[mac_quote person=”John Baird” date=”March 23, 2011″]The opposition has helped pass a number of bills through the House in the last six weeks. That’s a good deal of progress. An election now would kill that progress. It would kill several important pieces of legislation.[/mac_quote]
When parliament is prorogued or dissolved for an election, discussion on any government bill that hasn’t yet been passed must start from scratch when the chambers reconvene. When speaking with reporters last week, Baird lamented the fate of three particular bills: Bill C-49, a law to crack down on human smuggling; Bill S-10, to fight organized drug crime; and Bill C-60, to give citizen arrest powers to victims of crime. While Bill C-49 and C-60 were introduced in the last session of Parliament, Bill S-10 has been around, in various incarnations, for over three years.
Justice minister Rob Nicholson used the same occasion to reiterate Baird’s point, mentioning two other bills: Bill C-54, which provides for tougher penalties for sexual predators who commit sexual offences against children; and Bill C-16, which would further restrict conditional sentences including house arrest for serious violent crime. Again, while Bill C-54 is new, Bill C-16 used to be called C-42, and has been around since 2009.
The bottom line is this: It’s true the government’s defeat means work on some bills will be cut short. Still, Conservatives have had plenty of time to pass some of the other legislation that will be killed because of the election. So blaming the dissolution of parliament for the death of legislation is mostly truthful, but a bit of an exaggeration.
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