MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“An Unexpectedly Successful Parliament”
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it was only six months ago that our country was on the brink of the parliamentary equivalent of Armageddon.
Less than two months after Canadians had democratically elected a strengthened Conservative minority government to lead them through the worst global economic downturn in decades, a coalition comprised of the two rejected parties, supported by those MPs committed to destroying the country as we know it, were poised to seize power.
Thank God our Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, had the wisdom and maturity to reject such insanity and agreed with Prime Minister Harper when he requested that Parliament take a collective breather until it came to its senses!
Given that poisoned environment, I doubt any previous parliamentary session has ever begun under a greater cloud of distrust between parties and angry partisanship than this one.
Given this very rough start, you may be extremely surprised (and understandably skeptical) to learn that this very same parliamentary sitting has turned out to be one of the most successful sittings since I became your Member of Parliament.
Truly. The facts speak for themselves.
This sitting of Canada’s 40th Parliament saw the most Government Bills introduced in any parliament’s first sitting since 1993 – 54 in total.
Yet what’s especially remarkable amidst what has generally been viewed by the public as a dysfunctional Parliament, is that 26 of those bills attained “Royal Assent”, or passed into law. That is second highest Royal Assent rate for a first sitting of a parliamentary session since 1993 – and that was a majority government, meaning it was far easier to pass legislation than it is in our current minority parliament.
In addition to these 26 “Royal Assents”, a further five Government bills introduced this parliamentary sitting were passed by MPs in the House of Commons and are awaiting passage by the Senate.
The legislation passed has been diverse, meaningful … and ambitious. It includes legislation necessary to implement our Conservative Government’s Economic Action Plan in response to the global recession. As a result, 80 percent of our job creation, tax cut, construction and credit availability initiatives are already being implemented.
We passed legislation to enact stronger environmental protections and to address the concerns and needs of Aboriginal Canadians, veterans and farmers. We also passed new free trade agreements with our partners in Europe and South America. And we continued to advance our reforms to strengthen our justice system.
It’s a credit to all MPs in the House of Commons that amidst a stressful and adversarial environment, we still managed to pass over 57 percent of the Government’s legislation in just the first sitting!
As Government House Leader, I am very heartened by the accomplishments we have achieved – against the odds. I look forwarding to returning in September to continue the cooperative and respectful relationship that has been established among the House Leaders of all parties.
The last Parliament was the longest serving minority in Canadian history and if this Parliament continues with its success, perhaps we can delay Canadians’ next trip to the polling booth and continue with the business of governing!