OTTAWA — The House of Commons and Senate have risen for the summer, following several weeks of frenzied legislating as MPs hurried key pieces of legislation out the door ahead of an election this fall.
The House’s efforts translated into a late night for senators, who stayed in the upper chamber Thursday until 11 p.m. to pass numerous pieces of legislation.
The end of the parliamentary session means other potential laws that are stuck in earlier stages of the process may end up dying with this fall’s election call — unless they are taken up in a possible special summer session centred on ratification of the new North American free trade deal.
Here are some of the high-profile bills that reached final votes after the beginning of last week and will be some of the 20 pieces of legislation receiving royal assent Friday afternoon:
Bill C-48, a much-debated bill that would ban oil tankers from a portion of the British Columbia coast. Its journey through parliament has been marked by a committee report that recommended it not pass, the defeat of that report and the House’s rejection of some Senate amendments. Following the adjournment of the House and much debate, the Senate chose not to pursue further changes and passed it Thursday evening by a margin of just three votes.
Bill C-69, also fiercely criticized by the Conservatives, is the second of the government’s two major environmental bills, and would create a new environmental-impact assessment process for major projects in Canada. The House rejected a majority of the Senate’s amendments. It passed through the Senate Thursday with a margin significantly wider than C-48.
Bill C-93, which will allow expedited pardons for Canadians who were convicted of simple possession of cannabis before legalization came into effect. The bill passed in the Senate Wednesday, without amendment.
Bill C-83, which changes the rules on solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. The House rejected several key amendments proposed by the Senate, which some have said are needed to make the bill constitutional. The bill passed the Senate Thursday night with significant support from Conservative senators.
Bill C-59, a bill to establish a national-security review agency, create an “intelligence commissioner” to oversee the conduct of Canada’s spy agencies, and clarify the mandate and powers of the Communications Security Establishment (the government cybersecurity agency). The bill was amended by the Senate but several of those changes were rejected by the House, and the Senate voted Tuesday not to insist on its recommendations.
Bills C-91, a bill that will create a commissioner for Indigenous languages and take other steps to save and revitalize those languages. The Senate voted Thursday, after the House had adjourned, to decline to insist on its amendments, finalizing the bill. Bill C-92, clarifying the jurisdiction of Indigenous people over family and child services in their communities, also passed through the Senate Thursday.