Newfoundland and Labrador
The 48th General Assembly of the House of Assembly resumed on March 8. Following the approbation of Speaker Tom Osborne, who was elected on December 18, Lieutenant Governor Frank F. Fagan delivered the Speech from the Throne.
Bill 1, which in this jurisdiction is not merely pro forma, was An Act To Establish An Independent Appointments Commission And To Require A Merit-Based Process For Various Appointments. This legislation was the fulfillment of an election promise. The five-member commission appointed on recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council on Resolution of the House of Assembly is chaired by former Premier and former Chief Justice Clyde K. Wells.
In commemoration of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who were killed in the First World War, the House adopted a temporary proceeding, Honour 100, during which the names of those who were killed in the First World War were read out by a different Member each day until all 1600 names had been read. Following the reading of the final 41 names the Members sang the Provincial Anthem, the Ode to Newfoundland, which was the National Anthem of the Dominion of Newfoundland during the First World War.
The Budget, which included some significant measures taken to address the provincial deficit, was passed on May 31.
On May 19, Paul Lane, MHA for Mount Pearl North and Deputy Chair of Committees, voted with the Opposition on a Private Member’s Resolution calling on Government to eliminate a deficit reduction levy, one of the measures announced in the Budget. The following day the Member was removed from the Government caucus and sat as an Independent. In 2014 Mr. Lane had left the Government Caucus to sit with the Opposition. Brian Warr, MHA for Baie Verte – Green Bay, was appointed Deputy Chair of Committees on May 19.
The House sat from 1:30 p.m. on June 6 to 1:10 p.m. on June 7, and then from 1:30 p.m. on June 7 to approximately to 5:50 p.m. on June 9. The prolonged debate related to Bill 14, An Act To Amend The Income Tax Act, 2000 No. 2, which imposes a temporary deficit reduction levy on taxable income, and Bill 19 An Act To Amend The Revenue Administration Act No. 2, which imposes a retail sales tax on insurance premiums.
During the Spring sitting the House passed 38 Bills including the Supply Act authorizing the Province’s estimated $7,934,237,500 expenditure for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
The House adjourned on June 7 (calendar, June 9) sine die.
The spring sitting of the fifth session of the 40th Parliament adjourned on May 19, 2016. Prior to adjournment, Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon attended the Legislative Assembly to give Royal Assent to 19 government bills and one private bill. Among these were Bill 2, the Great Bear Rainforest (Forest Management) Act, which protects most of the globe’s largest intact temperate rainforest on British Columbia’s central coast from logging, and Bill 23, the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, which requires all public post-secondary institutions to establish sexual misconduct policies within one year. Thirty-seven private members’ bills were also introduced during this session.
The Legislative Assembly also convened a special four-day summer sitting on July 25, 2016 to enable the City of Vancouver to impose a vacancy tax on empty homes. Legislation to implement this measure, and to add an additional 15 per cent property transfer tax on Vancouver real estate purchased by foreign nationals – Bill 28, Miscellaneous Statutes (Housing Priority Initiatives) Amendment Act, 2016 – received Royal Assent on July 28, 2016. Royal Assent was also given for Bill 27, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2016 – which amends the provincial Human Rights Code to explicitly protect gender rights and gender expression, following unanimous agreement to advance the legislation through all stages in one day.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Linda Reid, ruled on May 17, 2016, on a point of order raised by Andrew Weaver, Member for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. The Member had expressed concern that the Committee of Supply had not properly completed consideration of the estimates of the Office of the Premier because a pause in the proceedings in order to confer and clarify with Committee Members on the status of business had resulted in the Committee being improperly constituted and unable to consider or adopt the motion regarding the estimates in question. The Speaker indicated that such informal pauses were not unusual, as Presiding Officers often consult informally with Members during proceedings to clarify the status of business, or to coordinate matters relating to the management of business. The Speaker concluded that the Committee of Supply had remained properly constituted at all times, correct procedures had been followed, the Premier’s final motions had been moved with the unanimous consent of the Members present, and, accordingly, the proceedings had been in order.
Rules for Tabling Reports
On May 3, 2016, the Speaker made a statement in the Legislative Assembly reminding all statutory officers that their reports must be tabled in the House before they are publicly released.
A high level of parliamentary committee work continued, with eight committees active during the reporting period, including the following:
On May 10, 2016, the Select Standing Committee on Health released its report entitled Improving End-of-Life Care for British Columbians. The report recommended that an integrated and interdisciplinary palliative model of care be implemented, including appropriate supports and services for families and caregivers, and advance care planning. Continuing their work, on June 7, 2016, the Committee launched public consultations, seeking submissions on how to ensure the quality and sustainability of BC’s health care system. The Committee posed questions regarding health care services in rural BC, interdisciplinary teams, and addiction recovery programs. In July, the Committee held public hearings in four communities across the province. The deadline for written submissions was July 29, 2016.
The Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, established under the Act’s requirement for a statutory review by a special committee every six years, completed its work and released its report on May 11, 2016. The Committee heard 24 presentations and received 169 written submissions from experts, stakeholders, and citizens. The report’s 39 recommendations included proposals for government to enhance proactive disclosure, create a duty to document key decisions and actions by public bodies, implement an information management framework, and require mandatory notification to affected individuals about significant privacy breaches.
On May 18, 2016, the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills released its report recommending that Private Bill 401, the Millar College of the Bible Act, proceed to second reading. On May 19, 2016, the Committee released a second report advising that, pursuant to the Statute Revision Act, the Committee had recommended to the Lieutenant Governor that proposed revisions to the Municipal Replotting Act be approved and brought into force.
Blessing and Presentation of the Talking Stick
On May 11, 2016, there was the official ceremony to bless the Talking Stick. It was a special event that included a traditional First Nations prayer in the Sencoten language by Elder Mary Anne Thomas from the Esquimalt First Nation and Elder Elmer George from the Songhees First Nation. The Talking Stick was carved by James Delorme, and first given to former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point in 2010 as a gift from the Songhees First Nation to commemorate the Salish Sea Naming Ceremony. The Talking Stick is now displayed in the Chamber to serve as a reminder that First Nations and reconciliation should be a consideration in all debates and discussions in the Legislative Assembly.
BC Memorial Quilt
On May 10, 2016, the Chamber welcomed a prayer led by Deputy Chief Councillor Wanda Good of the Gitanyow First Nation, said in the Gitxsanimaax language, to commemorate the unveiling of the BC Memorial Quilt. The quilt is a memorial to missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in BC. In January 2016, over 350 family members from across BC and Canada met in Prince George, BC, for a three-day gathering of healing and memoriam. The quilt is approximately three metres wide by 2.5 metres long, and includes 90 patches embroidered with messages and symbols of remembrance from family members of the victims. The quilt is prominently displayed in the Lower Rotunda, and is on display until September 2016.
2nd Session of the 29th Legislature
The 2nd Session of the 29th Legislature adjourned for the summer on June 7, 2016, and is expected to resume on October 31, 2016. During the spring sitting the Assembly passed 21 Government Bills, two Private Members’ Public Bills, and one Private Bill.
Bill 20, Climate Leadership Implementation Act, often referred to as the “Carbon Tax Bill” was perhaps the most contentious Bill of the session. After considering 21 proposed amendments, and many hours of debate, including one evening sitting that carried on past 4:00 a.m., the Bill was passed on June 7, 2016, the final day of the spring session. The new carbon levy, which will come into effect on January 1, 2017, is anticipated to generate over $9 billion in revenue over five years. Some of these funds will be returned or redistributed through rebates for lower income families, a reduction in small business taxes, and assistance to Indigenous communities and coal-producing communities. The remaining funds collected will be used to create new jobs and diversify the province’s energy industry with investment in large scale renewable energy and other technologies, and green infrastructure such as public transit.
Forest Fires and Evacuation of Fort McMurray
In May, the devastation wrought by forest fires in northern Alberta and the related evacuation of the City of Fort McMurray and surrounding communities affected the work of the Assembly and its Members. Members were impacted both personally and professionally as they sought to confirm the safety of friends and family and provide assistance to northern evacuees. Premier Rachel Notley frequently travelled to the northern areas of the province during the initial stages of the emergency and ministerial statements provided regular updates of the status of the fire. MLAs from the Fort McMurray region, the Leader of the Official Opposition, Brian Jean (Fort McMurray-Conklin) and Tany Yao (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) were directly affected by the mandatory evacuation of the area. Mr. Yao spent years serving in the Fort McMurray Fire Department, including time as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Operations – EMS, and Mr. Jean is among the many residents whose home was destroyed by the fire.
