Legislative Reports: Senate

Canadian Parliamentary Review, Autumn 2002 | Go to article overview

Legislative Reports: Senate


In the weeks leading up to a lengthy adjournment it is not uncommon for the Senate to receive numerous bills from the House of Commons. During this period, the work of the Senate takes on an accelerated pace as efforts are made to accommodate the House without jeopardizing the constitutional role of the Senate to give proper and careful consideration to legislation. Such was the case in the weeks before the Senate adjourned for the summer on June 13 when twenty-three bills, at various stages in the legislative process, were debated on the floor of the Senate.

On June 4, Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, granted Royal Assent to the following bills:

* C-15A, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts

* S-40, An Act to amend the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act

* S-34, An Act respecting Royal Assent to bills passed by the Houses of Parliament

* C-23, An Act to amend the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act

One of these bills was particularly significant because it made changes to the practice of Royal Assent. Bill S-34, An Act respecting Royal Assent to bills passed by the Houses of Parliament, establishes an alternative procedure of Royal Assent, whereby a bill adopted by Parliament is made law through the approval of the Crown. In addition to the traditional ceremony that takes place in the Senate Chamber, it will now be possible to signify Royal Assent through a declaration of the Crown that will be announced in both the Senate and the House of Commons by their respective Speakers. Bill S-34 requires, however, that the traditional ceremony be followed at least twice each calendar year.

Other bills received Royal Assent on June 13:

* C-43, An Act to amend certain Acts and instruments and to repeal the Fisheries Prices Support Act

* C-10, An Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada

* C-50, An Act to amend certain Acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization

* S-41, An Act to re-enact legislative instruments enacted in only one official language

* C-59, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2003

* C-47, An Act respecting the taxation of spirits, wine and tobacco and the treatment of ships' stores

* C-27, An Act respecting the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste

On June 5, 2002, Senator Gerry St. Germain raised a question of privilege with respect to Bill C-15B, a Criminal Code amendment dealing with cruelty to animals. His complaint had to do with a press release issued by Liberal MP Murray Calder which implied that a deal had been made with the Justice Minister to accept a Senate amendment to the bill. He felt that the Minister of Justice was giving the impression to the public that it was his decision, and not the Senate's, that would determine the outcome of amendments proposed in the Senate. …

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