a final report on its review of the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to medical assistance in dying and their application, including a statement of any recommended changes. The Senate adopted a corresponding motion later that day and a message was sent to the Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.
On November 3, during debate at 3rd reading of Bill S-236, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Employment Insurance Regulations (Prince Edward Island), as amended, the bill was referred back to the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry for further consideration.
The sitting of November 16 was suspended immediately after its start because of a power outage. Hydro was not restored before the automatic adjournment of the Senate at 4 p.m. pursuant to a sessional order. As a result, the Speaker recalled the Senate for November 17 to sit one hour earlier than normal.
On November 29, the Senate adopted a motion, as amended, stating that the Senate is of the opinion that the Governor General should take the necessary steps to revoke the honorific style and title of “Honourable” from: (a) any former senator having been convicted of a criminal offence proceeded with by way of indictment; and (b) former Senator Don Meredith, in light of reports of the Senate Ethics Officer and the statement made by the chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration regarding his misconduct.
On December 13, the Senate adopted a motion, as amended, that modified the Senate’s sitting schedule and the items of business to be called and dealt with from December 13 to 15. As a result, on those dates, once the Orders of the Day were called, the Senate only dealt with Government Business and Commons Public Bills. The motion also provided that, notwithstanding a motion adopted on September 21, the sitting of December 14 would continue beyond 4 p.m., if necessary, and adjourn at midnight unless earlier adjourned by motion. Finally, the motion authorized Senate committees to meet for the purpose of considering government business, as well as the committee to which Bill C-235 was referred, if that happened, even though the Senate may then be sitting.
On October 4, Senator Scott Tannas raised a question of privilege about a series of events surrounding the appearance of a witness at a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, which was studying Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. He argued that the timing and content of a newspaper article prior to the appearance constituted an attempt to intimidate the witness. According to the article, a request put to the Commissioner of Lobbying by a member of the House of Commons alleged that the witness, representing an organization opposing the bill, had failed to disclose funding from private organizations when he appeared earlier in the year before a Commons committee.
In his ruling on October 20, the Speaker focused on the nature of the concerns raised as they related to the second and third of the four criteria (rules 13-2(1)(b) and (c)) that must be met to find a prima facie case of privilege. These require that the question of privilege be directly related to the privileges of the Senate, a committee of the Senate, or a senator, and that a question of privilege be raised to correct a grave and serious breach of privilege.
The Speaker noted that during debate on the question of privilege, numerous references were made to proceedings in a committee of the House of Commons and concerns were expressed about how the witness was treated there. He emphasized that the two houses of Parliament are autonomous self-governing institutions and that the Senate has no role in reviewing how the other place chooses to conduct its business. Citing past cases of possible obstruction of witnesses where the actual or potential actions that may have negatively affected the individuals involved were clearly identified, the Speaker stated that, in contrast, in the present case no clear indication was provided as to how the witness before the Senate committee was affected.
The Speaker concluded that the Senate’s privileges were not involved, and the concerns raised were not sufficiently grave or serious to require that the Senate interfere with the interaction between parliamentary autonomy and that of the media. Since the second and third criteria outlined earlier were not met, the Speaker ruled that a prima facie case of privilege had not been established.
Committee of the Whole
Further to a motion adopted on October 4, the Senate resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on October 6 to consider the subject matter of Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit). The Committee heard from Chrystia Freeland, MP, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, accompanied by officials.
On October 6, the Senate adopted the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, entitled The Scars that We Carry: Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Persons in Canada – Part II, and requested a complete and detailed government response at the same time.
On November 15, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs presented its eighth report on Bill S-210, An Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material, with amendments. The report was adopted on December 1.
On November 22, the Senate adopted the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, entitled Treading Water: The impact of and response to the 2021 British Columbia floods, and requested a government response.
On December 14, three committee reports on government bills, one on a Senate public bill and one on a Commons public bill, were presented. The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications presented its third report on Bill C-11, Online Streaming Act, with amendments. The report was adopted with leave later that same day. The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs presented its tenth report on Bill S-11, Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 4, without amendment. The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance presented its eighth report on Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, without amendment.
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs also presented its ninth report on Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to another Act (interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders), with amendments. As of the time of writing, the adoption of the report had yet to be proposed. Finally, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry presented its seventh report on Bill C-235, An Act respecting the building of a green economy in the Prairies, without amendment.
Senator Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler, who was appointed to the Senate on September 26, was introduced and took her seat in the Senate Chamber on October 18.
On November 14, Margo Greenwood was appointed to the Senate, and on November 21, Sharon Burey, Andrew Cardozo and Rebecca Patterson were appointed.
