Laws Passed in Last Parliamentary Session

When the last parliamentary session ended on June 22, Liberal Government House leader Mark Holland told reporters that the session that just concluded was "very productive." By this he meant that the Liberals had succeeded in having 15 bills passed in the previous 15 weeks. Top of the list of Liberal priorities was Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act, 2023 which received Royal Assent on June 22. A piece of omnibus legislation, it contained many provisions hidden within its 430 pages, many of which Canadians knew nothing about. For example, it includes changes to nearly 60 pieces of legislation, including many such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Citizenship Act and the Canada Elections Act that have nothing to do with the budget.

The other major bill that Holland highlighted was Bill C-35, the Canada Early Learning and Child Care Act which has been passed in the House of Commons and is now awaiting second reading in the Senate. According to this bill, by 2026 Canadians can access child care at $10 a day and they already pay 50 per cent less, reports indicate. It is not yet at all evident if sufficient suitable spaces will be available at $10 a day or whether it is a scheme to hand over public funds to private providers.

The Liberal Party's controversial gun control legislation, Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) passed third reading in the House on May 18 and has completed second reading in the Senate and awaits further study in committee. Critics of the bill claim it does not address the causes of gun violence and would harm "hundreds of thousands of Canadian hunters, farmers, trappers, collectors, and sport shooters, many of them Indigenous." Gun control advocates support the legislation and consider it a step forward. To most people's dismay, it has nothing to do with controlling police violence or state-inspired attacks which involve illegal weapons. Justice continues to elude victims of police violence.

While this is a partial account of the bills adopted in the last session of Parliament, it tells us little about the meaning of the word "productive" used by the Leader of the House in describing the session of Parliament. Of course, he is not referring to the bills themselves but to the fact that the Liberals managed to pass them at all. In light of the amount of grandstanding and preoccupations of the Trudeau Liberals about being re-elected and when to call the next election, to present them in a favourable light is an assessment which is far removed from people's lives and concerns and the challenges facing society and the country at this time. It really means nothing.

Besides the legislation and mud-slinging in the House and outside, including the hype surrounding leaked "intelligence" alleging Chinese interference in Canadian elections, the Trudeau government claims two major accomplishments in this session -- the signing of child care agreements with all 10 provinces -- which Trudeau requires to maintain his "merger" arrangement with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh -- and the securing of the Volkswagen electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ontario with federal government handouts estimated by the Parliamentary Budget Officer at around $16.3 billion. This he needs to respond to the demands of the Pentagon to fund the technology required for the storage of energy, the production of electric vehicles and infrastructure required for war production. Someone is making windfall profits, but it is not the Canadian people.

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 8 - August 2023

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