The schedule of the Assembly was also impacted during the emergency period. The House adjourned early on May 4, 2016, multiple evening sessions were required, and ultimately the spring session ran two days longer than anticipated. A meeting of the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee was cancelled, and although the schedule for consideration of the main estimates was adjusted twice, the estimates of the Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Executive Council were eventually represented by other members of Cabinet.
On July 8, 2016, the Standing Committee on Families and Communities released the report on its review of the Mental Health Amendment Act, 2007. The Report contained six recommendations including amendments to the current Mental Health Act and the Community Treatment Order Regulation. Having completed this review the Committee will begin consideration of Bill 203, Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Pricing Protection for Consumers) Amendment Act.
On June 2, 2016, the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship was deemed to be the special committee of the Assembly for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive review of the Lobbyists Act pursuant to section 21 of that Act. The Committee must submit its report to the Assembly within one year after beginning its review and that report is to include any amendments recommended by the Committee.
Also on June 2, 2016, the Assembly passed a motion referring the Child and Youth Advocate Act to the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive review pursuant to section 23 of that Act. The Committee held its first meeting on this matter on June 22, 2016, and has a year from this date to complete its review and report back to the Assembly.
On November 5, 2015, the Assembly referred the review of the operation of the new morning sittings to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing. Morning sittings are not held during the period in which the main estimates are under review but outside of this time period they are scheduled from 10:00 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays, and 9:00 a.m. until noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays. After working with these new hours for the latter portion off the fall session, and the entire spring session, the Committee held its first meeting on the issue on June 22, 2016. The Committee has invited the House Leaders, Independent Members of the Assembly, the Clerk of the Assembly, and the Ministry of Infrastructure to present their experiences and assessments of the operation of the new sitting hours. The Committee must complete its review and report its recommendations to the Assembly by October 27, 2016.
The Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee is continuing its review of the four pieces of legislation included in its mandate: the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, the Election Act, and the Conflicts of Interest Act. The Committee was given a one year review period and must report its findings before the end of September 2016.
1st Session of the 41st Legislature
The 1st session of the new Legislature began soon after the election on May 16, 2016. The first item of business was the election of a new Speaker by secret ballot. After the first round of ballots Myrna Driedger (Charleswood) was elected as Speaker. Ms. Driedger was first elected as MLA in 1998 and has held a number of diverse critic roles in the past including that of Interim Leader of the PC Party of Manitoba.
Later that same day, the Brian Pallister government presented its 1st Speech from the Throne. Delivered by Janice C. Filmon, the Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, the address identified a range of government commitments and proposals, including:
- implementing a comprehensive, value-for-money review across government;
- establishing ‘Fair Say’ for municipalities on strategic infrastructure investments and committing to long-term, strategic infrastructure investments including improved flood protection;
- creating a Premier’s Enterprise Team;
- developing a framework for consultation with Indigenous communities;
- pursuing membership in the New West Partnership agreement and pledging support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership;
- championing tourism investment through Travel Manitoba’s Plan 96/4 and developing partnerships in tourism opportunities in Manitoba’s north;
- reducing ambulance fees, establishing a wait times reduction task force, and taking initial steps toward implementing our plan for the construction of additional personal care home beds;
- introducing the Protecting Children Act to facilitate collaboration and sharing of critical information;
- developing a made-in-Manitoba climate action plan that is both consultative and innovative;
- abolishing the subsidy for political parties and restoring Manitobans’ right to vote on major tax increases;
Interim Official Opposition Leader Flor Marcelino’s (Logan) non-confidence amendment to the Address in Reply motion included a number of observations and commentaries on the government’s plans. In particular, the amendment claimed that the government failed to;
- present a positive and inclusive vision for all Manitobans;
- acknowledge and commit to implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
- commit to ensuring a successful and participatory national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
- commit to keeping public and social services public;
- commit to protecting and enhancing the rights of LGBTQ persons, persons living with disabilities, and workers;
- commit to focus on environmental and water protection;
- commit to increase the minimum wage
Later in the debate, Independent Member Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows) moved a sub-amendment condemning the government’s failure to:
- commit to the timely construction of the road network connecting communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg;
- commit to improving and enhancing the Provincial nominee program;
- commit to addressing the urgent need for First Nations housing; and
- commit to implement a plan to improve nutrition and to decrease diabetes in the Province.;
- acknowledge and commit to implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Following the defeat of Ms. Lamoureux’ sub-amendment on May 26, 2016 by a vote of yeas 16, nays 37, the Official Opposition’s amendment was defeated on a vote of yeas 14, nays 40. Finally, the same day the main motion was carried on a vote of yeas 37, nays 17.
On May 31, 2016, new Finance Minister Cameron Friesen (Morden-Winkler) delivered his first budget. Highlights of the government’s budget included:
- indexing of the basic personal exemption as of Jan. 1, 2017 and indexing of income tax brackets to the rate of inflation;
- $220-million increase in funding for health care to support ACCESS centres, health-care centres and hospitals in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, the provincial oncology drug program and other health-care services;
- 37-million increase in funding for education and training including increase in funding for schools to support initiatives in early years reading, new schools, resources for at-risk and Indigenous students, the full implementation of the masters of social worker – Indigenous knowledge program at the University of Manitoba, and operating increases of 2.5 per cent for universities and two per cent for colleges;
- increased provincial contribution to new construction, improvement and maintenance costs through the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation; support for early learning and child care; increased resources for the victims of crime; and additional resources to provide supports for Syrian refugees; and
- $1.8 billion for strategic infrastructure funding.
During her contribution to the budget debate on June 1, 2016, Interim Official Opposition Leader Ms. Marcelino moved a motion expressing non-confidence in the government, which stated that the budget failed to:
- clarify the definition of “front line worker” and what services will be protected;
- make the results of cross-government, private sector spending reviews open and transparent to the public;
- ensure to the hard working people of Manitoba that the Provincial Government’s value-for-money audit will not result in job losses;
- address wage concerns of low income Manitoba families by not increasing the minimum wage;
- provide any additional resources for needed early childhood education spaces for Manitoba families;
- commit to a comprehensive early learning program;
- address the needs of persons living with disabilities;
- commit resources necessary to address the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
- provide community and career assistance to new immigrants in the province;
- advance initiatives for northern Manitoba;
- preserve needed supports and relief for seniors and middle income Manitobans; and
- provide any new supports for safer communities.
On the same day, Independent Member Jon Gerrard (River Heights) moved a sub-amendment, stating that the budget failed to commit, among others, to:
- address the root causes of prescription drugs, alcohol and street drug addiction;
- eliminate ambulance fees for low income seniors;
- establish Youth Justice Committees;
- act immediately to address the long wait times in emergency rooms;
- reduce the number of children in care of Child and Family Services;
- balancing the budget in four years;
- ensure the health of Lake Winnipeg;
- act immediately in addressing the diabetes epidemic;
- addressing the high cost of food in remote Northern communities; and
- the completing of the east side road of Lake Winnipeg.
On June 7, 2016 the sub-amendment was defeated on a voice vote. Subsequently, Ms. Marcelino’s amendment was defeated on a recorded vote of yeas 16, nays 37, while the main budget motion carried on a recorded vote of yeas 38, nays 16.
The first session of this new Legislature saw the introduction of fifteen Government and Private Bills addressing a variety of governance areas. Before the adjournment of the House on June 30th, five Bills received Royal Assent including:
Bill 3 – The Mental Health Amendment Act, which enables someone who is not a peace officer but who has been appointed to a specified position, or who has received the required training, to stay with a person at a facility until an involuntary medical examination or a psychiatric assessment has been completed;
Bill 5 – The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act, which establishes the role of the minister responsible for Francophone Affairs, the Francophone Affairs Secretariat and the Francophone Affairs Advisory Council. In addition, public bodies, such as government departments and specified Crown corporations, and independent officers must have approved French-language services plans.
Committee of Supply
The Committee of Supply began consideration of the Estimates of the Departmental Expenditures in June. During this period, resolutions to approve departmental spending for certain departments were passed, and in some departments motions to reduce minister’s salaries were moved and defeated. On Friday June 24, the Committee completed consideration of the Estimates and the following week moved to consider the concurrence motion. By June 30, the Committee completed all the steps relating to the budget process and the House passed The Budget Implementation and Tax Statutes Amendment Act, 2016, The Appropriation Act, 2016, and The Loan Act, 2016.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts met for the first time in June and Matt Wiebe (Concordia) was elected as the new Chairperson, while Reg Helwer (Brandon West) was elected as the new Vice-Chairperson. The Committee met again before the end of the month for an orientation session with the participation of the Auditor General and his staff.
