Resignation of Speaker
On January 5, 2018, Corey Tochor resigned as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. In the absence of a Speaker, The Legislative Assembly Act, 2007 assigns the duties of the Speaker to the Deputy Speaker. Consequently, the Deputy Speaker, Glen Hart, assumed interim responsibility for the duties of Speaker including the role of Chair of the Board of Internal Economy until the Assembly elected a new Speaker.
Election of Speaker
The first item of business on the resumption of the second session of the twenty-eighth legislature was the election of Speaker. The election took place on March 12, 2018. The election set a record for the number of candidates and for the first time a Member of the Opposition was a candidate. There were seven candidates:
- Danielle Chartier, MLA for Saskatoon Riversdale
- Mark Docherty, MLA for Regina Coronation Park
- Glen Hart, MLA for Last Mountain-Touchwood
- Delbert Kirsch, MLA for Batoche
- Warren Michelson, MLA for Moose Jaw North
- Eric Olauson, MLA for Saskatoon University
- Colleen Young, MLA for Lloydminster.
On the fifth ballot, the members elected Mr. Docherty to serve as Speaker. Mr. Hart will remain in the Deputy Speaker role.
New Leaders of Political Parties
The Saskatchewan Party held their leadership convention on January 27, 2018. Party members chose Scott Moe as the leader of the Saskatchewan Party over five other candidates, on the fifth and final ballot. Mr. Moe was sworn into office as Premier of Saskatchewan on February 2, 2018 at a ceremony at Government House by outgoing Lieutenant Governor, Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party held their leadership convention on March 3, 2018 and selected a new Leader of the Opposition. Ryan Meili was selected to lead the party with a victory over Trent Wotherspoon.
On February 2, 2018, Premier Moe announced the appointment of his first Cabinet. The new cabinet included 17 cabinet posts. Gordon Wyant was appointed as Deputy Premier.
One MLA is entered cabinet for the first time:
- Warren Kaeding, Minister of Government Relations, and Minister of First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs.
Four MLAs are re-entering cabinet:
- Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister of Advanced Education, Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan, and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women;
- Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Central Services, Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission, and Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission;
- Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Export and Trade Development, and Minister of Immigration and Careers Training;
- Gordon Wyant, Minister of Education.
Two ministers changed portfolios:
- Bronwyn Eyre, Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister Responsible for SaskWater, and Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy;
- Christine Tell, Minister of Corrections and Policing, and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation.
Ten other cabinet ministers retained their current portfolios:
- Dustin Duncan, Minister of Environment, Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency, and Minister Responsible for SaskPower;
- Joe Hargrave, Minister of Crown Investments Corporation and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance;
- Donna Harpauer, Minister of Finance;
- Gene Makowsky, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, and Minister Responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan;
- David Marit, Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, Minister Responsible for SaskBuilds, and Minister Responsible for Priority Saskatchewan;
- Paul Merriman, Minister of Social Services;
- Don Morgan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Minister Responsible for Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister Responsible for Workers’ Compensation Board, Minister Responsible for the Global Transportation Hub, and Minister Responsible for SaskTel;
- Greg Ottenbreit, Minister of Rural and Remote Health;
- Jim Reiter, Minister of Health;
- Lyle Stewart, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Crop Insurance.
On March 1, 2018, three by-elections were held in the province. In the constituency of Kindersley, Ken Francis, the Saskatchewan Party candidate, was elected to replace retired member Bill Boyd. Everett Hindley, the Saskatchewan Party candidate, was elected to replace former Premier Brad Wall in the constituency of Swift Current; and Todd Goudy, the Saskatchewan Party candidate in Melfort, was elected to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Kevin Phillips.
Resignation of a Member
On March 12, 2018, Kevin Doherty, MLA for Regina Northeast, announced his retirement from politics in order to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.
As a result of the by-election and the resignation of Mr. Doherty, the composition of the Assembly is now 48 Saskatchewan Party members, 12 NDP members, and one vacancy.
On January 22, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeauannounced the appointment of W. Thomas Molloy as Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. Mr. Molloy is a lawyer, treaty negotiator, and former Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
He was installed as Saskatchewan’s twenty-second Lieutenant Governor on March 21, 2018 in a ceremony conducted in the Legislative Chamber.
Conclusion of Session
The second session of the twenty-eighth Legislature began on March 12, 2018. Premier Moe announced that the budget would be delayed and introduced on April 10, 2018. This has pushed back the completion of the spring sitting period to May 31, 2018.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The House reconvened for the continuation of the Second Session of the 48th General Assembly on February 26 in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Calendar.
The review of the Standing Orders continues. Toward the end of the 2017-2018 sitting, the House approved a provisional amendment providing for a response to Petitions, of not more than 90 seconds in duration, which may be given on the day of the presentation of the Petition or the following day.
The House prorogued on March 12 and convened for the Throne Speech opening the Third Session of the 48th General Assembly on March 13.
The House will make some changes to the estimates procedure this year in that they will refer all estimates to Standing Committees. Traditionally three Heads of Expenditure have been referred to the Committee of Supply. The House also adopted a change to the Standing Orders to permit ministers to appoint other ministers, if need be, to represent them at meetings of the committees examining their departmental estimates.
The House passed a Resolution on March 28 unanimously supporting Government’s modernization of harassment policy and urging it to make the necessary changes to legislation to ensure all workers are protected from harassment in the workplace.
The Budget was brought down on March 29 after which the House adjourned for the Easter break to reconvene on April 16.
The Ontario Legislature prorogued on March 16, 2018 and began its Third Session of the 41st Parliament on March 19, 2018. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the new session.
On March 28, 2018, Finance Minister Charles Sousa presented Ontario’s 2018 Budget. The Minister’s Budget speech highlighted proposed investments in health care, child care, home care and mental health.
A vacancy occurred in the membership of the House following the resignation of MPP Eric Hoskins, effective February 26, 2018. Mr. Hoskins was the MPP for the electoral district of St. Paul’s and served as the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
MPP Victor Fedeli was recognized as Leader of the Official Opposition following MPP Patrick Brown’s resignation of the position on January 25, 2018. Mr. Brown has been sitting as an Independent Member since February 16, 2018.
The House expressed its condolences on the passing of former Members Norman Jamison, Member for the electoral district of Norfolk from September 6, 1990 to June 7, 1995 and Gerry Martiniuk, Member for the electoral district of Cambridge from June 8, 1995 to September 7, 2011.
