In the News April 26
In the Parliament
Government Bills on the Agenda for the
House of Commons
There are currently eight Government bills on the agenda of the House of Commons at various stages. The most recently introduced legislation includes Bill C-11, short-named the Online Streaming Act which was introduced on February 18, and Bill C-18, short-named, the Online News Act tabled on March 30, both by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Speaking to the Online Streaming Act, currently at second-reading, Minister Pablo Rodriguez stated it was one of three related pieces of legislation: “All three [bills] will work together to make the Internet a fairer, more inclusive, safer and more competitive place for Canadians,” he told the Commons. The bills, he explained, “are with respect to online streaming, online news and online safety.”
The Online Streaming Act will bring corporations such as Facebook, Netflix and Spotify under the control of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and require them to make contributions to the funding of the Canadian cultural sector and require them to institute methods promoting Canadian content, referred to as ensuring its “discoverability” through algorithms and the like.
The second, Bill C-18, short-named the Online News Act was tabled on March 30 and will come to second reading shortly. It will require news creators, such as the Globe & Mail, and online news distributors, such as Google and Facebook, to enter into agreements whereby news creators will be paid for the use of their stories.
The third part of the legislation will enact a regulatory body, possibly with new regulatory powers, to control a variety of online speech which the Liberals have grouped under a category called “online harms.” This third category is currently the subject of an online consultation on combatting racism, round-tables conducted by Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen, and deliberations by a 12-person Expert Advisory Group, all of which is supposed to provide the Liberals with input on how to proceed with legislation.
Other government bills remaining on the agenda are:
C-5: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Substances Act is at committee study stage. It will repeal some of the mandatory minimum penalties and allow for a greater use of conditional sentences and establish diversion (alternative) measures for simple drug possession offences.
C-7: An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts. It has undergone second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The legislation will expand funding for the groups that have formed in the Senate which the current legislation does not recognize as being eligible for research and staffing funding.
C-8: An Act to implement certain provisions of the economic and fiscal update. This legislation, introduced in Parliament on December 14, 2021 has been returned to the House following review and amendment by the Standing Committee on Finance . The Liberals have subjected it to a time allocation motion. It deals with Pandemic related spending, such as $1.72 billion for COVID-19 tests.
C-9: An Act to amend the Judges Act. Tabled on December 16, 2021, this legislation has not yet been read a second time. It will amend the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. Its summary states it will “establish a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge’s removal from office.”
C-13: An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts was read for a second time on April 1 and will be referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
C-14: An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (electoral representation) is also set for second reading and will be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. It will lead to the process of constituency adjustments based on the last Census.
C-17: An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to authorize certain payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This legislation authorizes payments to provinces and territories for transit and housing supply. It has not yet reached second-reading.
Renewal Update, posted April 26, 2022.