On January 24, 2018, Jamie Baillie resigned as the MLA for Cumberland South and as the leader of the Official Opposition. A by-election for the constituency of Cumberland South was held on June 19, 2018 and the PC party retained the seat by electing Tory Rushton as the new MLA.
Spring sitting 2018
The Spring sitting commenced on February 27, 2018 and continued until April 18, 2018.
Twenty bills and the budget were passed during the sitting, including the Education Reform (2018) Act. The bill reforms the education system on many levels, including the elimination of all the English language school boards in the province and the removal of school principals and vice-principals as members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
Government Motion 1082 and amendments to the House of Assembly Act
On March 27, 2018, the Legislature adopted a Government Notice of Motion constituting a select committee of the House of Assembly to determine the composition of an independent electoral boundaries commission and to determine the terms of reference for the commission. The House of Assembly Act requires the appointment at least once every 10 years of an independent electoral boundaries commission.
The last commission was created in 2011 and issued its report on September 24, 2012; however, a reference to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal regarding the legislation passed subsequent to the commission's report was the subject of a court decision rendered on January 24, 2017. In response to the court decision on April 28, 2017, an Order in Council (OIC 2017-158) was issued establishing a commission to inquire into certain matters concerning effective electoral representation for Acadian and African Nova Scotians in Nova Scotia. The Commission on Effective Electoral Representation of Acadians and African Nova Scotians issued its report on November 1, 2017 (more information is available at https://novascotia. ca/representation/) On establishing the Commission, the Government indicated that it would take steps to establish a Select Committee necessary to set the terms of reference for the appointment of an Electoral Boundary Commission by January 31, 2018. This date was extended by OIC 2018-8 to the end of the first sitting of the House of Assembly in 2018.
The bill amending the House of Assembly Act legislates the terms of reference for the future boundary commission in keeping with the recommendations of the Commission on Effective Electoral Representation of Acadians and African Nova Scotians.
The Acadian Federation objected to the amendments giving the select committee the ability to include in the terms of reference for the boundary commission: 1) the possibility of having noncontiguous electoral districts, and 2) determining the minimum and maximum number of electoral districts that the commission may consider in formulating its recommendations. The Federation presented these concerns to the Law Amendments Committee; however the bill was not amended.
On April 6, 2018, Resolution 1157 was made and received the unanimous endorsement of the House without debate. The Resolution enacts a new Rule 14 (1) and (2) in the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly. These rules excuse an MLA from attending the services of the House when the member is taking pregnancy leave, parental leave, leave for illness or leave for a similar purpose if notice of the nature and expected length of the leave is given to the House or the Speaker within 10 days of commencing the leave.
Under the former Rule, the permission of the Speaker was necessary before the leave could be taken. However, Rule 14(2) clearly states that if an MLA is absent without first obtaining permission of the House or the Speaker or notice has not been given as required in the previous paragraph, the MLA may be subject to censure of the House.
Annette M. Boucher
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|Title Annotation:||Legislative Reports|
|Author:||Boucher, Annette M.|
|Publication:||Canadian Parliamentary Review|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2018|
|Previous Article:||House of Commons.|