In addition, the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs met on June 28 to hear public presentations and consider the two Bills that the House passed before the summer break. The Standing Committee on Crown Corporations recently met on July 19 to consider reports from The Workers Compensation Board.
On June 21, 2016, the House passed a government motion which set the sitting schedule for June, the adjournment on June 30, 2016 and stated the matters to be complete before adjournment.
In addition, the motion outlined the fall sittings dates from October 3 to November 10, 2016, all the steps to be taken to complete government business, and the commencement of the Second Session of the 41st Legislature on November 21 until December 2, 2016.
Current Party Standings
The current party standings in the Manitoba Legislature are: Progressive Conservatives 40, NDP 14, with three Independent members.
Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
The second session of the 58th Legislative Assembly opened on December 1, 2015, and adjourned on July 8, 2016, sitting a total of 39 days. The reduced number of sitting days, compared to previous sessions, was the result of bills and estimates being referred to separate standing committees, which would meet during weeks the House was adjourned. During the session, the Standing Committee on Economic Policy, chaired by MLA Gilles LePage, met 16 days to consider various government bills, while the Standing Committee on Estimates and Fiscal Policy, chaired by MLA Bernard LeBlanc, met 15 days to consider departmental estimates.
During the session, 36 bills received Royal Assent. Bills introduced near the end of the session that were of particular interest included:
Bill 41, New Brunswick Women’s Council Act, introduced by Premier Brian Gallant, established an independent body to represent New Brunswick women, to provide advice to government on matters of importance to women and their substantive equality, and to include and engage women of diverse identities, experiences and communities.
Bill 43, An Act to Amend the Post-Secondary Student Financial Assistance Act, introduced by Minister Francine Landry, created the tuition access bursary to provide upfront financial assistance to qualifying students from families with an annual income of $60,000 or less and who are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate program at a publicly funded university or college in New Brunswick. The provincial government will pay the difference between the federal low-income or middle-income grant provided to an eligible student and the amount owing for that student’s tuition.
Prior to the House adjourning for the summer, the Official Opposition introduced 19 bills, including separate bills, introduced by MLA Stewart Fairgrieve, for each of the eight legislative officers that would require the establishment of a selection committee not fewer than 90 days before the end of the term of an officer or within 30 days if an office becomes vacant more than a year before the end of the term of an officer.
Significant changes to Cabinet were announced on June 6, including the appointment of Cathy Rogers as New Brunswick’s first female Finance Minister. Ms. Rogers had been serving as Minister of Social Development. In addition, two MLAs were added to Cabinet: Lisa Harris as Minister responsible for Seniors and Long-Term Care and Minister responsible for Celtic Affairs, and John Ames as Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.
The full list of Ministers is as follows: Mr. Gallant, Premier; Stephen Horsman, Deputy Premier, Minister responsible for Families and Children; Denis Landry, Minister of Justice and Public Safety; Donald Arseneault, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; Rick Doucet, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Minister of Energy and Resource Development, Government House Leader; Victor Boudreau, Minister of Health, Deputy Government House Leader; Ed Doherty, Minister of Service New Brunswick; Brian Kenny, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development; Bill Fraser, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Roger Melanson, President of the Treasury Board; Ms. Landry, Minister of Economic Development; Ms. Rogers, Minister of Finance; Serge Rousselle, Minister of Environment and Local Government, Attorney General; Mr. Ames, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture; Ms. Harris, Minister responsible for Seniors and Long-Term Care.
On May 25, a discussion guide entitled Building a Stronger New Brunswick Response to Climate Change was filed and referred to the Select Committee on Climate Change, chaired by MLA Andrew Harvey. The guide presents background information on climate change in a New Brunswick context, discusses potential actions that could be taken, and asks important questions to help stimulate discussion. In June and July, the Committee met with representatives from the Department of Environment and Local Government and various experts on climate change. The Committee is expected to consult the public during hearings scheduled for late August and early September, with the intent of releasing a final report by mid-October.
On July 5, Deputy Government House Leader Victor Boudreau tabled a discussion paper entitled Strengthening New Brunswick’s Democracy. The purpose of the paper is to examine democratic reform in the province, including eliminating barriers to entering politics for underrepresented groups, and investigating a means to improve participation in democracy, such as preferential ballots and online voting. Other issues for consideration include the voting age, and political contribution and spending rules. It is anticipated that the discussion paper will be used to consult the public on the issues and options presented.
A joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by MLA Trevor Holder, and the Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, chaired by Bertrand LeBlanc, was held on June 15. The Committees considered Auditor General Kim MacPherson’s report entitled Report of the Auditor General of New Brunswick 2016 Volume I, Performance Audit. It detailed the Auditor General’s findings on nursing homes, public trustee services, and agricultural fair associations.
The Legislature adjourned on July 8 and is expected to resume sitting on November 2. The standings in the House are 26 Liberals, 22 Progressive Conservatives, and 1 Green.
The spring/summer quarters were extremely busy for Canada’s Senate, including changes in composition and operations that have been underway since the start of the 42nd Parliament. The Upper House continues to adapt to the changing leadership structures, and activities identified in the previous legislative report, such as the attendance of ministers at Question Period, have continued.
The most debated piece of legislation in this period was Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying). The Senate began its consideration of the legislation by initiating a pre-study before the bill left the House of Commons. In May, the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs met over five days and heard from 43 witnesses, including ministers and departmental officials, doctors, lawyers, members of the academic community and other interested stakeholders. The committee reported back to the Senate on its pre-study on May 17 and made 10 recommendations as well as eight more supported by a minority in the committee. Many of the recommendations were similar to those contained in the report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Death. On May 31, C-14 received first reading in the Senate. The same day, a motion was passed for the Senate to resolve itself into Committee of the Whole the following sitting day to hear from the Ministers of Justice and Health on the subject matter of the bill. Each minister appeared separately for two hours, with the proceedings being televised. After lengthy debate at second reading, the bill itself was sent to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for study. The committee chose not to amend the legislation; rather it opted to allow the Chamber as a whole to consider amendments proposed at third reading stage, permitting more Senators to be part of those proceedings. A motion was adopted to establish the detailed parameters for proceedings at third reading. In particular, the normal restriction on speaking only once was lifted, senators were able to move more than one amendment and debate was generally organized by specific themes.
Third reading debate began on June 8 and extended over six days. During this time, the Senate adopted numerous amendments, one of which was proposed by Senator Serge Joyal and significantly changed the eligibility criteria so that assisted death would be available to all individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition whether or not they were at the end of life, as proposed by the House of Commons. The Senate sent the bill, as amended, to the House of Commons. Senator Joyal’s amendment was rejected, but the House accepted other amendments including one proposed by Senator Nicole Eaton setting out the requirement that a person seeking medical assistance in dying be informed of the palliative care options. The Senate considered the Commons’ message to accept some amendments while modifying or rejecting others on June 17. The Senate eventually agreed to the Commons’ proposal, and the bill received Royal Assent by written declaration later that day.
Other legislation of note included Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures. The bill provides, amongst other things, for a labour relations regime for members of the RCMP and reservists. After second reading, the bill was sent to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for study and the committee reported the bill back with amendments. The amendments related to the protection of management rights, ensuring a secret ballot, removing exclusions from collective bargaining, ensuring the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has the necessary authority to interpret legislation, and amendments consequential to these changes. The Senate adopted the bill with amendments and returned it to the Commons.
In early May, Senator Claude Carignan raised a point of order relating to the announcement from Senator Peter Harder that Senator Diane Bellemare would be styled as the Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative, and Senator Grant Mitchell would be styled as the Government Liaison with both performing the usual functions of Deputy Leader and Whip, respectively. Senator Carignan’s objection was that neither of these positions is recognized in the Rules of the Senate. Further, he asked whether these two senators would be entitled to the additional remuneration provided for the Government Deputy Leader and the Government Whip under the Parliament of Canada Act. On May 19, Speaker Furey ruled that flexibility in these cases should be permitted. Citing various examples over the years, including the creation of a Speaker pro tempore (Deputy Speaker), as well as various divisional designation by Senators, the Speaker stated “…formal requirements need not always be rigidly binding. There can, within reason, be a level of adaptability that takes account of specific circumstances.”
On June 16, Senator Pierrette Ringuette raised a Question of Privilege respecting her affiliation as it appears on the Senate’s website. Her complaint was that she was being shown as “non-affiliated,” rather than “independent,” as was previously the case. She noted that this change, authorized by the Internal Economy Committee in May, was made without consulting the affected senators. On June 22, Speaker Furey ruled that there was no prima facie case of privilege. He did, however, recommend that the issue of the designation as “independent” or “non-affiliated” be referred to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to conduct a thorough examination of the subject, canvassing the views of senators, noting past practice, and soliciting information from other jurisdictions.
