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The Senate.


The period before the summer adjournment was a busy one in the Senate with a federal election scheduled for the fall. The legislative agenda was active with the passage of 20 bills prior to the June 30 summer adjournment, including 13 government bills, six Commons public bills and one Senate public bill. In addition to the Budget Implementation Act and the usual supply bills, there were also several other bills that were the subject of particularly vigorous debate, including Bill C-51 (Anti-terrorism Act, 2015) and Bill C-586 (Reform Act, 2014). An omnibus bill, C-51 amended several acts including the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and enacted and amended other acts. Bill C-586 changed the process by which candidates for election to the House of Commons are endorsed by their political parties. It also added to the Parliament of Canada Act a leadership review process to endorse or replace the leader of a party.

At the end of the session, the Chamber was seized with the debate on Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations). The bill changed the Income Tax Act to require that labour organizations provide financial information to the responsible minister for public disclosure. Debate led to a point of order arguing that the bill required a Royal Recommendation because it appropriates public money by expanding the Canada Revenue Agency's current functions. In his ruling on the matter, the Speaker allowed debate on the bill to continue stating that the Commons had not found that a Royal Recommendation was required and that there had been assurances made to the Chamber that the provisions of the bill align with some of the work currently performed by the Canada Revenue Agency. The government eventually moved a motion to dispose of the third reading stage of the bill, and a point of order was raised arguing that the government could not attempt to curtail debate on an item of nongovernment business. On June 26, the Speaker agreed with the point of order, citing a ruling of a previous Speaker in 2013 stating that such a motion before the Senate did not respect the fundamental distinction between Government Business and Other Business and as such, ruled that the motion was out of order and should be discharged. The Speaker's ruling was appealed, however, and overturned on a standing vote. The motion was ultimately adopted and debate came to an end with the passage of the bill at third reading, without amendment.

Senate committees

In addition to their examination of legislation, a number of committees issued reports on their special studies on a wide variety of topics, including parliamentary privilege, terrorism, bee health and bilingualism, amongst others. All committee reports can be viewed at http:// aspx?parl=41&ses=2&Laneuage=E.


There were two Senators who reached the mandatory age of retirement in June and July. Senator Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis, who represented the senatorial district of Rougement, Quebec, retired on June 30. Appointed in 2009 on the advice of Prime Minister Harper, Senator Fortin-Duplessis had also twice been elected to the House of Commons as the Member for Louis-Hebert in 1984 and again in 1988. In the Commons, she was a Parliamentary Secretary for several different portfolios between 1987 and 1993. As a Senator, she was an active member of several standing committees, most notably with the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, where she served as deputy chair during the most recent session, and the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On July 4, Senator Marjory LeBreton retired after serving more than 22 years in the Senate, including seven years as Leader of the Government in the Senate. Appointed in 1993 on the advice of Prime Minister Mulroney and representing Ontario, Senator LeBreton was a member of Cabinet until 2013 and held the portfolio of Secretary of State and Minister of State for Seniors from 2007 to 2010. As a Minister, she sat on several Cabinet committees, most recently the Cabinet Committee on Operations and the Cabinet Committee on Priorities and Planning. She also chaired the Cabinet Committee on Social Affairs from 2007 to 2008. In the Senate, she was a Member of numerous standing and special committees and also served as Opposition Whip prior to the change in government in 2006, after which she became Leader. Prior to her appointment to the Senate, Senator LeBreton was an advisor to political leaders including John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney.

Vanessa Moss-Norburry

Procedural Clerk
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Title Annotation:Legislative Reports
Author:Moss-Norburry, Vanessa
Publication:Canadian Parliamentary Review
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2015
Previous Article:National Assembly.
Next Article:Saskatchewan.

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