In the Parliament
Proceedings of the 44th Parliament
The House of Commons and the Senate reconvened on Tuesday, November 22 and will adjourn for a five week break on Friday, December 17. The Throne Speech that opened Parliament is still on the agenda, with an amendment tabled by the Conservatives and amended by the Bloc stating that the speech “fails to adequately address critical issues that threaten the prosperity of Canadians.” They wish to have the cost of living, inflation, the stagnant economy, the housing crisis, the labour shortage, and the “national unity crisis” be added to it.
The proceedings have seen 120 reports for the year ending March 2021, from various government agencies and departments, tabled and referred to various House Committees. These include information about the hundreds of Orders-in-Council that have been issued by the Cabinet, ranging from restrictions on travelers entering the country; foreign relations, such as Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Belarus) Regulations; to appointments to agencies and departments made at the pleasure of the Liberals. Also included are departmental reports such as “Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy Interim Report for the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food for 2020-2021.” Most of the reports are not readily obtainable by the public and whether they are read by the members of the House of Commons is doubtful.
The House of Commons also received reports from the Officers of Parliament which have supplanted ministerial reporting and accountability. Gone are the days when ministers were expected to deliver reports on their ministries. The Privacy Commissioner, the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Auditor-General and the various commissioners within that office have submitted reports which are made public immediately, such as the report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainability which concluded that Canada is “the worst performer of all G7 countries” in meeting its commitments to reduce emissions. These reports provided grist for the scandal-mill, with talking-point writers for Liberal MPs and opposition critics providing 15-second sound bites which either discredit or affirm the findings presented. This is done on a self-serving selective basis. The report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, for instance, informed that its budget needs to be increased because of the work involved in costing parties’ electoral platforms but MPs found no issue with this expansion of public funding for the cartel party system.
On December 14, Finance Minister Freeland will deliver her Fiscal and Economic Update for the current year.
In the Senate, eight new members were sworn in. Government Representative Marc Gold told his fellow senators that counting the new members, “we form a club that has sworn in only 998 members in the last 154 years.” He suggested that their background and talents would “contribute to continuing this chamber’s role as a representative and thoughtful voice for all Canadians.”
There are currently 13 vacancies in the 105 member Senate. Their groupings have become difficult to comprehend. Six identify themselves as “non-affiliated,” 42 identify as the “Independent Senators Group,” 18 are in the Conservative Party Group, 14 are in the “Progressive Senators Group” and 12 are in the “Canadian Senators Group.”
Thirty-three bills have been tabled in the Senate.