Last week was perhaps one of the most unusual I have yet encountered on Parliament Hill. A bizarre incident occurred late in the week when a national news outlet broke a story that Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition, had failed to stop at a series of stop signs on Parliament Hill with an RCMP cruiser with its lights flashing in pursuit. When Mr. Mulcair finally arrived at his parking stall, it is further alleged he made aggressive comments to the RCMP officer involved. As is often the case, this issue became a large media story and also dominated much of the daily Question Period. The Liberals in turn introduced a motion reminding all Members of the House about the importance of respecting Parliament Hill traffic regulations and thanking the RCMP for enforcing them. The motion was quickly passed by the House with all in favour.
This issue was quickly succeeded by another as the subject arose of Members of Parliament, more specifically Justin Trudeau, and the practice of missing time in the House of Commons while accepting thousands of dollars from charities in order to deliver paid speeches. This has led to many reporters delving into the financial disclosure of all Members of Parliament to probe the extent of Members of Parliament billing charities for work while they are also being paid as MPs. While the subject quickly became the most hotly discussed issue in Ottawa, what was less reported was that Mr. Trudeau has now volunteered to work with organizations that he past billed for speeches in an effort to mitigate any hard feelings and resolve outstanding issues. From my perspective while both of these events received a large amount of media attention once again it must also be pointed out that many important bills that are progressing through Parliament remain largely unreported. This was a concern similar to what I voiced in my report from last week.
Of those items that received little attention, here is the progress of some of the recent Legislation within the House. Bill C-60, the budget implementation bill, has passed third reading. Bill C-62 “The Yale First Nation Final Agreement” has reached third reading in the Senate, Senate Bill S-2 the “Matrimonial Real Property Rights Act” that I have discussed in the past along with Bill S-8 “Safe Drinking Water on First Nations Lands” has now passed third reading in the House of Commons. Bill S-6 “Election and term of Office of First Nations Chiefs” has come before the House as has Bill S-16 “Trafficking in Contraband Tobacco”. One bill that will be up for debate and that I intend to speak to, is Bill C-54 “Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act”. Citizens in Merritt will know the tragedy of three young children who had their lives senselessly taken by an individual who was found to be “Not criminally responsible” for his actions. The family of these children, including their mother, have since discovered that there are many loopholes in this legislation that allow for the family to be continually victimized by an individual whose actions have already caused far too much pain. Bill C54 seeks to take action on many of these long outstanding issues and introduces greater judicial oversight into this process in addition to greater consideration for victims. This is a bill that has been strongly opposed by the Liberals and I expect the debate will be a very involved one. I have heard from many citizens in the community of Merritt who are strongly supportive of this Bill. I will continue to speak in support of this Bill and look forward to voting in favour of it.
Also occurring in the House of Commons this week is private members business that includes Bill C-473 “An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act” and Bill C-452 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) will reach report stage. A reminder again from last week’s MP report the excellent website www.openparliament.ca is a great resource for all citizens to keep tabs on legislative events occurring on Parliament Hill. If you have a comment or question on these or any Bill before the House of Commons please contact me toll free at 1-800-665-8711 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.