Reports by Parliamentary Officers
The House received a number of reports from its Parliamentary Officers:
The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dianne Saxe, tabled the 2017 Greenhouse Gas Progress Report titled Ontario’s Climate Act: From Plan to Progress.
The Integrity Commissioner, J. David Wake, tabled a report concerning the review of expense claims under the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002, for submissions received in October, November and December 2017 and complete as of February 23, 2018.
The temporary Financial Accountability Officer, a position also occupied by Mr. Wake, tabled two reports, Hydro One: Updated Financial Analysis of the Partial Sale of Hydro One and Ontario Health Sector – An Updated Assessment of Ontario Health Spending. He also tabled a backgrounder titled Ontario Service Fees in 2017-18.
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, Irwin Elman, tabled his 2017 Annual Report.
On March 14, 2018, Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians paid a visit to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Their visit included an official meeting with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and a courtesy call and personal tour of the Legislative Chamber with Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held its 2018 Pre-Budget Consultations in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor in January 2018. The Committee heard 123 presentations and received over 80 additional written submissions from agencies, associations, community groups, local administrative bodies, municipalities, organizations, unions and individuals during its consultations. The Committee tabled its Pre-Budget Consultation report in the House on February 26, 2018.
Standing Committee on Justice Policy
In February, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy began consideration of Bill 175, An Act to implement measures with respect to policing, coroners and forensic laboratories and to enact, amend or repeal certain other statutes and revoke a regulation. The bill’s primary objective was to review how police services should be provided in Ontario, detailing relevant oversight and discipline measures.
The Committee held two days of public hearings on the bill. Presentations and written submissions were received from police associations, municipal leaders, for-profit and not-for-profit security companies, legal clinics and First Nations communities. The bill was time allocated on March 6, 2018, and the Committee held its clause-by-clause consideration of the bill later that day. The Committee reported the amended bill back to the House on March 7, 2018, where it was immediately ordered for Third Reading. The bill passed Third Reading and received Royal Assent the following day.
Standing Committee on Public Accounts
During the winter sitting, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts held public hearings to review three additional audits from the 2016 and 2017 annual reports of the Auditor General:
- Metrolinx – Public Transit Construction Contract Awarding and Oversight (2016 Annual Report)
- Public Accounts of the Province (2017 Annual Report)
- Independent Electricity System Operator – Market Oversight and Cybersecurity (2017 Annual Report)
The Committee also adopted a motion requesting that the Auditor General conduct a value-for-money audit of the Tarion Warranty Corporation. Tarion administers the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan and was established as a corporation in 1976 by the Government to regulate new homebuilders and protect rights of new homebuyers. The recently passed Bill 166, Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017, included the necessary legislative amendments to the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act to allow the Office of the Auditor General oversight of the corporation.
Standing Committee on Social Policy
The Standing Committee on Social Policy met to consider Bill 193, An Act to enact Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 and to amend the Education Act. The bill set out requirements for sport organizations and schools to oversee concussion prevention, detection, management and improve awareness in amateur competitive sport. The Committee held one day of public hearings on the bill, followed by one day of clause-by-clause consideration. The bill was reported back to the House, as amended, on March 1, 2018 and received Royal Assent on March 7, 2018.
The 2018 Spring Sitting of the Second Session of the 34th Legislative Assembly began on March 1, and concluded on the 30th sitting day, April 24.
The following government bills were introduced and assented to during the 2018 Spring Sitting:
Bill No. 15, Cannabis Control and Regulation Act
Bill No. 16, Technical Amendments Act, 2018
Bill No. 17, Gender Diversity and Related Amendments Act
Bill No. 18, Order of Yukon Act
Bill No. 204, Third Appropriation Act 2017-18
Bill No. 205, Interim Supply Appropriation Act 2018-19
Bill No. 206, First Appropriation Act 2018-19
Commissioner of Yukon
As noted in Yukon’s preceding Legislative Report, outgoing Commissioner Doug Phillips’ term concluded on January 31, 2018. On March 9, Governor General Julie Payette, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appointed Angélique Bernard as Yukon’s new Commissioner. The appointment is for a five-year term. On March 12, Ms. Bernard was sworn-in as Commissioner in Whitehorse at the Commissioner’s office, Taylor House, by the Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon, Justice Ron Veale. Ms. Bernard, Yukon’s first francophone Commissioner, moved to Yukon in 1995. For seven years, Ms. Bernard was president of the Association franco-yukonnaise, and at the time of her appointment as Commissioner, was serving as the association’s vice-president.
On March 18, Commissioner Bernard appeared in the Chamber for the first time, to grant assent to three bills that had passed the House: Bill No. 18, Order of Yukon Act, Bill No. 204, Third Appropriation Act 2017-18, and Bill No. 205, Interim Supply Appropriation Act 2018-19.
Administrator of Yukon
The federal Yukon Act gives the Administrator the authority to act in place of the Commissioner when the latter is absent or ill, and when there is no Commissioner. From the expiration of Commissioner Phillips’ term at the end of January until the March 9 expiration of the Administrator’s Governor in Council appointment, Gerald Isaac had fulfilled that additional role.
On March 9, Adeline Webber, a member of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation, was appointed as Yukon’s new Administrator. Ms. Webber was also sworn in by Justice Veale on March 12. A biographical note released by the Prime Minister’s office on the day of her appointment noted that Ms. Webber had worked “to advance the recognition of indigenous and women’s rights, and played an important role in the implementation of land claims and First Nation self-government agreements in the territory.”
Electoral District Boundaries Commission
As noted previously, on November 21, 2017, Speaker Nils Clarke tabled the Interim Report of the Yukon Electoral District Boundaries Commission, which proposed changing the boundaries of nine of the territory’s 19 electoral districts, as well as the names of five.
In addition to accepting written submissions, the Commission held public meetings across the territory to receive Yukoners’ views on the interim report’s proposals. In the course of its travels (on February 8, 9 and 12, and March 8-10), the Commission held public hearings in Teslin, Marsh Lake, Carcross, Tagish, Mount Lorne, Whitehorse, Pelly Crossing, Mayo, Carmacks, Faro, Ross River, and Watson Lake.
The Electoral District Boundaries Commission was chaired by Justice Veale. The other members comprising the Commission were Yukon’s Chief Electoral Officer Lori McKee, Darren Parsons, Jonas Smith, and Anne Tayler. The Commission’s non-binding final report was submitted to the Legislative Assembly on April 19, 2018.
The following bills received Royal Assent by written declaration during this quarter: S-2 – Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act, C-70 – Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee Governance Agreement Act, C-72 – Appropriation Act No. 5, 2017-18, C-73 – Appropriation Act No. 1, 2018-19, S-232 Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act, C-210 – An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender) and C-311 – An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day).