Senator Greenwood, who was appointed to represent British Columbia, is an internationally recognized Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry, with more than 30 years of experience in health fields. She is an author and a longtime professor at the University of Northern British Columbia who has worked extensively in health research, particularly Indigenous health and well-being. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has received many awards for her academic, community and advocacy work. Senator Greenwood was introduced and took her seat on December 1.
Senator Burey will represent Ontario in the Senate. She is a pediatrician and recognized leader for the health and well-being of children in Ontario, who has dedicated her career to equality, and to justice for those living in poverty, visible minorities, and other marginalized communities. Dr. Burey has practiced as a behavioural pediatrician in Ontario for over 30 years and has been an adjunct professor of pediatrics at Western University since 2009. Senator Burey was introduced and took her seat on December 13.
Senator Cardozo, who was appointed to represent Ontario, is a recognized expert on public policy, a columnist, and artist. A think-tank leader, his public policy areas of expertise span Canadian government and politics, multiculturalism, anti-racism, diversity and equity, broadcasting and cultural policy, and skills development and the future of work. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, he was the president of the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy for nearly 10 years. Senator Cardozo was introduced and took his seat on November 29.
Senator Patterson was also appointed to represent the province of Ontario. Rear-Admiral Patterson is a Canadian Armed Forces leader, Defence Champion for Women, and the first person with a military nursing background to ever lead at the rank of Flag (General) Officer. A registered nurse by training, she has held various leadership roles within the Canadian Armed Forces and also has international experience on military deployments to the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Senator Patterson was introduced and took her seat on December 13.
Senator Vernon White resigned from the Senate on October 2. He was appointed to the Senate on January 6, 2012, on the advice Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and represented the province of Ontario. Prior to joining the Senate, he served 24 years in the ranks of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, served as chief of police for the Durham Regional Police Service, and was chief of the Ottawa Police Service from 2007 to 2012. He served on several committees during his 10-year tenure as a senator, including the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, and the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency. He was also a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.
Proceedings of the National Assembly of Québec
The October 3, 2022, general election resulted in 90 seats going to the Coalition avenir Québec, 21 to the Quebec Liberal Party, 11 to Québec solidaire and three to the Parti québécois. The Coalition avenir Québec, therefore, formed a majority government for a second consecutive term. A record number of women were elected in this general election. There are now
58 women in the National Assembly of Québec, for a total of 46.4 per cent of the MNAs.
On October 20, 2022, Premier François Legault announced the composition of his 30-Member Executive Council, which is a near-parity Cabinet as it includes 14 women. An Indigenous woman was appointed Minister for the first time in Québec. Katéri Champagne Jourdain, Member for Duplessis, is now Minister of Employment.
On the same day, on the advice of the Executive Council, the Lieutenant-Governor summoned the National Assembly to meet for the First Session of the Forty-Third Legislature at 2:00 p.m. on November 29, 2022.
On October 12, 2022, the Quebec Liberal Party announced the appointments of Filomena Rotiroti, Member for Jeanne-Mance-Viger, as Chief Whip; Marc Tanguay, Member for LaFontaine, as House Leader; Monsef Derraji, Member for Nelligan, as Deputy House Leader; and Enrico Ciccone, Member for Marquette, as Caucus Chair.
On October 20, 2022, the Government announced the appointments of Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Justice, as House Leader; Eric Lefebvre, Member for Arthabaska, as Chief Whip; and Mario Laframboise, Member for Blainville, as Caucus Chair. In addition, Éric Caire and Mathieu Lévesque, Members for La Peltrie and Chapleau, respectively, were both appointed Deputy House Leaders, and Nancy Guillemette, Geneviève Hébert and Claude Reid, Members for Roberval, Saint-François and Beauharnois, respectively, were appointed Deputy Whips.
On October 27, 2022, Marie-Claude Nichols, Member for Vaudreuil, was expelled from the Quebec Liberal Party caucus and became an independent Member. Dominique Anglade resigned as Leader of the Official Opposition on November 7, 2022, and was officially replaced by Mr. Tanguay on November 10, 2022. Ms. Anglade also resigned as Member for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne on December 1, 2022.
In consequence, the National Assembly is now composed of 124 MNAs: 90 from the Coalition avenir Québec, 19 from the Quebec Liberal Party, 11 from Québec solidaire, three from the Parti québécois and one independent. Since the Quebec Liberal Party has fewer than 20 MNAs, Mr. Ciccone, Member for Marquette, may no longer hold the position of Caucus Chair of the Official Opposition.
