My Blog for June 5th, 2016

Dear constituents,

A delayed flight to Ottawa is allowing me to enjoy some downtime at YVR and write this latest blog post. Reviewing my last post from May 29th, I think it might be useful to review the projections I made and give you some feedback on how the last week in Parliament went.

Before I do that, however, it’s worth noting that I’ve just had a fantastic weekend back in the riding; Cowichan really lived up to its reputation as the “Warm Land” this weekend! I flew here on the Friday morning flight so that I could attend several events in the Cowichan Valley. Saturday saw me attend the 50th anniversary of the BC Forest Discovery Centre, an event at Charles Hoey Park in Duncan, where the Warmland Women’s Support Services Society was hosting a recognition of Victims and Survivors of Crime week by giving me certificates of appreciate to hand out to the social service organizations in our community, and an inclusive leadership gathering in Lake Cowichan. Earlier this afternoon I participated in a D-Day remembrance ceremony with our local Legion at the Duncan Cenotaph.

Last week on Monday, May 30th Parliament voted on a series of amendments at the Report Stage of Bill C-14. There were 9 amendments in total, but none of them were passed, which meant the bill was reported back to the House of Commons in the same form as what had left the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. On Tuesday the bill was read a third time and passed, which sent it off to the Senate for further consideration. At this point there is little chance that the bill will receive Royal Assent by the June 6th deadline, which is tomorrow, given that Senators have already raised their own issues concerning whether the bill complies with the Charter or the Carter decision. Tomorrow, the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will be examining C-14 and calling forth witnesses to give expert testimony. The sad irony is that I now have to hope that the unelected and unaccountable Senate will pass amendments to fix the flaws to C-14 and send the bill back to the House for our renewed consideration.

I’m also happy to report that my second piece of legislation, Bill C-279, was introduced on Tuesday with great success. There was a good amount of media attention on the bill, and some praised responses from my fellow MPs. The NDP also scored a major victory on Thursday when we used our Opposition Day to move a motion that would create a new committee for studying democratic reform in Canada. Instead of having a 10 member committee comprised of 6 Liberals, 3 Conservatives, and 1 NDP (the standard composition for Standing Committees, which is based in proportion to seats in the House), our motion created a 12 member committee comprised of 5 Liberals, 3 Conservatives, 2 NDP, 1 Bloc, and 1 Green. The Liberal government signalled that it would agree to this motion, thus voluntarily giving up its majority. This was a major step forward in the discussion for democratic reform because the government can no longer use its majority to ram through whatever democratic reform proposal it wants. It must now work with the opposition parties to find the best way forward.

The week ahead sees us mostly debating bill C-15, the government’s Budget Implementation Act, at Report Stage. If you have suggestions, comments, or feedback on any of my work in the House of Commons, I look forward to receiving them. Thank you.