Bills C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act, and C-49 – the Transportation Modernization Act, were both amended in the Senate and returned to the House of Commons. At the time this summary was written, they were both awaiting further consideration in the Commons.
Chamber, Procedure and Speaker’s Rulings
On January 30, the Senate said goodbye to interim Clerk Nicole Proulx and wished her well on her retirement after nearly 20 years of service in the Senate. The next day the Senate welcomed its new interim Clerk. Richard Denis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position. Since 2004, Mr. Denis has served as Deputy Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel in the House of Commons and has also been a Table Officer in that house since 2002.
The Speaker was kept busy this quarter dealing with procedural issues. On February 15, he made a statement to remind senators of the prohibition on the use of props in the Chamber. On March 1, he ruled on a question of privilege that had been raised by Senator Marilou McPhedran about a communication to the media of information contained in correspondence that had been marked confidential. Though the Speaker found no prima facie breach of privilege, he urged senators to balance the importance of conducting business in a transparent and accountable manner with the obligation to respect administrative processes. Finally, on March 22, the Speaker ruled on a question of privilege raised by Senator Lynn Beyak regarding a motion that would direct the Senate administration to cease support for her Senate website. The Speaker found no prima facie breach of privilege, so debate on the motion will continue. In his ruling, the Speaker noted that the privileges of individual senators do not trump those of the Senate itself, and that the rights or benefits of individual senators may be restricted by decisions of the Senate.
A few rare procedural events took place in the Senate during the period covered by this summary. A motion for the previous question was moved on January 30 in relation to a disposition motion relating to third reading of Bill C-210, An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender). The previous question was adopted the following day, and, as required by the Rules, the Speaker then immediately put the question on the motion, which was adopted on division. The Speaker subsequently proceeded to put all questions necessary to dispose of the bill at third reading as mandated by the order of the Senate. At the end of the process, the bill was read a third time and adopted without amendment.
Another rare event took place on February 6 when Senator David Tkachuk gave notice of his intention to request an emergency debate on recent actions by the Government of British Columbia relating to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. After having heard from senators on the matter, the Speaker ruled in favour of Senator Tkachuk’s request. The debate was held later in the sitting in accordance with the Rules of the Senate. This was the Senate’s first emergency debate since 1999.
On January 30, the Senate adopted a motion creating the Special Committee on the Charitable Sector. The committee organized on February 26, electing Senator Terry Mercer as its chair and Senator Ratna Omidvar as its deputy chair. The committee is to submit its final report no later than December 31, 2018.
On February 15, the Senate applied a process based on one normally reserved for budget implementation bills to a piece of regular legislation. It adopted a motion to refer the subject-matter of different elements or topics in Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act, to four of its standing committees (Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Aboriginal Peoples, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and National Security and Defence), with the bill itself to be referred to the Social Affairs Committee if adopted at second reading. Pursuant to the motion adopted by the Senate, each of the four standing committees examining parts or topics of the bill is to report to the Senate no later than May 1, 2018. The Social Affairs committee is authorized to take any of those reports into consideration during its study of the bill. The bill was actually adopted at second reading on March 22, and, pursuant to the order, was sent to the Social Affairs Committee
On March 27, the Senate adopted the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. This report recommended that the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament develop and propose amendments to the Rules of the Senate required to establish a new Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight. This new committee would be charged with overseeing senators’ travel and living expenses, as well as the Senate’s other expenditures, in accordance with the principles and best practices contained in the fifth report of the Subcommittee on the Senate Estimates. The committee would be empowered to undertake work on its own initiative, without an order of reference, which is a requirement for most committees in the Senate. The membership of this new committee is to be separate and independent from the membership of the Internal Economy Committee. The report also recommended that consultations be undertaken with the leadership of all recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups in the Senate to propose amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act to provide the new committee with intersessional authority to conduct its work.
This quarter saw many changes to the membership of the Senate. On February 2, Senators Joan Fraser, Colin Kenny and Claudette Tardif resigned from their positions. Senator Fraser was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on September 17, 1998 after a successful career in journalism. During her time at the Senate, she chaired many committees, most notably the committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs; on Transport and Communications; and on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. She was a vocal advocate for the rights of the English-speaking minority in Quebec. She also served as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate twice. Senator Kenny, appointed by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in June of 1984, will be remembered for his contribution to the Senate’s National Security and Defence Committee. Senator Tardif was appointed in March of 2005 by Prime Minister Paul Martin. She came to the Senate with a background in education. A proud Franco-Albertan, she spent her career at the Senate advocating for official language minorities and for institutions of higher learning. She was the chair of the Official Languages Committee and also served as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Subsequently, on March 16, Senator Charlie Watt resigned from the Senate after 34 years of service to the institution. He represented the senatorial division of Inkerman and spoke out on issues of concern to Inuit and aboriginal peoples in the Senate and in committees. He had served as chair of the Aboriginal Peoples Committee and was elected as chair of the Special Committee on the Arctic when it organized in late 2017.
During this quarter the Senate welcomed three new senators, all representing the province of Ontario. Martha Deacon and Robert Black were appointed on February 15. Senator Deacon comes to the Senate with a background in education and in sports, while Senator Black has years of experience in agricultural and municipal affairs. Yvonne Boyer was appointed on March 15. A member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, she had a distinguished career as a lawyer, professor and researcher.
The Legislature resumed sitting on January 30, 2018, at which time Finance Minister Cathy Rogers tabled the fourth budget of the Gallant government.
The budget focused on investments in seniors, youth employment and economic competitiveness, including an additional $73 million in new targeted investments, delaying a return to a balanced budget by one year to 2021-22. Economic growth is anticipated to surpass one per cent in 2018; the projected deficit is $189 million. The budget does not contain new taxes or fee increases.
“The decisions your government have made in this budget reflect the economic growth, education and family plans that New Brunswickers have helped develop,” said Ms. Rogers. “The investments we are making will enhance the competitiveness of our economy, support our youth and seniors and lead to improved economic and social outcomes into the future.”
Highlights included nearly $28 million invested to support youth employment, including an additional $4 million in summer job opportunities for post-secondary students, and creating a paid internship program within government to hire recent graduates; more than $20 million invested to help seniors, including $800,000 to implement action items identified by the Council on Aging and $12 million to increase wages for special care home employees and home support workers; $2.5 million invested to support improved mental health outcomes; $1 million invested to fully implement a colon cancer screening program to reach all men and women between the ages of 50 and 74; $3 million invested to reduce wait times for hip and knee replacements; and $12.6 million invested in parks, trails, historic sites, and other tourism infrastructure.
