Ten government bills – including controversial changes to citizenship law and election rules – are set to become law as Parliament’s spring sitting nears its end.
(What is the Fair Elections Act? Read The Globe and Mail’s easy explanation.)
A royal assent ceremony, which is the final step for a bill that has passed the House of Commons and Senate, is scheduled for Thursday with 10 bills expected to be approved.
Among the bills is C-23, the controversial Fair Elections Act that overhauls many of the rules governing Canadian elections, as well as several budget implementation bills and a pair of bills relating to First Nations agreements.
The Conservative government’s overhaul of citizenship laws, Bill C-24, is also expected to receive royal assent, though a source said that may ultimately come in the coming days, as C-24 is also scheduled for third and final reading in the Senate on Thursday.
MPs are scheduled to break for the summer no later than Friday, with senators following suit no later than the end of next week. Parliament has been sitting until midnight most nights for the past four weeks.
Those final weeks have seen the government under fire over a failed Supreme Court nomination of Marc Nadon, the maligned Temporary Foreign Worker program and, this week, the conditional approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline. The opposition has also cried foul over government’s frequent use of time allocation in parliament, a procedure used to limit debate on bills.
However, in an interview Wednesday, Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said the government was pleased with the session, including the passage of bills dealing with economic issues and tackling crime, two “key priorities” of the Conservative platform, he said.
“We’ve had a very productive session, the government got a lot done,” Mr. Van Loan said. “... Our caucus members are going back to their ridings feeling positive, and I think everyone senses that, to the extend there’s momentum out there, that momentum is at our backs.”
Other bills expected to become law Thursday include:
- Bill C-5, the Offshore Health and Safety Act, which establishes new workplace rules for offshore activities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador;
- Bill C-20, the Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act;
- Bill C-25, the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act;
- Bill C-31, the budget bill;
- Bill C-34, the Tla’amin Final Agreement Act;
- Bill C-37, which renames certain electoral ridings as was passed unanimously in the House;
- Bills C-38 and C-39, each of which is a financial appropriation bill.
Another royal assent ceremony could follow before summer to pass other bills.