David P. Smith (Cobourg) of Ontario retired from the Senate on May 16 after serving nearly 14 years. Appointed to the Senate in 2002 on the advice of Prime Minister Chrétien, Senator Smith had previously served as a Member of Parliament between 1980 and 1984, representing the constituency of Don Valley East. He served in Cabinet as the Minister of State for Small Businesses and Tourism during 1983-1984. Senator Smith, a lawyer, was also a key figure on several election campaigns over his career.
Despite the very long hours in the Chamber in May and June, Senate committees continued their consideration of legislation, in addition to their work on special studies. Several committees issued significant reports during this period, such as the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce’s June report on interprovincial trade barriers. In the report, entitled Tear down these walls: Dismantling Canada’s internal trade barriers, the committee makes seven recommendations to the government. The committee recommended that the federal and provincial/territorial governments urgently work towards concluding the negotiations for a renewed Agreement on Internal Trade to be finalized by July 1, 2017.
At the beginning of each session, the Committee of Selection reports to the Senate with its recommendations for committee memberships. As part of the mandate of the committee, it is also empowered to propose to the Senate changes in the membership of a committee. The arrival of the seven new senators came after the adoption of the initial report, so the committee met again in early June to re-examine committee memberships. It reported to the Senate for adjustments to the composition of committees, taking into account the new Senators as well as the general increase in the number of senators who are not members of a recognized party. After some debate, the report was adopted prior to the summer adjournment.
First Session of the Twenty-Eighth Legislature
The first session of the twenty-eighth legislature began on May 17, 2016 with the election of Speaker. Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield later delivered the Speech from the Throne.
On May 18, a sessional order was adopted which outlines the sitting periods for the first session of the twenty-eighth legislature. The parliamentary calendar is currently not in effect because the government may begin the first session of a new Legislature at any time.
The first session will be divided into three sitting periods. The first sitting period was adjourned on June 30. The fall sitting will begin on October 19 and conclude on November 30, 2016. The third sessional period will convene on March 6, 2017 and the parliamentary calendar will be followed at that time.
Election of Speaker
The Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected by secret ballot in Saskatchewan. Members may submit their names to be considered for the role of Speaker or Deputy Speaker. The candidate with the majority of votes assumes the respective roles.
Corey Tochor was elected as Speaker for the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. This was the first time in our history that three candidates put their names forward and a second ballot was required to determine a Speaker. Greg Brkich, MLA for Arm River, was defeated in the first round of voting. A second ballot was required to elect Mr. Tochor in the role of Speaker. The unsuccessful candidate, Dan D’Autremont, was the Speaker for the twenty-seventh legislature. Mr. Tochor was first elected as the MLA for Saskatoon Eastview in 2011.
On May 18, Glen Hart, MLA for Last Mountain-Touchwood, was declared Deputy Speaker by acclamation. Delbert Kirsch, MLA for Batoche, was appointed Deputy Chair of Committees.
On June 8, the Standing Committee on Crown and Central Agencies held a public hearing on The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Amendment Act, 2016. The bill revoked Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority’s status as a Crown corporation. As a requirement of subsection 5(1) of The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act, public hearings are required at first reading of any bill amending or revoking any organization’s status as a Crown corporation.
The Standing Committee on Human Services will conduct an inquiry and make recommendations to the Assembly respecting improving the rate of organ and tissue donation in Saskatchewan. Hearings were scheduled for the first two weeks of September, and the committee will report its recommendations back to the Assembly by November 30, 2016.
On June 1, budget information, as part of an embargoed New Democratic Party news release, was prematurely made public. The 2016-17 budget was tabled by the Minister of Finance, Kevin Doherty, later that day.
Government House Leader, Ken Cheveldayoff, raised a matter of privilege in regards to the leak on June 1. On June 2, the Speaker found that a prima facie case had been established. The Assembly agreed to the following motion on division:
That the early release of embargoed budget information by the Member from Saskatoon Nutana and the opposition caucus clearly constitutes contempt of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan by preventing all members from exercising their duties and responsibilities as Members of the Legislative Assembly; and further
That this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges for a full investigation and a report with a remedy to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
The Standing Committee on Privileges reported its recommendations back to the Assembly on June 14. The Assembly agreed on division that the 2017-18 budget document would be provided to a single opposition MLA who will be personally responsible for ensuring the embargo agreement is honoured. No further sanctions were imposed.
The Ontario Legislature wrapped up a busy spring sitting on June 9, 2016, with 13 public bills receiving Royal Assent during May and June.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
On May 30, the House adjourned during pleasure to allow for remarks on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Premier Kathleen Wynne addressed the House with the government’s official response to the Commission’s report. She offered a formal apology for the abuses suffered by Ontario’s indigenous people, and announced the release of a government report that outlines how Ontario is further responding to the Commission’s findings and calls to action. As part of its response, the government renamed its Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Official Opposition leader Patrick Brown and Third Party leader Andrea Horwath also addressed the House. The three leaders’ speeches not only commented on the Commission’s work but also touched on the history of the province’s indigenous people, with particular reference to the residential school system, including the personal stories and struggles of survivors.
In response, six guests from Ontario’s indigenous communities made remarks: Isadore Day, Ontario Regional Chief; Margaret Froh, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario; Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Sheila McMahon, President of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association; and Andrew Wesley, a survivor of the residential school system. Each of their narratives highlighted their community’s perspective during this historic event.
The last dignitary to address the Ontario Legislature was Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard in May 2015, and before that was Japanese Ambassador Kaoru Ishikawa in April 2011.
On June 9, Speaker Dave Levac ruled on a question of privilege raised by Jim Wilson, Member for Simcoe—Grey, regarding the government’s proposed climate change action plan. The plan was seemingly released to the media before its announcement or tabling in the House, and the Member contended that this amounted to contempt of the House. Mr. Wilson asserted that the relevant legislation has a provision that required the plan to be tabled in the House before it was made public. As Speakers traditionally avoid interpreting laws, the Speaker could not rule on the interpretation of the particular provision cited by Mr. Wilson.
On the same question of privilege, Mr. Wilson also cited rulings by Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons relating to the premature disclosure of the contents of bills prior to their introduction in the House. The Standing Orders of the House of Commons require 48 hours’ notice before bills can be introduced in the House and their Speakers have ruled that premature disclosure of “bills on notice” amounted to a prima facie case. In the Ontario Standing Orders, bills are not placed on notice. Therefore, the House of Commons rulings were not applicable in this case and Speaker Levac was unable to find a prima facie case of contempt.
Despite this ruling, the Speaker reminded Members that “previous Speakers have expressed misgivings about new government initiatives being announced outside the House before being announced inside the House.”
During the final days of the sitting, four ministers stepped down from cabinet, which sparked anticipation of a shuffle midway through the government’s mandate. Ministers Jim Bradley, Mario Sergio, and Ted McMeekin left cabinet to make way for others but remain as MPPs while Madeleine Meilleur resigned both from cabinet and her seat in the Legislature.
Indeed, on June 13, Premier Wynne named seven new ministers, increasing the number of women to make up 40 per cent of the cabinet. Among the new ministers are: Laura Albanese (MPP for York South—Weston); Chris Ballard (MPP for Newmarket—Aurora); Marie-France Lalonde (MPP for Ottawa—Orléans); Kathryn McGarry (MPP for Cambridge); Eleanor McMahon (MPP for Burlington); Indira Naidoo-Harris (MPP for Halton); and Glenn Thibeault (MPP for Sudbury).
Code of Conduct
On May 12, the House passed a motion to establish a panel to draft a code of conduct for Members of the Ontario Legislature. Composed of the Speaker as chair and one Member from each party, the panel is assigned to ensure that the Code includes the following principles:
- Promote a safe, secure and respectful work environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and bullying;
- Set out guidance for conduct by or against Members as they conduct their work in the legislative precinct, in their ridings, or any other venue where they are conducting business as MPPs;
- Include mechanisms for addressing complaints; and
- Suggest training and education initiatives.
During the months of May and June, the House expressed its condolences on the passing of the following former Members:
Joan M. Fawcett, Member for Northumberland, September 10, 1987 to June 7, 1995
Keith Roy Brown, Member for Peterborough, June 11, 1959 to October 16, 1967
W. Leo Jordan, Member for Lanark—Renfrew, September 6, 1990 to June 2, 1999
Michael Murray Dietsch, Member for St. Catharines—Brock, Sept 10, 1987 to September 5, 1990
Leonard Joseph Quilty, Member for Renfrew South, January 18, 1962 to September 24, 1963
Clifford George Pilkey, Member for Oshawa, October 17, 1967 to October 20, 1971
Reports by Parliamentary Officers
The House received a number of special reports from its parliamentary officers.
The Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, tabled two reports: Special Report on Government Payments to Education-Sector Unions; and Special Report on the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. These reports were requested by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts under section 17 of the province’s Auditor General Act.
The Financial Accountability Officer, Stephen LeClair, also tabled two reports: Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Assessing Ontario’s Medium-term Prospects; and Backgrounder – Ontario Service Fees in 2016-2017.
The French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, tabled a special report: Active Offer of Services in French: The Cornerstone for Achieving the Objectives of Ontario’s French Language Services Act.
The Integrity Commissioner, the J. David Wake, tabled the Report concerning review of expense claims under the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002, for the period April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 and Report under Section 14(b) of the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 with respect to allowable expenses under the Act.
The Standing Committee on General Government considered a number of government bills in May and June and continued to meet during the summer adjournment. First, it considered Bill 172, An Act respecting greenhouse gas. Investing in a low-carbon economy was one of the priorities outlined in the 2016 Ontario Budget, and in February, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that Ontario would move forward with a proposed cap-and-trade program. Bill 172 established the framework for that program. The Committee held two days of public hearings on the bill, followed by six days of clause-by-clause consideration, during which numerous amendments were debated and many adopted. The Committee reported the bill, as amended, to the House and, following a comprehensive debate at Third Reading, the bill was passed by the House and received Royal Assent.
The Committee then considered Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, whose purpose was to provide for prescribed products and substances, in addition to tobacco. After two days of public hearings and a day of clause-by-clause, the bill was reported to the House without amendment, received Third Reading and Royal Assent.
The Committee also received Bill 201, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act and the Taxation Act, 2007. The bill sets out a number of campaign finance reform measures, such as reducing contribution limits for individuals, prohibiting corporations and trade unions form making contributions, and restricting the rules regarding loans and loan guarantees. The Premier had promised to address campaign finance reform in the spring, in the wake of media reports relating to the nature of political fundraisers. Bill 201 was referred to the Committee after First Reading, giving the Committee latitude in shaping the scope of the bill. The Committee was authorized to meet during the summer to consider the bill, and held hearings in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Kitchener, London, and Windsor. Witnesses who commented on the bill include Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Marc Mayrand, Former Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former MPPs, and several of Ontario’s parliamentary officers. The Chief Electoral Officer of Ontario, Greg Essensa, made a submission to the Committee and acted as the Committee’s advisor throughout its hearings. The Committee will conduct clause-by-clause consideration of the bill in August, and will be ready to report the bill to the House upon its resumption in the fall.
The Standing Committee on Estimates met to review the 2016-2017 Expenditure Estimates of Ministries and Offices selected for consideration. Since the spring sitting, the Committee has met to review the Estimates of the following: Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Transportation; Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; and Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs (renamed the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in June 2016).
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs considered Bill 181, An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and to make complementary amendments to other Acts. Following two days of public hearings in Toronto, and clause-by-clause consideration, the bill was reported with amendment to the House, and went on to receive Royal Assent. Among changes made to the administration of municipal elections, municipal councils will have the option of passing by-laws to use ranked ballots starting in the 2018 municipal election. The new legislation also shortens the municipal election campaign period, and bans corporations and trade unions from being eligible to contribute to municipal election campaigns.
Under a motion from the House, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy considered three private member’s bills concurrently.
Bill 149, An Act to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations on the jury recommendations made in the inquest into the death of Rowan Stringer, establishes the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee to review the jury recommendations and to review legislation, policies and best practices from other jurisdictions respecting head injuries. This bill was co-sponsored by three Members: Lisa MacLeod (MPP for Nepean—Carleton); Catherine Fife (MPP for Kitchener—Waterloo); and John Fraser (MPP for Ottawa South).
Bill 180, An Act to proclaim a Workers Day of Mourning, was introduced by Percy Hatfield (MPP for Windsor—Tecumseh). The bill proclaims April 28 in each year as a Workers Day of Mourning and requires that all Canadian and Ontario flags outside the Legislative Building, Government of Ontario buildings and other buildings such as city and town halls, schools, universities, colleges and hospitals be flown at half-mast on that day.
Bill 182, An Act to proclaim Ontario Down Syndrome Day, was introduced by Joe Dickson (MPP for Ajax—Pickering) and proclaims March 21 in each year as Ontario Down Syndrome Day.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled two reports: ServiceOntario (Section 4.09, 2015 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario); and Metrolinx—Regional Transportation Planning (Section 4.08, 2014 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario).
The Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills considered five private bills. On June 9, the Legislature granted Royal Assent to 14 private bills which had been considered by the Committee from February to June.
Valerie Quioc Lim
Prince Edward Island
Adjournment of the Second Session, Sixty-fifth General Assembly
After 24 spring sitting days, the Second Session of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly adjourned to the call of the Speaker on Friday, May 13, 2016.
During the spring sitting, a total of 36 bills were introduced, of which 33 were Government bills and three were private bills. Most bills passed and received Royal Assent; four have not progressed beyond first reading. A total of 51 motions were tabled, of which 15 were debated. The House approved a current expenditures appropriation of $1.65 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
Debate on the report of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal concluded on May 13, and the report was adopted. This report articulated the question for a plebiscite on electoral reform to take place in fall, 2016, and put forward other recommendations in regard to plebiscite voting age, voting methods, and public education. The special committee’s report can be read at http://www.assembly.pe.ca/sittings/2016spring/reports/23_1_2016-15-04-report.pdf.
Upon recommendation of the special committee, Elections PEI has commenced an education campaign to inform Islanders of the five electoral systems which they may rank according to preference in the plebiscite. Throughout the summer, Elections PEI staff members have been busy attending public events across the Island to provide information and register voters. Social media and a website, www.yourchoicepei.ca, have been employed to engage the public. The plebiscite is open to Islanders who will be 16 years or older as of November 7, 2016, and voting will be possible in-person, online or by telephone. The plebiscite will take place from October 29 to November 7.
The Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges submitted three reports during the spring sitting. The first dealt with the three private bills mentioned above. The second report dealt with a request for a review of the structure of Assembly committees, and a review of Rule 105 which addresses the recording of committee meetings. The committee recommended that there be no change to the structure of Assembly committees, and that Rule 105 be revised to allow the audio recording of committee meetings to be made publicly available in addition to the written transcript. The committee requested that the Standing Committee on Legislative Management develop guidelines for the use of committee audio recordings, similar to those in place for proceedings in the Chamber.
In its third report, the committee responded to a letter from the Leader of the Opposition requesting that the committee consider a new rule requiring that the Speaker, while in office, abstain from all partisan activity. The committee also examined a prima facie breach of privilege referred by the House, in which the Speaker found that the public discussion of the Leader of the Opposition’s letter and subsequent media reports questioning the Speaker’s impartiality amounted to attempts to intimidate. In regard to the letter, the committee noted that no Canadian jurisdiction has a rule precluding a Speaker from participating in partisan political activity. Instead, by custom and practice in each jurisdiction the Speaker refrains from such activity to the degree appropriate for that jurisdiction. The committee found that the current Speaker, and past Speakers, have adhered to PEI’s custom and practice in regard to partisan political activities. It recommended a guideline that speakers abstain from partisan political activity during the 60 days prior to and 30 days following sessions of the Assembly in order to protect the impartiality of the Office.
The committee agreed that criticisms from members questioning the impartiality of the Speaker are a matter of privilege, and that a prima facie breach of privilege had occurred. As requested by Speaker Francis (Buck) Watts, the committee reviewed his conduct while in office, and found no impropriety on his part in regard to the neutrality of the Office of the Speaker. The committee stated that it had received assurances from the Official Opposition that it has full and unqualified support for the Speaker, and that none of its members are contemplating motions of non-confidence in the Speaker, despite what had been reported in the media. The committee also suggested that to investigate the matter further, including by calling witnesses before the committee, would serve no useful purpose, would not be in the best interest of the Assembly or the Office of the Speaker, and would further call into question the important work of all members. The report of the committee can be read at http://www.assembly.pe.ca/sittings/2016spring/reports/22_3_2016-10-05-report.pdf.
During the spring sitting the standing committees on Communities, Land and Environment; Education and Economic Development; Infrastructure and Energy; and Health and Wellness also submitted reports on various matters related to their mandates.
Parliamentary Partnership Agreement Between PEI and Turks and Caicos
On July 20 Speaker Watts of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island and Speaker Robert S. Hall of the House of Assembly of Turks and Caicos Islands signed a Parliamentary Partnership Agreement. The agreement aims to promote collaboration, cooperation and understanding between the Assemblies, and represents a commitment to friendly relations between them. No visits are currently scheduled between the signatories, but future projects have been discussed. The agreement was signed in Newfoundland and Labrador during the Canadian Parliamentary Association Regional Conference, with Leader of the Official Opposition Jamie Fox and Leader of the Third Party Peter Bevan-Baker among the PEI delegates present.
