The Conservative government is hoping to attract voters through the introduction of new legislation that it knows will not be passed into law before an election is called and the parliamentary slate is wiped clean, Tory House Leader Peter Van Loan says.
"We have introduced a number of bills, as you know, rather late in the session, that demonstrate what will be the core of an agenda for a Conservative government re-elected when we return in the fall," Mr. Van Loan told a news conference on Monday morning. "We have a full agenda of work that we will continue to work on when we are re-elected."
The House of Commons is expected to rise later this week or early next week for an extended break that will lead directly into the campaign for an election on Oct. 19. But several big-ticket items, including a budget bill, remain on the parliamentary agenda.
So it is improbable that many secondary pieces of legislation that have been introduced in recent weeks will go further than a first reading. Any legislation that has not received royal assent by the time the writ is dropped and Parliament is dissolved will cease to exist.
But Mr. Van Loan said that is what the government intended.
The government has crafted legislation so Canadians "can see a series of bills which we have introduced that represent the core of our legislative agenda," he said, "so that when we are re-elected, we will be able to move with no delay."
One piece of legislation the government has promised that is unlikely to become law before the end of the session would ban face coverings, such as the niqabs some Muslim women wear, at citizenship ceremonies.
Another would provide victims within the military justice system with the same rights as extended to others through the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. That legislation was introduced in the House of Commons on Monday by Defence Minister Jason Kenney.
When asked why he would move ahead with such a law at a time when he knows it is doomed to die on the order paper, Mr. Kenney said the bill could be rushed through Parliament.
"I've been an MP now for 18 years, and I've seen bills pass very quickly through this place at the end of session. When there's a will, a way can be found," he told reporters. If the opposition supports the legislation, "I'm sure we could find a way to fast-track adoption of the bill in the House."
But Liberal MP Stéphane Dion said that if the bills that are being introduced in the dying days of the session were important, the government would have tabled them sooner to give parliamentarians a chance to debate them. The government is demonstrating a lack of respect for parliamentary institutions, Mr. Dion said, and it is introducing these bills in the interests of the Conservative Party rather than the Canadian public.