Senate

By Hollins, Max | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Autumn 2018 | Go to article overview

Senate


Hollins, Max, Canadian Parliamentary Review


Legislation

The recent trend towards increased numbers of amendments to bills in the Senate, and consequential exchanges of messages between the houses, continued during this period. In April, the Commons agreed to three Senate amendments to Bill C-25, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and other Acts. In May, the Senate agreed to 15 Commons amendments to Bill S-5, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act and other Acts.

Also in May, the Commons agreed with three Senate amendments to Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, amended three others and disagreed with another seven. On May 9, the Senate adopted a motion authorizing the Transport and Communications Committee to prepare the reasons for the Senate's insistence on two of its amendments, bringing into play the rarely-used provisions of rule 16-3, which requires that if the Senate insists on its amendments to a C-bill, a committee must develop the reasons for the insistence. The reasons were contained in the committee's 11th report, which the Senate adopted on May 10. The adoption of the report triggered the message returning the bill to the Commons, indicating that the Senate agreed to the three Commons amendments, did not insist on five of its own amendments and insisted on two of them. When the Commons again disagreed with the two amendments, the Senate did not further insist on them.

During this quarter, the Senate continued to give considerable attention to Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. The Social Affairs Committee proposed 34 amendments in a report that was presented and adopted on May 30. The following day, the Senate adopted a motion that structured debate at third reading. Proceedings on each of five specific sitting days were limited to a particular theme, with speeches or amendments not generally relating to a day's theme being out of order. Senators could speak on each of these days and propose amendments, although shorter speaking times were established. These thematic debates were followed by a general debate, with normal rules applying, on June 7. During these proceedings at third reading five additional amendments were agreed. In June, the Commons agreed to 23 Senate amendments and parts of two others, amended one amendment, and disagreed with 11 and parts of two other Senate amendments. The Senate agreed with the Commons amendment and did not insist on its amendments.

The following bills received Royal Assent by written declaration during this quarter: S-5, C-25 and C-49. In addition, several bills received Royal Assent during a traditional ceremony on June 21: S-210--amending An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts; S-218--the Latin American Heritage Month Act; C-24--An Act to amend the Salaries Act and another Act; C-45--the Cannabis Act, C-46--An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and other Acts; C-50--An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing)-, C-66--the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act; C-74--the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1; C-80--the Appropriation Act No. 2, 2018-19; C-211--the Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act; and C-309--the Gender Equality Week Act.

Chamber, Procedure and Speaker's Rulings

On April 26, the Speaker made a statement reminding senators of a previous ruling establishing that a member who moves a motion to adjourn debate that is then rejected can no longer speak to the item in question. The senator whose attempt to speak led to this reminder requested and received leave to speak, and was, therefore, able to participate in debate.

A quite unusual--for the Senate--event took place on June 20, when, after consultation among the leaderships of the recognized parties and parliamentary groups, several committee-related items were ordered adopted as a package. These included one committee report on the Order Paper and four motions that were on the Notice Paper. …

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