Resignation of MLA Janice Sherry
On August 1 Liberal MLA Janice Sherry announced her resignation, citing the desire to spend more time with family. Ms. Sherry had represented District 21, Summerside – Wilmot since 2007. At the time of her resignation she was Chair of the Standing Committee on Health and Wellness and a member of other committees. Previously she had served in Cabinet and held roles such as Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice, and Minister of Community Services, Seniors and Labour. A by-election for District 21 has not yet been announced.
Order of Prince Edward Island
This year’s recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island were announced on June 15, 2016, by the Chancellor of the Order, H. Frank Lewis, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island; and Charles Curley, Chair of the Order of Prince Edward Island Advisory Council. The three Islanders selected to receive the honour were Carolyn Bateman, Keptin John Joe Sark, and Dagny Dryer. A total of 53 nominations were received for this award, which is the highest honour that can be accorded to a citizen of the province. Insignia of the Order will be presented at a special investiture ceremony in September.
Clerk Assistant – Research, Committees and Visitor Services
Proceedings of the National Assembly
At the request of Premier Philippe Couillard, the Assembly held an extraordinary sitting on June 10, 2016, 60 minutes after the adjournment of the ordinary sitting that had begun that morning, in order to complete the examination of Bill 100, An Act to amend various legislative provisions respecting mainly transportation services by taxi. This extraordinary sitting gave rise to two sittings held in a single day. Contrary to most of the extraordinary sittings that either aim to introduce a bill and carry out all of the stages of its consideration or to complete the stages of a bill whose consideration is already underway in committee, Bill 100 had already reached the stage of the consideration of the report from the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. The bill was passed on the following vote: Yeas 57, Nays 41, Abstentions 0.
Composition of the National Assembly
On April 2, 2016, after Sam Hamad (Louis-Hébert) stepped down from Cabinet, the Premier made a few changes in the ministerial team. Carlos J. Leitão (Robert-Baldwin) was given the additional portfolio of Minister responsible for Government Administration and Ongoing Program Review and Chair of the Conseil du trésor, and François Blais (Charlesbourg), that of Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region.
A by-election was held on April 11, 2016 in the electoral division of Chicoutimi, which had become vacant following the resignation of Stéphane Bédard. Parti Québécois candidate Mireille Jean was elected and officially took her seat in the National Assembly on April 19.
On May 2, 2016, Pierre Karl Péladeau, Leader of the Official Opposition (Parti Québécois), handed in his resignation as Member for Saint-Jérôme. On June 14, 2016, Bernard Drainville, Official Opposition House Leader (Parti Québécois), resigned as Member for Marie-Victorin.
In the wake of these resignations, changes were made among the Official Opposition’s parliamentary office holders. On May 6, Sylvain Gaudreault (Jonquière) was appointed Leader of the Official Opposition. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères), for his part, has held the office of Chief Official Opposition Whip since May 11, Gaétan Lelièvre (Gaspé), that of Deputy Opposition House Leader since May 12, and Lorraine Richard (Duplessis), that of Official Opposition caucus chair, also since May 12. Nicolas Marceau (Rousseau) was appointed Official Opposition House Leader on June 20.
The composition of the National Assembly now stands as follows: Québec Liberal Party, 71 Members; Parti Québécois, 28 Members; Coalition Avenir Québec, 20 Members; 3 Members sitting under the Québec Solidaire banner and one independent Member. Two ridings are vacant.
Estimates of expenditure and passage of Appropriation Act No. 2, 2016-2017
On April 12, 2016, the Assembly concluded the debate on the budget speech and held recorded divisions on the budgetary policy of the Government and on the motions stating a grievance moved within this framework. After having met in Committee of the Whole for consideration of the estimates of the Assembly on April 27 2016, the following day, the House concurred in the estimates of expenditure for 2016-2017 and passed Bill 95, Appropriation Act No. 2, 2016-2017.
From April to June 2016, the National Assembly passed 24 bills, including four private bills. Among these, the following should be noted:
Bill 64, Firearms Registration Act
Bill 81, An Act to reduce the cost of certain medications covered by the basic prescription drug insurance plan by allowing calls for tender
Bill 88, An Act respecting development of the small-scale alcoholic beverage industry
Bill 101, An Act to give effect to the Charbonneau Commission recommendations on political financing
Bill 103, An Act to strengthen the fight against transphobia and improve the situation of transgender minors in particular
Also to be noted is the passage of a private Member’s public bill, Bill 492, An Act to amend the Civil Code to protect seniors’ rights as lessees. This bill had been introduced by independent Member Françoise David (Gouin).
The second edition of the Programme international de formation parlementaire was held from June 7-17, 2016 in Québec City. This international parliamentary training program is a joint initiative of Laval University’s Research Chair on Democracy and Parliamentary Institutions, the National Assembly of Québec, and the World Bank Group. These three institutions pooled their expertise to offer theoretical and practical training, exclusively in French, aiming to build the capacity of La Francophonie parliaments’ personnel. This program was also made possible thanks to the financial support of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. At the end of the program, 15 participants, hailing from Haiti, Morocco, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo, were awarded a training certificate issued by Laval University.
National Assembly public servants took part in this program as training instructors, within the framework of workshops that examined topics such as the Secretary General’s role as procedural advisor to the Speaker, parliamentary research, the Parliament’s communications with the citizens and the organization, planning and follow-up of Assembly and committee meetings. Canadian and French parliament public servants as well as academics and practitioners were also part of the cohort of trainers.
Rulings and directives from the Chair
Among the rulings and directives given by the Chair between the months of April and June 2016, some deserve special attention.
This is particularly the case regarding a ruling given on June 9, 2016, concerning a matter of breach of privilege or contempt raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition. In his notice, he alleged that the Premier acted in contempt of Parliament by tabling in the Assembly the report on professionals’ compliance with processes entitled: “Rapport d’audit : Audit des professionnels en conformité des processus (PCP)”, prepared by the former Director of Inquiries and Internal Audits at the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports.
In his ruling, the President underlined that there was little parliamentary jurisprudence on the application of the provisions of the Act respecting the National Assembly that concern presenting, forging, falsifying or altering documents with intent to deceive the Assembly. However, the conclusion to be drawn from the few rulings handed down on the matter is that, in applying sections 55(3) and 55(4) of the Act respecting the National Assembly, there had to be the act of presenting, forging, falsifying or altering documents on the one hand, and the intent to deceive on the other.
In the case at hand, the point of privilege is supported by the testimony given by the author of the report on June 8, 2016 before the Committee on Public Administration, in which she explained, under oath, how the document was seemingly falsified. She indicated to the Committee the differences between the document she produced and the document that the Premier tabled in the National Assembly. At no point during her testimony did she draw a connection between the document and the Premier. She did, however, state before the Committee that the preliminary version she had produced had been forwarded to an administrative unit of the Ministère for comments. Based on this testimony, one might initially think that a false, forged, falsified or altered document was, in fact, tabled in the National Assembly. This seems to be the case, and it is a very serious matter.
The Chair recalled that the role of elected officials is to oversee the administration’s actions. To do so, they must be able to rely on valid information. Anyone working for the State must respect the National Assembly, its role and its Members. Failing to do so is tantamount to committing one of the most grievous acts possible for a public servant. Serving the State and the elected officials is a noble task requiring irreproachable integrity.
The Chair also noted that, in light of another document tabled in the House, the office of the Deputy Minister transmitted the report in question to the Premier’s office just minutes before he left for the National Assembly. Taking these facts into account, nothing led the Chair to believe that the Premier intentionally presented, forged, falsified or altered a document with the intent to deceive the National Assembly. Consequently, the Chair concluded that there was, prima facie, no contempt of Parliament.
On the same day, the President granted an urgent debate on troubling allegations made the previous day at the sitting of the Committee on Public Administration in relation to acts of intimidation and document falsification at the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports. The new information provided during the Committee sitting was indeed so important that the criteria established by jurisprudence for an urgent debate were met.
On May 31, 2016, the Chair gave a directive addressing two issues: first, enforcement of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information at the National Assembly; and second, a department’s obligation to transmit the documents requested by a standing committee. The question raised by the Deputy Second Opposition Group House Leader regarded the documents to be transmitted after the Deputy Minister of the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports appeared before the Committee on Public Administration.