On November 14, 2022, the Quebec Liberal Party announced changes to the parliamentary functions of some of its members. Mr. Derraji, Member for Nelligan, was appointed Official Opposition House Leader and Virginie Dufour, Member for Mille-Îles, was appointed Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition.
Oath of allegiance
On October 11, 2022, the Member for Camille-Laurin, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, wrote to the Secretary General requesting that he be allowed to hold office without taking the oath of allegiance provided for in section 128 of the Constitution Act, 1867. On October 13, 2022, the Secretary General replied that he could not respond favourably to the request.
At their respective swearing-in ceremonies on October 19 and 21, 2022, the 11 Québec solidaire MNAs and three Parti québécois MNAs took the oath of office as provided for in section 15 of the Act respecting the National Assembly. However, they did not take the oath of allegiance provided for in the Constitution Act, 1867.
On November 1, 2022, outgoing President
François Paradis (who had not sought re-election on October 3 but was still in office as President) issued a private ruling to the parliamentarians in which he stated that the oath of allegiance was a requirement for taking part in parliamentary proceedings. He ruled that if the Members of Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois did not take the oath, they would not be allowed to take their seats in the National Assembly or in parliamentary committees.
On November 3, 2022, the Québec solidaire MNAs announced that they would take the oath before the resumption of proceedings, which they did, allowing them to take part in the parliamentary proceedings at the start of the new legislature.
On December 1, 2022, the new President of the National Assembly, Nathalie Roy, Member for Montarville, said she would enforce the ruling that her predecessor, Mr. Paradis, had made on November 1, 2022. Since they had not yet taken the oath, the Parti québécois MNAs were not allowed to take their seats in the National Assembly or serve on parliamentary committees.
On December 6, 2022, Bill 4, An Act to recognize the oath provided in the Act respecting the National Assembly as the sole oath required in order to sit in the Assembly, was introduced in the National Assembly. It was assented to on December 9, 2022, thus making it possible for MNAs who had not taken the oath provided for in the Constitution Act, 1867, to participate fully in parliamentary proceedings.
Remote administration of the oath
As they were expecting their first child at any time, the Member for Saint-Laurent, Marwah Rizqy, and the Member for Jacques-Cartier, Gregory Kelley, were authorized to be sworn in remotely. The ceremony took place on October 18, 2022. It was recorded and shown later that day during the swearing-in ceremony for the other Members from the Quebec Liberal Party.
Oath in the Innu language
The Member for Duplessis, Champagne Jourdain, was authorized to take her oath in Innu. During the swearing-in ceremony of the Coalition avenir Québec parliamentarians on October 18, 2022, she took the oath first in French, then in Innu.
Opening of the 43rd Legislature
The First Sitting of the 43rd Legislature opened with the election of the President and Vice-Presidents.
Ms. Roy, Member for Montarville, was elected President without opposition. Chantal Soucy, Member for Saint-Hyacinthe, Sylvain Lévesque, Member for Chauveau, and Frantz Benjamin, Member for Viau, will serve as First Vice-President, Second Vice-President and Third Vice-President, respectively.
The second sitting was devoted to the Lieutenant Governor’s address and the Premier’s opening speech. At the end of his speech, Premier Legault moved that the Assembly approve the Government’s general policy.
The following sittings were devoted to the debate on the Premier’s opening speech, which ended on December 9, 2022, after over 23 hours of debate and 111 speakers.
Agreement and amendments to the Standing Orders
On November 29, 2022, the Agreement relating to the concept of parliamentary group, to the conduct of proceedings in the Assembly and in parliamentary committees, to budgetary aspects and to other measures promoting work-family balance was tabled. The Agreement was made in particular “to recognize, for the duration of the 43rd Legislature, Québec solidaire as the Second Opposition Group and the Parti québécois as the Third Opposition Group, subject to certain terms and conditions”. It also provides that the Assembly administration be mandated to set up an electronic voting system in the Assembly Chamber no later than the beginning of the fall 2023 session. The bill to ratify the Agreement was passed on December 2, 2022.
The agreement also led to the adoption of temporary and permanent amendments to the Standing Orders and Rules of Procedure of the Assembly on November 30, 2022. The permanent amendments included increasing the number of statements by Members per sitting to 12 and making the digital tabling of documents official. The temporary amendments included the adoption of a new sitting schedule for the regular sitting period, namely, the same schedule that was adopted during the pandemic.
