Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

National Assembly

Academic journal article Canadian Parliamentary Review

National Assembly

Article excerpt

Composition of the Assembly

On October 20, 2014, a by-election was held in the electoral division of Levis. This riding became vacant on August 15 following the resignation of Christian Dube, Member of the Coalition Avenir Quebec. Coalition Avenir Quebec candidate Francois Paradis won the by-election and officially took his seat in the National Assembly on October 28.

The composition of the Assembly is now as follows: Quebec Liberal Party, 70 Members; Parti Quebecois, 29 Members; Coalition Avenir Quebec, 22 Members; 3 Independent Members, all of whom sit under the banner of Quebec Solidaire; and one vacant seat (electoral division of Richelieu).

Bills Passed

Seventeen bills (13 public and 4 private) were passed during the fall sessional period that ended on December 5, 2014. Of particular note among these bills are the following:

* Bill 3, An Act to foster the financial health and sustainability of municipal defined benefit pension plans;

* Bill 11, An Act respecting the Societe du Plan Nord;

* Bill 15, An Act respecting workforce management and control within government departments, public sector bodies and networks and state-owned enterprises.

These three bills were extensively studied in committee prior to completing the last stages of their consideration leading to final passage.

Rulings and Directives from the Chair

Two rulings given on December 2 during Motions Without Notice were among the noteworthy rulings and directives rendered by the Chair during the 2014 fall sessional period.

The first ruling follows the Official Opposition's refusal to give its consent to debate a motion moved by the Government House Leader. The latter argued before the Chair that an agreement had been struck between the parliamentary groups and the Independent Members in order to allow the debate on this motion to take place and asked that this agreement be enforced. The Chair ruled that during Motions Without Notice, when a motion is moved, the Chair's role is limited to verifying whether there is consent to debate it. Consent is verified after the Member has read his or her motion and, in this respect, the Chair cannot take into account agreements that were struck between the parties before the motion was moved. In the present case, the Chair observed that there was no consent to debate the motion.

The Government House Leader then raised a second point of order and asked the Chair to enforce the values set out in section 6 of the Code of Ethics and Conduct of the Members of the National Assembly, which, among other things, urge Members to seek the truth and keep their word when carrying out their duties of office. The Chair then recalled that it is not the role of the Chair of the Assembly to see to it that that provision of the Code of Ethics and Conduct of the Members of the National Assembly is complied with. That responsibility falls on the Ethics Commissioner.

Special Events

On November 3, the National Assembly welcomed Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic. Mr. Hollande addressed the parliamentarians gathered in the National Assembly Chamber on the occasion of a formal ceremony during which the Premier and the Leaders of both opposition groups also took the floor. On this occasion, the President of the National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon, awarded the President of the French Republic with the Quebec National Assembly's highest honour, the President's Medal.

On December 4, the Assembly marked the 25th anniversary of the Polytechnique tragedy by paying a moving tribute to the victims. After the Premier and opposition party leaders addressed the Assembly in the context of a motion without notice, the Assembly's women parliamentarians each read a section of a joint statement paying tribute to the memory of the Polytechnique victims and denouncing all forms of violence against women. …

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