The Chair began by referring to a previous ruling stating that the right to order the production of documents is one of the Assembly’s most indisputable constitutional privileges. In that ruling, the Chair concluded that the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information cannot limit the National Assembly’s privileges. Therefore, on this first issue, the Chair concluded that the provisions of this Act could not prevent the remittance of documents to either the National Assembly or a parliamentary committee.
Regarding the second issue, the Chair ruled that the Committee has the authority, at all times, to demand the production of a document if it cannot count on the collaboration of the entity that holds the document. In such cases, the Committee must adopt a motion in the form of an order to produce a document. If the entity involved is concerned about the nature of the information requested, it cannot unilaterally decide to withhold the information. It is the Members’ privilege to determine what they need in order to exercise their government oversight function. The Chair concluded by specifying that it is up to the Members to determine whether measures need to be implemented to protect certain information that may appear in the documents requested.
The standing committees were very busy with budgetary matters beginning in early April. First, pursuant to the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, the debate on the budget speech continued for a period of 10 hours in the Committee on Public Finance (CPF). This portion of the debate was carried out from April 5-7, 2016. This debate in committee comes after a period of 13 hours and 30 minutes of exchanges in the Assembly and is followed by the reply from the Minister of Finance and final remarks from the opposition critics, again before the Assembly.
Then, from April 13-26, 2016, the nine sectorial committees examined the estimates of the departments and public agencies falling under their respective areas of competence. During the 200 hours provided for in the Standing Orders for this mandate, ministers went before the committees to answer Members’ questions regarding the estimates granted for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Once the consideration of the estimates ended, the committees resumed their various mandates before finishing work for the summer on June 10, 2016.
Consideration of bills
Close to 100 public meetings were devoted to public bills in the standing committees, namely 15 sittings to hear groups and individuals within the framework of special consultations and approximately 80 sittings to give clause-by-clause consideration to legislative proposals.
Consultations conducted by the standing committees include public hearings held by the Committee on Institutions (CI) and the Committee on Health and Social Services (CHSS). The first hearings concerned Bill 64, Firearms Registration Act. Five sittings were held thereon, thus allowing committee members to hear the opinions of 25 witnesses. The second hearings concerned Bill 92, which aims to extend the powers of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. Some 15 groups came to express their views before the parliamentarians within the framework of these public hearings held from April 27 to May 12, 2016.
The clause-by-clause consideration of bills filled most of the standing committees’ working hours. Between April and June, the members of the sectorial committees spent a total of almost 300 hours carrying out this exercise. Seventeen public bills and four private bills were examined in committee. The Committee on Public Finance (CPF) was notably among the busier committees with five bills to consider. The Committee on Labour and the Economy (CLE), for its part, devoted some 20 sittings to examining Bill 70, An Act to allow a better match between training and jobs and to facilitate labour market entry. The CI concluded the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 59, An Act to amend various legislative provisions to better protect persons, which it had undertaken in November 2015. The minister’s withdrawal of the portion of the bill concerning the prevention and combating of hate speech and speech inciting violence contributed to the conclusion of this exercise.
Orders of initiative
Regarding orders of initiative carried out by the standing committees, we should note that the CHSS tabled its report on the living conditions of adults staying in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLD). Over the course of this mandate, which had begun during the previous legislature, parliamentarians heard 36 organizations, health and social services agencies, residential centres, associations and federations as well as professional orders concerned by the situation of persons living in CHSLDs. Certain CHSS members also visited establishments to meet management spokespersons, managerial staff, residents and users’ committees as well as union representatives.
The Committee on Citizen Relations (CCR), for its part, is pursuing its reflection on aboriginal women’s living conditions. In May 2016, it tabled an interim report presenting the committee work completed to date.
34th report from the Committee on Public Administration
On June 10, 2016, the Committee on Public Administration (CPA) tabled its 34th report on the accountability of deputy ministers and chief executive officers of public bodies. This report highlights the Committee’s eight public hearings during which deputy ministers and chief executive officers were heard with regard to their administrative management. After each hearing, the members made unanimous recommendations aiming to improve transparency and accountability and to promote good governance in the public sector. A total of 45 recommendations were made.
One of the Committee’s mandates received particular attention from parliamentarians and the media during this sessional period, namely the analysis of the administrative management and financial commitments of the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports (MTMDET). Within the framework of this mandate, whose aim was also to follow up on a report from the Auditor General, committee members heard the deputy minister of the MTMDET on May 18, 2016. Dissatisfied with this hearing and with the follow-up given to their requests regarding the forwarding of certain documents, the members continued examining this department’s accountability during the first weeks of June by hearing the Anti-Corruption Commissioner in camera and by holding public hearings with two stakeholders, namely a former department analyst and the current director of program revision.
Composition of committees
The appointment of Mr. Gaudreault, Member for Jonquière, as Leader of the Official Opposition left the CPA’s chair position vacant. On May 17, 2016, this Committee’s members elected the Member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Carole Poirier, as the new chair.
Meeting of the Committee on the National Assembly
Since the Standing Orders provide that committee members are appointed for two years, the Committee on the National Assembly met on June 1, 2016 to establish committee membership and adopt the list of temporary chairs for the next two-year term. Following this meeting, the standing committees met on the same day to elect their chairs and vice-chairs.
Parliamentary Proceedings Directorate
Parliamentary Proceedings Directorate
The 2016 Spring Sitting of the 33rd Legislative Assembly – widely anticipated to be the last Sitting before a general election is called – was 28 sitting days, running from April 7 to May 26.
Resignation of Speaker
On the morning of May 10, 2016, David Laxtona resigned as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and from the governing Yukon Party caucus. Mr. Laxton, the member for Porter Creek Centre, is now an Independent MLA.
New Speaker and Deputy Speaker
The first order of business when the House met that afternoon was the appointment of a new Speaker. On motion of Premier Darrell Pasloski, Patti McLeod, the member for Watson Lake, was elected Speaker. Ms. McLeod had served as Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole since the first Sitting of the current Legislative Assembly, in December 2011. Ms. McLeod became Yukon’s 24th Speaker, as well as the first woman to hold this office.
Next, on motion of the Premier, Darius Elias, the member for Vuntut Gwitchin, was elected Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committee of the Whole. Mr. Elias had been elected Deputy Chair of Committee of the Whole in April, 2015. In light of his new role, Mr. Elias relinquished the position of Government House Leader (a designation he had acquired in January, 2015). The new Government House Leader is Brad Cathers, who had been serving as the Deputy Government House Leader since January, 2015. Mr. Cathers previously served as Government House Leader from December 12, 2005 to August 28, 2009, and from November 5, 2011 to January 16, 2015.
Standings in the House
The newly-revised standings in the 19-member House are: 11 Yukon Party members, 6 NDP, 1 Liberal, and 1 Independent.
Retirement of Sergeant-at-Arms
On the final day of the Sitting, Speaker McLeod delivered a tribute to the retiring Sergeant-at-Arms, Rudy Couture. Mr. Couture, who began his service with the Legislative Assembly as the Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms in October 2001, had been appointed Sergeant-at-Arms in 2003, at the start of the 31st Legislative Assembly.
Private member’s bill – political contributions
On May 4, Official Opposition Leader Liz Hanson’s Bill No. 107, Act to Amend the Elections Act, with Respect to Political Contributions, received second reading. In an unusual procedural move, the motion for second reading was amended to refer the bill to the Members’ Services Board for the committee stage. The Standing Orders provide that bills are, unless otherwise ordered, dealt with in Committee of the Whole following second reading. It is not unusual for the Members’ Services Board to deal with bills that affect elections, the Legislative Assembly or Officers of the Legislative Assembly, though this usually occurs prior to the bill being introduced in the House.
On June 29, the Chair of the Members’ Services Board, Speaker McLeod, issued the Board’s First Report (the Speaker is ex officio Chair of the Board). The report indicated that at its May 31 meeting, the Board had considered Bill No. 107, and had recommended that the bill not be further proceeded with.
Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s report
On June 16, Yukon’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner, David Phillip Jones, provided the Commission’s 2015-16 annual report to the Speaker. The report is available at http://www.conflictofinterest.gov.yk.ca/pdf/2015_16_annual_report.pdf
Council of the Federation
From July 20-22, the Premier hosted the 57th annual summer meeting of Canada’s Premiers, in Whitehorse. This was the first time the meeting has been hosted by a territory.
House of Commons
The First Session of the Forty-Second Parliament continued through the months of May and June 2016, with the House adjourning for the summer break on June 17, 2016. The report below covers the months of May, June and July 2016.
Address by the President of the United States of America
On June 29, 2016, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, delivered a joint address to Senators and Members of Parliament in the Chamber of the House of Commons. President Obama was welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Speakers of both Houses.