On February 1, Finance Critic Bruce Fitch replied to the budget on behalf of the official opposition. Mr. Fitch echoed concerns raised by some media and academics regarding the budget. He focused on the estimated $1 billion in extra revenue generated from new taxes during the current mandate; arguing that the deficit continued to grow while investments did not produce measurable results. He further argued the fiscal policies edged the province closer to the fiscal cliff, where social programs that families rely on may no longer be sustainable. “This budget is putting us closer to that economic crisis”, stated Mr. Fitch.
The fourth session of the 58th Legislative Assembly opened on October 24, 2017, and adjourned on March 16, 2018, sitting a total of 39 days. Of the 41 bills to receive Royal Assent, the following were introduced during the last few weeks of the session:
Bill 42 – Government Advertising Act – introduced by Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, established standards to direct government departments in creating and disseminating information to the public. The Bill aimed to improve impartiality in the creation and delivery of advertising by government departments and other related entities.
Bill 44 – An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act – introduced by Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage, introduced leave for domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual violence. Regulatory amendments will be introduced later based on a 60-day consultation period.
The Assembly considered a number of debatable motions; the following were adopted near the end of the session:
Motion 32, introduced by Wilfred Roussel and seconded by Daniel Guitard, urged the federal government to make changes to the qualifying provisions of the Employment Insurance program to address the plight of seasonal workers.
Motion 36, introduced by Mr. Melanson and seconded by Families and Children Minister Stephen Horsman, appointed a Select Committee on Public Universities charged with inviting publicly funded universities to appear before the committee to discuss university administration, programming, performance measurement, accountability and transparency.
Motion 37, introduced by Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister Lisa Harris and seconded by Hédard Albert, adopted a committee recommendation to implement a Statement on Roles and Responsibilities and Code of Conduct for Members.
Motion 38, introduced by Ms. Harris and seconded by Official Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs, directed the Legislative Administration Committee to establish a policy on the prevention and resolution of harassment, including sexual harassment, in the workplace of the Assembly.
Motion 23, introduced by Kirk MacDonald and seconded by Dorothy Shephard, urged the Legislature to include breast cancer in existing presumptive legislation coverages for professional firefighters.
Motion 31, introduced by Ernie Steeves and seconded by Carl Urquhart, urged the government to add tow trucks to the list of emergency vehicles included in the “slow down move over” legislation. The motion highlighted the tragic example of RCMP officer Constable Francis Deschênes, who was killed while assisting a motorist with a flat tire.
During the session, the Standing Committee on Economic Policy, chaired by Chuck Chiasson, held 29 meetings to consider legislation at committee stage. The Estimates and Fiscal Policy Committee, chaired by Bernard LeBlanc, reviewed departmental estimates for the prescribed 80 hours over 12 meetings. Additionally, the Standing Committee on Private Bills, chaired by Wilfred Roussel, met to consider private legislation concerning provincial land surveyors.
Election and Standings
The provincial general election is scheduled for September 24, 2018. The current House standings are 25 Liberals, 22 Progressive Conservatives, one Green and one vacancy.
National Assembly proceedings
Composition of the National Assembly
On February 2, 2018, Jean-François Lisée, Leader of the Official Opposition, made the following appointments: Véronique Hivon, Member for Joliette, as Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition; Sylvain Gaudreault, Member for Jonquière, as Chief Official Opposition Whip; and Carole Poirier, Member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, as Deputy Opposition House Leader.
Since the resumption of proceedings last February 6, the National Assembly passed the six Government bills and one private bill:
Bill 107, An Act to increase the jurisdiction and independence of the Anti-Corruption Commissioner and the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes and expand the power of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions to grant certain benefits to cooperating witnesses;
Bill 149, An Act to enhance the Québec Pension Plan and to amend various retirement-related legislative provisions;
Bill 163, An Act respecting the implementation of recommendations of the pension committee of certain public sector pension plans and amending various legislative provisions;
Bill 164, An Act respecting access to certain documents held by the Conseil exécutif or intended for the Conseil exécutif;
Bill 166, An Act to reform the school tax system;
Bill 177, Appropriation Act No. 1, 2018-2019;
Bill 234, An Act to amend the Charter of the Université de Montréal.
Estimates of expenditure and passage of Appropriation Act No. 1, 2018-2019
On March 28, 2018, the parliamentarians concurred in interim supply for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and passed Bill 177, Appropriation Act No. 1, 2018-2019. The following day, the Assembly began the debate on the budget speech.
International Trade Legislative Conference
Organized in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Assembly held the International Trade Legislative Conference (ITLC), which took place from March 15-18, 2018. For the occasion, parliamentarians hailing from Canada, the United States and Mexico participated in various working sessions to discuss free trade, a highly topical issue of major importance within the context of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Several experts were also present to share their vision and discuss the issue with participants.
Research Chair on Democracy and Parliamentary Institutions recognition event
On February 7, 2018, the President of the National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon, welcomed the partners of the Chair. On this occasion, four students received a scholarship to underline the quality of their research work related to democracy and parliamentary institutions.
Consultations and public hearings
Between January and March 2018, the National Assembly’s sectorial committees set aside 28 public meetings for consultations and public hearings. Over 100 hours were spent in committee during these meetings.
Notable among these consultations was the one on Bill 128, An Act to promote the protection of persons by establishing a framework with regard to dogs. The Committee on Institutions (CI) heard 18 individuals and organizations from March 20-22, 2018 and received 25 briefs within the framework of this mandate.
Clause-by-clause consideration of bills
Between January and March 2018, 54 public meetings, totalling 182 hours of work in committee, were set aside for the clause-by-clause consideration of public bills. Seven committees thus examined 13 public bills.
Among these, we should mention Bill 141, An Act mainly to improve the regulation of the financial sector, the protection of deposits of money and the operation of financial institutions, whose clause-by-clause consideration began in the Committee on Public Finance (CPF). This bill enacts two new laws: the Insurers Act, which replaces the Act respecting insurance, and the Trust Companies and Savings Companies Act to replace the Act respecting trust companies and savings companies, which will be repealed. This bill contains over 2000 sections.
For its part, the Committee on Health and Social Services (CHSS) began the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 157, An Act to constitute the Société québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions. To date, 16 sittings and over 66 hours have been devoted to the consideration of this bill.
