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Harper scuttles the implementation legislationfor the Canada-Colombia FTA

CBC reports that, “The Conservative government plans to shut down Parliament for two months, until after the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Wednesday.”

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas… said a speech from the throne will be delivered on March 3, followed by presentation of the budget the next day. The session had been scheduled to resume on Jan. 25 after the holiday break.”
“The move to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament is widely seen as a strategic move by Harper to gain a majority on Senate committees while possibly also avoiding criticism over the Afghan detainee issue.”

The Parliament of Canada website says, “All government bills that have not received Royal Assent prior to prorogation cease to exist. In order for government bills to be proceeded with in a new session, they must be reintroduced as new bills or they may be reinstated, if the House agrees to this. The Standing Orders provide for the automatic reinstatement of all items of Private Members’ Business in a new session.”

This means that C-23, the implementation legislation for the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has been scuttled by the government.

The various private members bills that will be delayed, but not otherwise affected, include: C-311, the climate change accountability act; C-435, the ‘Made in Canada’ procurement act; C-300, the bill to hold mining companies accountable; C-447, the Department of Peace act; and C-440, the bill supporting US Iraq war resisters.

To read more about the bills the Council of Canadians supports or opposes, please go to our ‘legislative action alert’ web-page at www.canadians.org/action/legistlative/index.html.

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2009/12/30/parliament-prorogation-harper.html.