Bill C-14, Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying), continued its passage through the House of Commons. The bill, which aims to give Canadians the right to access medical assistance in dying, brought on vigorous debate. Prior to debate at report stage, the sponsors of motions placed on notice had written to the Speaker arguing that certain motions were of such exceptional significance that they warranted further consideration despite their previous defeat in committee. In his ruling at report stage on May 17, 2016, the Speaker selected a number of these motions for debate, noting both the far-reaching social, moral and constitutional implications of the bill and the variety of opinions expressed by various Members in all parties. The bill was concurred in at report stage on May 30, 2016 and read a third time and passed on May 31, by a vote of 186 to 137. On June 16, 2016, a message was received from the Senate informing the House that the Senate had passed Bill C-14 with amendments for which the concurrence of the House was desired. Following debate on the Senate amendments on June 16, the House voted to accept certain amendments to the bill, reject four amendments, and made a few amendments to the Senate’s original amendments. On June 17, the Senate concurred in the amendments made by the House of Commons. The bill received Royal Assent that same day.
On June 14, 2016, the final supply day in the period ending June 23, 2016, the House considered motions to concur in the Main Estimates and the Supplementary Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. Gordon Brown (Chief Opposition Whip) had put a notice of opposition to Vote 1, in the amount of $835,252, under Office of Infrastructure of Canada — Operating expenditures, in the Main Estimates. Mr. Brown’s notice of opposition forced a vote on Vote 1, in the amount of $110,040,788, under Office of Infrastructure of Canada. The House proceeded to vote on the motion to concur in Vote 1, which was carried by a vote of 291-97. Following this, as per the usual practice, the House adopted two supply bills for the Main and Supplementary Estimates.
Points of Order, Questions of Privilege and Procedure
On May 18, 2016, as the bells calling Members to the Chamber for a vote were ringing, Andrew Leslie (Chief Government Whip), and Mr. Brown (Chief Opposition Whip) entered the Chamber. Mr. Leslie proceeded to his seat; however, Mr. Brown was delayed in walking to his seat, as a group of members were standing in the aisle. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, rose from his place, crossed the floor and took Mr. Brown’s arm to lead him to his seat, making contact with Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé) in the process. Peter Julian (House Leader of the New Democratic Party) subsequently rose on a point of order regarding the matter. The Prime Minister then rose and offered an apology to any members who felt negatively impacted by his actions. After the vote, Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe) raised a question of privilege alleging that the privileges of the House had been breached because of Mr. Trudeau’s actions. The Speaker ruled immediately, finding a prima facie breach of privilege. Mr. Van Loan subsequently moved a motion to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Debate arose thereon and continued the following day. The motion was adopted following Question Period on May 19, following the withdrawal by the Government House Leader of Government Motion 6. The motion contained a number of elements related to the organization of House business, including provisions to extend daily sittings until a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary moved a motion for adjournment, to have the House continue to sit beyond June 23, the usual date for the summer adjournment, and to limit the moving of dilatory motions. This motion had been frequently referenced by the opposition, who objected to the motion, during the debate on the question of privilege.
Points of Order
On June 6, 2016, Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) rose on a point of order regarding the participation of Members from non-recognized parties in committees. She alleged that an identical motion adopted by all committees allowing independent Members and Members of non-recognized parties to submit amendments to bills during clause-by-clause study in committee calls into question the independence of committees and impedes Members from proposing amendments at report stage, directly impacting their ability to fully represent their constituents. On June 10, 2016, Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons) responded to the question of privilege, indicating that this practice enabled the Member to participate in the process of amending bills. The Speaker took the matter under advisement and, at the time of writing, had not yet made a decision.
On June 9, 2016, the Speaker ruled on the point of order raised on April 18, 2016, by Mr. Julian regarding the admissibility of Motion M-43. The motion in question, moved by Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge), proposed that the Finance Committee be instructed to undertake a study to prepare and bring in a bill relating to the Taxpayer Bills of Rights and the Canada Revenue Agency, and that, when a bill based on the Committee’s report was introduced and read the first time, it would be automatically added to the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business as a votable item standing in Mr. Kelly’s name. The Speaker stated that although the Standing Orders describe the process for Private Members’ Business, they do not fully prescribe the limits of what is admissible as a motion, other than those that exist in relation to the financial prerogative of the crown and the limit set out in Standing Order 68(4) which spells out a procedure to have a committee prepare and bring in a bill upon a motion by a Minister. Given the evidence, he could not state categorically that Motion M-43 offended the provisions and limitations of Standing Order 68(4), stating that the motion was wording could be viewed as an alternate path to Standing Order 68(4), since it took the form of a special order. The Speaker allowed debate on the motion to proceed and suggested that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs may wish to examine the guidelines with respect to the procedural admissibility of private Member’s motions.
On May 16, 2016, the House considered report stage of Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act and to provide for certain other measures. As the sponsor of the motions in amendment at report stage was not present to move his motions, the House proceeded immediately to concurrence at report stage. The recorded division resulted in a tie of 139-139. The Speaker reminded Members that in such circumstances, the Chair votes in accordance with precedent. Accordingly, he voted to allow debate to continue, casting his vote in the affirmative. This marked Speaker Regan’s first casting vote, and only the eleventh casting vote exercised by the Speaker in the House of Commons.
On June 9, 2016, the Special Committee on Pay Equity presented to the House its report entitled It’s Time to Act, which contained 31 recommendations, including one calling on the government to repeal the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act passed under the previous government. Since it was struck, the Committee held a total of 12 meetings on the topic of pay equity and heard from 50 witnesses.
On June 15, 2016, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented its eleventh report entitled Interim Report on Moving Toward a Modern, Efficient, Inclusive and Family-Friendly Parliament. The Committee put forward seven recommendations; among them, the continuation of the informal practice of holding deferred recorded divisions immediately following Question Period, that the tabling of the House calendar each year take place prior to the House’s summer adjournment and that the House Administration provide flexible child care services at the Member’s own personal cost. The Committee intends to revisit some issues raised during its study for a more complete examination, at a later date.
The Special Committee on Electoral Reform was created by an order of reference adopted by the House on June 7, 2016. The Committee was appointed to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting. In July, the Committee heard testimony from Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions), Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer, and Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former Chief Electoral Officer from 1990-2007, as well as a number of academics and other specialists. The Special Committee has meetings planned for the duration of the summer months. The Committee was also directed to invite each Member to conduct a town hall in their constituencies and to provide a written report. As per the Order of the House, the Committee must present its final report by December 1, 2016.
Several other committees also met during the summer recess, including the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration which discussed immigration measures for the protection of vulnerable groups and the Committee on Government Operations and Estimates which examined issues surrounding the federal government’s new payroll system.
Private Members’ Business
Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender), brought forward by Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier), made its way through the Chamber and was passed at all stages by the House. After the recorded division on the bill at second reading on June 1, 2016, Members spontaneously sang the national anthem. They also sang the anthem on June 15, following the passing at third reading of the bill.
On May 31, 2016, Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut) resigned his Cabinet position as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and left the Liberal caucus to sit as an independent Member. Dominic LeBlanc assumed responsibility for the portfolio in addition to his duties as Government House Leader.
Statements, Resolutions, Special Debates
On May 18, 2016, Mr. Trudeau made a statement in the House to offer an apology on behalf of the Government of Canada for the role it played in the Komagata Maru incident in 1914. Rona Ambrose (Leader of the Official Opposition) and Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the New Democratic Party), made statements in response to Mr. Trudeau’s statement. By unanimous consent, Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord) and Ms. May, leaders of unrecognized parties, also made statements.
On June 1, 2016, the Speaker made a statement to recognize the Parliamentary Press Gallery’s establishment nearly 150 years ago. Noting that press gallery members continue to have a place set aside for them in the Chamber so they can perform their important democratic function, the Speaker drew the attention of Members to the presence in the gallery of two former members of the Gallery: Helen Brimmell and Bernard Dufresne.
On June 8, 2016, the Speaker delivered a statement to highlight the 150th anniversary of the first meeting on Parliament Hill. It was on June 8, 1866 that the Legislature of the Province of Canada met for the first time in the new Parliament Building in Ottawa. To commemorate the occasion, parliamentarians gathered in front of Centre Block for a photograph and a time lapse video of the gathering was also created.
Moments of Silence
On June 13, 2016, Members observed a moment of silence in honour of the victims of the shooting of June 12, 2016 in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The same day, Members also observed a moment of silence in memory of Robert Hall, a Canadian who had been held hostage in the Philippines since September 21, 2015, and who was executed by his captors.
On June 16, 2016, Members observed a moment of silence in honour of Jo Cox, United Kingdom Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, who was shot and killed earlier that day.
Table Research Branch