Finally, during this period, the Committee on Culture and Education (CCE) concluded its consideration of Private Bill 234, An Act to amend the Charter of the Université de Montréal. Of note, within the framework of this mandate, the committee heard 19 interested parties, which is quite a high number for a private bill.
On February 20, 2018, the CI examined and approved the Regulation to amend the Nomination Regulation, tabled in the National Assembly on February 6, 2018, by the Chief Electoral Officer. Section 550 of the Election Act provides that all draft regulations shall be submitted to the Committee on the National Assembly or to any other committee designated by the National Assembly. At the end of a sitting, which lasted slightly over one hour and a half, the members approved the regulation with one amendment.
Composition of committees
On February 6, 2018 Sylvain Rochon, Member for Richelieu, was elected chair of the Committee on Public Administration (CPA). This position had previously been held by Mr. Gaudreault who was appointed Chief Official Opposition Whip.
General Directorate for Parliamentary Affairs
General Directorate for Parliamentary Affairs
Third Session of the 41st Parliament
The Second Session of the 41st Parliament prorogued on February 13, 2018, and the Third Session opened that afternoon with the Speech from the Throne delivered by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon. The Throne Speech highlighted investments in affordable housing, child care and social services, and proposed measures to address the effects of speculation, tax fraud and money laundering in BC’s real estate market. It also confirmed commitments to build a sustainable economy, protect the environment and take action on climate change, as well as partner with Indigenous peoples.
On February 20, 2018, Minister of Finance Carole James presented the first comprehensive budget of the new minority government, which confirmed the priorities set out in the Throne Speech. The budget outlined a made-in-BC child care plan, a comprehensive housing plan, and investments in capital projects; introduced a speculation tax and expanded the scope of the foreign buyers tax; and provided details on the plan to replace Medical Service Plan premiums with an employer health tax. The Official Opposition Finance Critic Shirley Bond raised concerns about government spending and the potential negative impact of new taxes on businesses. Third Party Leader Andrew Weaver indicated support for the budget, but noted that further steps are required to address the housing crisis in British Columbia.
The first confidence vote of the Third Session was held on March 1, 2018, on the motion “That the Speaker do now leave the Chair” for the House to go into Committee of Supply. The motion passed on division by a vote of 44 to 41.
On March 8, 2018, the Legislative Assembly adopted two amendments to the Standing Orders. Standing Order 23, which pertains to strangers in the House, was amended to allow for the presence of infants in the Chamber. This aligns with changes made in jurisdictions such as the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, to make legislatures more welcoming to Members with young families. A new Standing Order 17A clarifies rules and codifies practice regarding the use of electronic devices during House proceedings.
Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations
As previously reported, on November 28, 2017, the Legislative Assembly instructed the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations to inquire into and examine ride-hailing in British Columbia. The Committee invited 67 expert witnesses to present at a public hearing or provide a written submission and 38 participated. In a report released on February 15, 2018, the Committee made 32 unanimous recommendations for a province-wide approach to governing transportation network companies, and discussed key issues for the development of a ride-hailing regulatory regime, including the potential impact on British Columbians and their communities. The report also highlighted the importance of collecting and monitoring data, public safety, accessibility, and the provision of insurance products for transportation network companies and their drivers.
Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth
On February 28, 2018, the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth released their report on the review of the Representative for Children and Youth Act. Section 30 of the Act requires the Committee to review the Act every five years. The report included nine recommendations primarily focused on clarifying and enhancing the Representative’s role with respect to young adults who have previously been in care, and children, youth and young adults with special needs.
During in-camera report deliberations, the Committee approved a motion to make a portion of the in-camera transcript publicly available after the report was formally presented to the Legislative Assembly. This transcript portion revealed that the Committee divided on the motion to adopt recommendation nine in the report: “The Act be amended to require that, in undertaking the functions under the Act, the Representative reflect the principles contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The vote was tied, and as a result, the Chair was required to exercise a casting vote. The Chair voted in favour of adopting the recommendation, explaining that his vote reflected his conscience.
Special Committee to Appoint an Information and Privacy Commissioner
The Special Committee to Appoint an Information and Privacy Commissioner released their report on March 5, 2018, unanimously recommending that the Lieutenant Governor appoint Michael McEvoy as Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia for a six-year term, commencing April 1, 2018. Mr. McEvoy had served as Deputy Commissioner to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in BC since 2012, and was most recently seconded to the Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom, where he led an investigation into the use of data analytics in the political process.
Hansard Recent Innovations
Hansard Services launched several new initiatives in the spring session focused on digital publishing, and improving the accessibility of Hansard video and transcripts. Final certified copies of Hansard transcripts, known as the Official Report of Debates, are now available online in Digitally Certified PDF format. The HTML version of the online final transcripts has new functionality, including a linked table of contents so users can navigate to specific points in the text, tools for sharing on social media, and direct links to the archived video. A new video search has also been implemented for the Hansard video webcast archive. The archive dates back to 2003, and includes full video webcasts of Chamber and Committee of Supply proceedings and audio-only webcasts of parliamentary committees. Video search functionality has been enhanced to enable users to search the archive by keyword, Member name or item of business.
Vice Regal News
Governor General Julie Payette made her first official visit to British Columbia. She was officially welcomed by Premier John Horgan on March 20, 2018 at the Legislative Assembly, where a traditional welcome from local Indigenous groups also took place. At a Presentation of Honours ceremony, Ms. Payette recognized 45 Canadians for their excellence, courage and exceptional dedication to service.
On March 20, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of Janet Austin as British Columbia’s 30th Lieutenant Governor. Ms. Austin will be third female Lieutenant Governor in BC’s history, replacing Ms. Guichon who was appointed in 2012.
Ms. Austin most recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA Metro Vancouver, and previously worked for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland and BC Housing. She has received several awards for her work, and is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals as well as a Member of the Order of British Columbia. Ms. Austin has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Calgary, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Changes in the Legislature
The BC Liberal Party held their leadership convention on February 3, 2018, electing Andrew Wilkinson as leader on the fifth ballot. The new Leader of the Official Opposition was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2013 and served in several Cabinet positions in the former government.
A by-election in the riding of Kelowna West was held on February 14, 2018 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Premier Christy Clark. Ben Stewart, a BC Liberal, won the election and was sworn in on February 27, 2018. Party standings in the House are now: BC Liberal Party 42, BC NDP 41, BC Green Party 3 and one Independent Member, the Speaker.