Between November 28, 2022, and the end of the sessional period on December 9, 2022, 10 bills were introduced in the Assembly. Three of these bills, all Government bills, were passed and assented to:
Bill 4, An Act to recognize the oath provided in the Act respecting the National Assembly as the sole oath required in order to sit in the Assembly;
Bill 5, An Act to ratify the Agreement relating to the concept of parliamentary group, to the conduct of proceedings in the Assembly and in parliamentary committees, to budgetary aspects and to other measures promoting work-family balance.
Proceedings of the committees
Here are some highlights regarding parliamentary committee proceedings for the period from October to December 2022.
As previously mentioned, the parliamentarians entered into an agreement that led to temporary amendments to the National Assembly’s Standing Orders (SO) and Rules of Procedure. The amendments concerning committees related to the following, in particular:
Ordinary hours of meeting: the schedule that was applied during the pandemic will now be valid for the entire duration of the 43rd Legislature. The number of hours that committees may sit remains similar to that of past legislatures, but there are a few differences from the original schedule in the Standing Orders. The main changes are as follows:
On Tuesday, committees may meet from 9:45 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., with the proceedings being suspended from 12:30 p.m. until the end of Routine Proceedings at approximately 3:30 p.m., instead of from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with the proceedings being suspended from noon until the end of the Routine Proceedings;
On Wednesday, committees may meet from the end of the Routine Proceedings (around 11:30 a.m.) until 6:30 p.m., with the proceedings being suspended from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., whereas previously committees could sit until 6:00 p.m.;
On Thursdays, committees may meet from the end of the Routine Proceedings (around 11:30 a.m.) until 4:30 p.m., with the proceedings being suspended from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., whereas previously committees could sit until 6:00 p.m., with the proceedings being suspended from 1:00 p.m. to
Members of parliamentary committees: the committees are each composed of 10 members: six from the parliamentary group forming the Government, three from the Official Opposition and one from the Second Opposition Group. If an independent MNA serves on a committee, then an additional member is appointed from the parliamentary group forming the Government, and the committee’s membership increases to 12.
Vice-chairs: the Committee on Public Administration and the Committee on Citizen Relations each have a second vice-chair.
Temporary chairs: the list of temporary committee chairs is composed of 13 MNAs from the parliamentary group forming the Government and three MNAs from the Official Opposition. The temporary chairs are authorized to replace the chair of a committee when no vice-chair is available.
Virtual meetings: if the committee room has the required technology, witnesses are heard by video conference unless they expressly request to be heard in person. With the unanimous consent of the committee members, MNAs may also sit in a hybrid or fully virtual mode during public hearings held during any period outside the sessional periods when the National Assembly is sitting. During the virtual meetings, the MNA who chairs the committee and the committee secretariat staff must be present at the Parliament Building. The Committee on Public Administration is allowed to hold its deliberative meetings virtually.
Allocation of Speaking Time: speaking time for public hearings and for resumption of the debate on the Budget Speech is allocated as follows:
50 per cent to the committee members from the parliamentary group forming the Government
50 per cent to the committee members from the opposition, distributed in a way that reflects the proportion, in terms of numbers of committee members, of each opposition group represented on the committee, taking into account any independent Member.
Estimates of Expenditure: consideration of the annual estimates of expenditure in committee is reduced from 200 hours to 120 hours, of which the Members in opposition have 100 hours to speak and the parliamentary group forming the Government has
Finally, it should be noted that for the purposes of parliamentary committee proceedings, the MNAs belonging to the Third Opposition Group are considered independent Members. The Agreement (French only) is available on the Assembly’s website.
Formation of the committees and elections
In accordance with Standing Order 127, the Committee on the National Assembly met on December 2, 2022, to form the parliamentary committees. During the meeting, the members of the Committee determined the composition of the various committees, adopted the list of temporary chairs and set the date for the committees’ first meeting to elect their chairs and vice-chairs. On December 6, 2022, the committees held the elections. The officers elected for each committee are in the table below.
Sittings and Parliamentary Procedure Directorate
Parliamentary Committees Directorate
Committee on Public Administration (CPA)
RIZQY , Marwah
CARON, Vincent (Portneuf)
LABRIE, Christine (Sherbrooke)
Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries,
ST-LOUIS , François
Committee on Planning and the Public Domain (CAT)
Committee on Culture and Education (CCE)
Committee on Labour and the Economy (CET)
Committee on Public Finance
Committee on Institutions
GARCEAU, Brigitte B.
Committee on Citizen Relations
CARON, Linda (La Pinière)
Committee on Health and Social Services (CSSS)
MORIN, André Albert
Committee on Transportation and the Environment (CTE)