MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“The Senate Shakes Things Up in Ottawa”
The earthquake that hit Ottawa this week actually had little to do with shaking things up in Canada’s Senate. Yet many Canadians might find it earth-shattering news that the Red Chamber has been examining and passing legislation at a rapid and productive rate.
In fact, by mid next week, the Senate of Canada will have passed more government legislation than MPs in the House of Commons! And yes, Senators are continuing to hold committee hearings and debates so that they can get important Bills passed and ready to become law with Royal Assent.
Most notably for constituents in Prince George-Peace River, Senators have moved quickly to pass our Conservative Government’s justice reforms, a stark contrast from the last Parliament where the Liberals repeatedly used their majority in the Senate to block our justice agenda.
Bill S-2, which will strengthen the Sex Offender Registry made it through the Senate. It’s in the House of Commons where opposition MPs have not agreed to its passage. Senators also endorsed Bill S-9 to tackle auto theft and S-5 concerning the international transfer of offenders.
The upper chamber is also acting quickly to move through debate of high-priority legislation recently passed by MPs, including restrictions on pardons for sex offenders, our Jobs and Economic Growth legislation, and refugee reforms.
This productivity and progress in the Senate is not new, having endured throughout much of this entire sitting. In fact, until the recent accomplishments in the House I reported last week, as Government House Leader I experienced many moments of envy as my counterpart, Leader of the Government in the Senate Marjory LeBreton, would provide her daily progress updates.
I congratulate Minister LeBreton and her staff for their negotiating abilities and proficiency in working with the opposition in the Senate. She has certainly served to strengthen the reputation of the red chamber’s effectiveness.
In other news this week, our Government announced that, beginning July 1st, we will require that all domestic and foreign vessels of a certain size must report to the Canadian Coast Guard when travelling through Canada’s Arctic waters.
With mandatory reporting, the Coast Guard will keep watch of vessels carrying pollutants, fuel, oil and dangerous goods; respond quickly in the event of an accident; and promote the safe navigation of vessels through our waters.
This announcement builds on new legislation passed in June 2009 which extends Canada’s sovereignty of Arctic waters from 100 to 200 nautical mile limits.
Our Government has taken unprecedented action to protect and promote Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty, not only because thousands of northerners call it home, but also because today it is more accessible than ever for shipping, resource exploration, development, research and economic opportunities.
And on a final note, as you make your plans for Canada Day, you may wish to consult Heritage Canada’s website for resources to enhance your July 1st celebrations. You’ll find party ideas, activities you can download for kids and the official lyrics and sheet music for O Canada, among other fun tips and tools. Go to http://www.pch.gc.ca/special/canada/zone/index-eng.cfm.