Death of a Former Premier
The first BC NDP Premier of British Columbia, Dave Barrett, died on February 2, 2018 at the age of 87. Serving as Premier from 1972 until 1975, his government passed a record 367 bills and introduced a number of lasting initiatives, including the introduction of the daily question period and full Hansard transcripts of House proceedings.
On March 1, 2018, the Premier, Official Opposition Leader and Third Party Leader all paid tribute to the former Premier in the Legislative Assembly. A state funeral attended by more than 1,000 people was held on March 3, 2018.
Committee Research Analyst
3rdSession of the 41st Legislature – Spring Sitting
The Third Session of the 41st Legislature resumed on March 7, 2018.
The Government has introduced a number of Bills so far this session addressing different areas of governance:
Bill 4 – The Legislative Assembly Amendment Act (Member Changing Parties), repealing the provision of The Legislative Assembly Act that requires a Member of the Assembly elected as a member of a political party to sit as an independent if they cease to belong to that party;
Bill 11 – The Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act (Liquor and Gaming Control Act and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act Amended) authorizes and regulates the retail sale of cannabis in Manitoba when such sales are permitted by the federal government;
Bill 16 – The Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act, enacting a new Act requiring the government to develop a plan with a comprehensive set of policies, programs and measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address the effects of climate change, promote sustainable development and protect Manitoba’s water resources and natural areas. The Bill also enacts another new Act establishing an output-based pricing scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial operations in Manitoba and it expands the existing fuel tax rates to include a carbon tax rate;
Bill 25 – The Non-Smokers Health Protection and Vapour Products Amendment Act (Prohibiting Cannabis Consumption in Outdoor Public Places), to prohibit the smoking or vaping of cannabis in outdoor public places and other places specified by regulation;
Bill 26 – The Impaired Driving Offences Act (Various Acts Amended), which amends various acts to include the new criminal offences in relation to administrative driver’s licence suspensions and disqualifications for impaired driving.
On March 12, 2018, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen delivered his third budget. Highlights included:
- increasing the threshold under which individuals pay no income tax by $2,020 over the next two years;
- raising the small business income tax threshold to $500,000 from $450,000;
- investing $102 million to establish an independently run conservation trust that will fund projects to support the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan;
- decreasing ambulance fees to $340 from $425;
- support for funding for more than 700 new child-care spaces including funding for the construction of 251 new spaces;
- a $13.7-million increase in education funding and confirmation of the construction of five new schools;
- a new Child Care Centre Development Tax Credit to give businesses an incentive to create daycare spaces for workers’ children;
- funding for various infrastructure projects including launching the Lake Manitoba outlet project, funding to complete ‘Freedom Road’, to complete the Waverley Street underpass and upgrade the Portage la Prairie wastewater treatment plant;
- investing in Look North, the long-term economic development strategy for growth and prosperity in northern Manitoba and supporting a northern tourism strategy.
During his contribution to the budget debate on March 13, new Leader of the Official Opposition and NDP leader Wab Kinew moved a motion expressing non-confidence in the government, stating that the budget was not in the best interest of the people of the province and that it neglected the priorities of Manitobans by:
- failing to protect front-line services by making deep cuts to health and education despite unprecedented new revenues from the new gas tax;
- underspending the health-care budget, freezing acute-care services, cutting long-term-care supports, doctor recruitment programs, mental health and addiction services while wasting millions on endless reports by high priced consultants;
- cutting funds for Pharmacare;
- underspending the education capital budget for K to 12 and failing to keep school spending at least up to the rate of inflation;
- cutting post-secondary education while increasing tuition rates;
- failing to provide a comprehensive jobs plan, cutting supports for apprenticeships and training;
- cutting the infrastructure spending and the flood protection budget with no mention of the Town of Churchill or supports for mining jobs in the North;
- forcing regular Manitoba families to pay hundreds of dollars more this year in the gas tax with no tax relief in 2018 while letting big corporate polluters off the hook.
On the same day, Independent Member and Manitoba Liberal Party member Honourable Jon Gerrard moved a sub-amendment, stating that the budget, among other deficiencies, failed:
- to articulate a forward-looking vision or have an adequate plan for job creation and growth for the Manitoba economy;
- to decrease inequality in Manitoba;
- to provide transitional support for trucking or related industries while bringing in a carbon tax; and failed to provide a logical, clear and precise explanation of where the money raised will be spent;
- to show clear plans to mitigate the problems associated with climate change;
- to act to improve the health of Manitobans;
- to develop a duty-to-consult framework for indigenous communities;
- to invest in the city of Winnipeg and other municipalities by cutting funding;
- to invest carbon tax or federal funding in environmental measures, and to reduce emissions by cutting funding to the clear environment commission, water stewardship and environmental stewardship.
On March 20, the sub-amendment was defeated on a recorded vote of yeas 15, nays 38. Subsequently, Mr. Kinew’s amendment was defeated on a recorded vote of yeas 15, nays 38, while the main budget motion carried on a recorded vote of yeas 37, nays 15.
During the debate on Budget 2018, the Government interrupted the debate twice, as allowed in our rules. The interruption was necessary to consider and pass supply resolutions dealing with interim funding for operating and capital expenditures until the 2018/19 fiscal year budget and budget processes and the main supply bills are completed later this session. The process concluded on March 22, after the votes on the Budget debate motion and amendments. On that day, the House dealt with passing the remaining stages of Interim Supply legislation. As a result, Bill 21 – The Interim Appropriation Act, 2018 received Royal Assent on the same day prior to the House’s Spring break.
During the intersessional period, the Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs met in January to consider annual reports from the Children’s Advocate.
Resignation of former Premier Greg Selinger
On March 7, 2018 at the resumption of House business following the winter break, Greg Selinger sat one last time as member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Following a last speech in reply to a ministerial statement from Premier Brian Pallister acknowledging his career, Mr. Selinger resigned his seat as MLA for St. Boniface, which he held for 19 years.
First elected in the 1999 General Election, Mr. Selinger was immediately appointed Minister of Finance of the new NDP government, a portfolio that he managed for almost 10 years. In 2009, he won the Manitoba NDP Leadership election and on October 19, 2009 became Manitoba’s twenty-first Premier. Mr. Selinger then led his party to a victory in the 2011 General Election, before losing the last provincial election on April 16, 2016. He won his St. Boniface seat, but resigned immediately as leader of the party.
A by-election for the constituency of St. Boniface has not yet been called, but under the Elections Act it will be called within six months of the vacancy.
Manitoba Girl Guides in the Chamber
On March 10, 2018, Speaker Myrna Driedger invited over 100 Manitoba Girl Guides, age 10 to 12, to take their seats in the Chamber of the Manitoba Legislature. This was the first time in Manitoba history girls have filled all Chamber’s seats.
This full day event began in the committee room where the Speaker spoke to the importance of political engagement. It followed a presentation from Equal Voice Manitoba, which talked about the lack of female representation in politics.
The girls then prepared debate points with Rochelle Squires, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, with Nahanni Fontaine, Member for the constituency of St. Johns, and with the Speaker. The girls then discussed these topics on the floor of the Chamber.
Current Party Standings
The current party standings in the Manitoba Legislature are: Progressive Conservatives 39, New Democratic Party 12, five Independent Members, and one vacancy.
Clerk Assistant/Clerk of Committees
House of Commons
The First Session of the Forty-Second Parliament continued through the early months of 2018. The information below covers the period from December 14, 2017, to March 27, 2018.
On February 12, 2018, at the request of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett (Toronto—St. Paul’s), an Order of the Day was designated for the consideration of a Ways and Means motion to introduce the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee Governance Agreement Act. Following the adoption of a Ways and Means motion on February 14, 2018, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna (Ottawa Centre), introduced Bill C-70, An Act to give effect to the Agreement on Cree Nation Governance between the Crees of Eeyou Istchee and the Government of Canada, to amend the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. The next day, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Bardish Chagger (Waterloo), sought and obtained unanimous consent that the Bill be deemed read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole, deemed considered in Committee of the Whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at the report stage and deemed read a third time and passed. This represented an extraordinary occasion whereby a bill advanced two readings on the same day.
On February 15, 2018, at the request of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Bardish Chagger (Waterloo), an Order of the Day was designated for the consideration of a Ways and Means motion for a budget presentation. On February 27, 2018, the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau(Toronto Centre), moved “[t]hat the House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government” and presented the budget speech. Following the usual four days of debate, the motion was agreed to on March 21, 2018.
Procedure and Privilege
Points of Order
On February 27, 2018, the House Leader of the New Democratic Party, Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé), rose on a point or order, pursuant to Standing Order 69.1, regarding Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, requesting that the Speaker divide the question, for the purpose of voting, on the motion for second and third reading of the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North), intervened on the point of order to argue that the legislation reflected the outcome of a comprehensive review with stakeholders of federal environmental and regulatory processes. On March 1, 2018, the Speaker delivered his ruling in which he determined that the question at second reading will be divided into two groups.
Questions of Privilege
On February 26, 2018, Ed Fast (Abbotsford) rose on a question of privilege concerning the alleged preferential access of the media and select stakeholders to a departmental briefing on February 8, 2018, by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Ms. McKenna, and officials of Environment and Climate Change Canada on Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Mr. Fast and the House Leader of the New Democratic Party, Ms. Brosseau, who spoke to the same question of privilege on March 1, 2018, contended that by preventing parliamentarians from participating in the briefing offered to the media, Members were impeded in their ability to immediately respond to media inquiries. On March 1, 2018, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Mr. Lamoureux, argued that the Bill was not debated in the House until February 14, 2018, thereby providing Members the opportunity to prepare any interventions during debate at second reading. In his ruling on March 20, 2018, the Speaker reminded Members that part of his role in assessing the question of privilege is to consider whether the matter was assessed at its earliest opportunity. In this particular case, the time elapsed between the date of the alleged contempt, and February 14, 2018, the date on which the Member first raised his complaint, was a cause of concern. The Speaker acknowledged that the House’s right to first access the legislation was respected and reiterated the limited parameter of the Chair to intervene in matters of departmental briefings. Accordingly, the Speaker concluded that there was no breach of privilege; however, the Speaker noted that Members’ needs for timely and accurate information should be respected.
On March 2, 2018, Erin O’Toole (Durham), rose on a question of privilege alleging that Members of Parliament were denied access to information on the Prime Minister’s trip to India. Mr. O’Toole argued that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale (Regina—Wascana), had acknowledged that the Prime Minister’s national security adviser purportedly shared information deemed confidential with members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery during a media briefing. The same information was withheld from Members of Parliament. In his ruling on March 27, 2018, the Speaker agreed with the need for Members to defend their right to access accurate and up-to-date information. The Speaker reiterated that the Chair does not have the authority to require the government to provide information to the House and noted that neither the House nor a Committee had ordered the government to produce the information in question. Given this, the Speaker concluded that Members were not hindered in the performance of their parliamentary duties and that it was not a prima facie question of privilege.
On February 1, 2018, the 10th Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage entitled Taking Action Against Systematic Racism and Religious Discrimination Including Islamophobia, was presented in the House. Although not a regular member of the Committee, David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands), spoke briefly to the dissenting opinion from the Official Opposition, which is in variance with Standing Order 35(2), which allows, “a committee member of the Official Opposition representing those who supported the opinion or opinions expressed in the appended material [to] also rise to give a succinct explanation thereof”.
On February 12, 2018, Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West), sought and obtained unanimous consent for the following motion: “That the 12th Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, presented to the House on June 20, 2017, be amended by replacing the name of the witness identified in footnotes 76 and 82 to ‘Witness 1’, and that the modification be reflected in Appendix A – List of Witnesses of the report”. This was done in order to protect the personal information of the witness.
On February 12, 2018, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities commenced consideration of Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, after the House unanimously referred the Bill to the Committee on January 29, 2018. On February 26, 2018, Charles Robert, Clerk of the House of Commons, and Pierre Parent, Chief Human Resources Officer of the House of Commons, appeared before the Committee to reaffirm the commitment of the House to support a safe and harassment free workplace for Members of Parliament, their staff and the House of Commons administration. Mr. Parent highlighted policies and various initiatives that have been introduced to support the House harassment prevention and conflict resolution frameworks, including a code of conduct for Members regarding sexual harassment, an informal conflict resolution program, and an online training session to raise awareness on harassment and available services. In responding to questions, Mr. Parent noted that the House administration is monitoring Bill C-65 and will make the appropriate recommendations to the Board of Internal Economy to ensure bylaws and policies remain in compliance should the Bill receive royal assent. Over the course of the study, the Committee heard from the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay—Superior North), the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Library of Parliament of Canada.
On March 2, 2018, pursuant to the motion adopted by the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, Bernadette Jordan (South Shore—St. Margarets), presented the 22nd Report of the Committee in relation to Bill C-64, An Act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations. Ms. Jordan is not a regular member of the Committee.
Private Members’ Business
On February 7, 2018, the Private Member’s Bill C-210, An Act to amend the Nation Anthem Act (gender), received Royal Assent.
On March 1, 2018, the Private Member’s Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day), received Royal Assent.
On January 29, 2018, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (Papineau), made a statement in honour of the anniversary of the attack at the Centre curturel islamique de Québec. In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu’Appelle), and Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques), made statements. By unanimous consent, Xavier Barsalou-Duval (Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères) and Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) also made statements.
On February 14, 2018, the Prime Minister made a statement on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, statements were made by Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo), and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou), a portion of which was spoken in Cree. By unanimous consent, Marilène Gill (Manicouagan) and Ms. May also made statements.
On January 29, 2018, the Speaker informed the House that the Clerk had received from the Acting Chief Electoral Officer certificates of the election of four new Members. Rosemarie Falk (Battlefords—Lloydminster), Gordie Hogg (South Surrey—White Rock), Churence Rogers (Bonavista—Burin—Trinity), Jean Yip (Scarborough—Agincourt) were introduced and took their respective seats in the House.
On January 29, 2018, the Speaker informed the House that the House Leader of the New Democratic Party, Ms. Brosseau, was appointed a member of the Board of Internal Economy to replace Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby) under the provisions of section 50 of the Parliament of Canada Act.
As of February 28, 2018, Michel Boudrias (Terrebonne), Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord), Simon Marcil (Mirabel), Monique Pauzé (Repentigny), Louis Plamondon (Bécancour–Nicolet–Saurel), Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette), Luc Thériault (Montcalm) are no longer members of the Bloc Québécois and now sit as members of the Groupe parlementaire québécois.
Moment of Silence
On January 29, 2018, the House observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the attack at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec.
On January 31, 2018, the Speaker tabled House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Third Edition, 2017.
On February 2, 2018, the Assistant Deputy Speaker invited Members to take note of the use of the wooden mace to commemorate the anniversary of the fire that destroyed the original Centre Block the night of February 3, 1916.
On February 14, 2018, a take-note debate in a Committee of the Whole was held on the subject of the experience of Indigenous Peoples within Canada’s justice system.
On February 28, 2018, the House approved the appointment of Caroline Maynard as the Information Commissioner, for a term of seven years.
Table Research Branch
Prince Edward Island
Third Session, Sixty-fifth General Assembly
The Third Session of the Sixty-fifth General Assembly resumed on April 5, 2018.
On January 10, 2018, Premier H. Wade MacLauchlan announced several changes to Cabinet. Chris Palmer, the Member for District 21: Summerside – Wilmot, was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Mr. Palmer had previously been a private member. Richard Brown, the Member for District 12: Charlottetown – Victoria Park, rejoined Cabinet as Minister of Communities, Land and Environment, after previous Cabinet appointments and, most recently, a period of time as private member. Alan McIsaac and Allen Roach, the members for District 5: Vernon River – Stratford and District 3: Montague – Kilmuir, respectively, departed Cabinet after indicating that they did not plan to reoffer in the next general election. Within Cabinet, Jordan Brown (District 13: Charlottetown – Brighton) took on the portfolio of Minister of Justice and Public Safety, which had previously been held by the Premier, in addition to his existing role as Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture. Robert Henderson (District 25: O’Leary – Inverness) left the portfolio of Health and Wellness to become Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, following the departure of Mr. McIsaac. Heath MacDonald (District 16: Cornwall – Meadowbank) left the portfolio of Economic Development and Tourism to become Minister of Finance, following the departure of Mr. Roach. Finally, Robert Mitchell (District 10: Charlottetown – Sherwood) moved from the portfolio of Communities, Land and Environment to Health and Wellness. Cabinet stands at eleven members.
On January 31, 2018, S. Forrest (Bush) Dumville, the Member for District 15: West Royalty – Springvale, resigned from the Liberal Party to sit as an Independent Member. Mr. Dumville was first elected in 2007, and re-elected in 2011 and 2015. The Legislative Assembly is now composed of 16 Liberal Party members, eight Progressive Conservative Party members, two Green Party members, and one Independent member.
Inaugural Visit of Parliamentary Partners
In February, on behalf of the Legislative Assembly of PEI, Speaker Francis (Buck) Watts and Clerk Charles MacKay made an inaugural visit to the House of Assembly of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as part of the Parliamentary Partnership Agreement between the two legislatures.
As President of the PEI Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Speaker Watts addressed the House of Assembly and presented a plaque to commemorate the inaugural visit and, on behalf of the province, the Speaker presented a cheque to Dwayne Taylor, Speaker of the TCI House of Assembly, to assist with repairs to the House of Assembly Building in Grand Turks resulting from devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The Parliamentary Partnership Agreement was signed between the Parliament of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly in July, 2016. This Agreement aims to promote a sharing of best practices and expertise between the parliaments for their mutual benefit. It builds on the partnership between the two parliaments and paves the way for future cooperative initiatives. The inaugural visit also involved meetings with parliamentary officials, including Governor John Freeman, Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Leader of the Official Opposition Charles Washington Misick, Speaker Taylor, and Clerk of the TCI House Tracey Parker. Meetings were also held with InterHealth Canada on the delivery of health and core services in TCI, hospitality industry partners, and several Canadian business owners operating in TCI.
Exchanges and initiatives will be explored to strengthen both parliaments, including advice from PEI to assist in developing a revitalized legislative library, and to provide information on best practices for a Hansard service. PEI will also provide information and assist in coordinating a Youth Parliament through Rotary Clubs International, similar to the Youth Parliament held in Charlottetown every November. The Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly looks forward to welcoming a TCI Parliamentary delegation return visit during the fall 2018 Legislative session.
Potential Electoral Map for Mixed Member Proportional Model
On March 13, 2018, the PEI Electoral Boundaries Commission submitted a report to the Speaker providing a potential electoral map for PEI under a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral model. In December, the Premier requested that the Commission independently prepare a map as an educational tool. MMP was the favoured electoral model in a 2016 plebiscite and the Premier has indicated that it shall be an option in a binding referendum to be held in conjunction with the next general election. In creating the map, the Commission tried to follow the same principles and procedures it used to create the most recent 27-district electoral boundaries map, which was adopted in the spring of 2017. However, some adjustments were required, given that the MMP model divides the Island into 18 single-member districts, with 9 “at-large” members with no district boundaries. The Commission noted in its report that the map itself is not binding, and will not determine the districts for the next general election; it is instead a tool to be used during the referendum process to assist Islanders in understanding the MMP model. The report and map can be found at https://www.electoralboundaries.pe.ca/special-report.
Clerk Assistant – Research and Committees