November 29, 2012

As we approach another holiday season I would like to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. The House of Commons has been hard at work this fall and with several late nights ahead, I would like to provide a quick update on some of the Legislation either in process or already passed.

Bill C-444 an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (personating a peace officer or other officer) is my Private Member’s Bill. I introduced it on September 27, 2012 and am eagerly anticipating it being brought forward for second reading debate sometime in the New Year.

Bill C-45 the Jobs and Growth Act is our second implementation bill to enact the 2012 Budget that was tabled early last spring. I was pleased to take part in an extensive briefing of Bill C-45 (as I did with the previous Budget Implementation Bill) that covered all the clauses line by line. This legislation is a crucial in implementing Canada’s Economic Action Plan and crucial to moving this country forward in a way that voter’s asked us to do in April 2011. A few of the highlights of Bill C-45 include:

  • Extending for one year the job-creating Hiring Credit for Small Business, which benefitted nearly 534,000 employers last year
  • Improving the legislative framework governing Canada’s financial institutions
  • Facilitating cross-border travel
  • Removing red tape and reducing fees for Canada’s grain farmers
  • Supporting Canada’s commercial aviation sector
  • Improving Registered Disability Savings Plans
  • Helping Canadians save for retirement by implementing the tax framework for Pooled Registered Pension Plans
  • Improving the administration of the Canada Pension Plan
  • Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012
  • Expanding tax relief for investment in clean energy generation equipment
  • Closing tax loopholes

The Bill has passed second reading and has undergone thorough scrutiny by eleven separate standing committees and was reported back to the House of Commons on November 26, 2012. Over the next few weeks, we expect to see hundreds of proposed amendments from opposition parties before third reading can be voted on and the Bill passed.

Bill C-46 the Pension Reform Act was separated from Bill C-45 to allow faster passage of MP Pension reforms. Age of eligibility for pension has been raised from 55 to 65 and member contributions were boosted to 50%. In addition, as an example of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership on this file, the Prime Minister’s remuneration rate has been drastically reduced. This Bill has passed all stages and received Royal Assent on November 1, 2012.

Bill C-27 the First Nations Financial Transparency Act was passed on November 27, 2012 and is currently before the Senate. This bill addresses the issue of financial transparency for First Nation leaders by expanding the scope of the information to be publicly disclosed beyond the salaries and expenses of chiefs and councillors to include a First Nation’s audited consolidated financial statements. This financial information would be made available to community members and to the public through publication by the individual First Nations on their website or the website of a Tribal Council or partner organization.

Bill C-44 the Helping Families in Need Act passed third reading on November 20, 2012 and is also before the Senate. The bill will allow for unpaid leave for an employee whose child becomes critically ill, dies or disappears as a result of a suspected Criminal Code offence. Furthermore, the enactment amends the Employment Insurance Act to provide benefits to claimants who are providing care or support to their critically ill child and to facilitate access to sickness benefits for claimants who are in receipt of parental benefits.

Bill C-43 the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act passed second reading has been examined by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. Bill C-43 has three main purposes:

  • Make it easier for the Government to remove dangerous foreign criminals from our country;
  • Make it harder for those who may pose a risk to Canada to enter the country in the first place; and
  • Remove barriers for genuine visitors who want to come to Canada.

Bill C-42 the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act has passed second reading, has been examined by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and is currently awaiting third reading. The bill seeks to:

  • Help modernize the RCMPs discipline, grievance and human resource management framework, including new measures to create a single, seamless and comprehensive investigation and resolution process for sexual harassment complaints where the respondent is a member of the Force. It is also providing the Commissioner the direct authority to discharge members for various non-disciplinary administrative reasons.
  • Create a modern and independent Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP to replace the existing Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP and provide it with enhanced powers to carry out its mandate.
  • Establish a statutory framework for handling criminal investigations of serious incidents involving RCMP members, which will improve the transparency and public accountability of these investigations.

There are many more bills that have been and will continue to be debated this fall in the House of Commons. The information listed above is in regards to some of the bills that I get asked about most frequently.

Again, I thank you for your continued support. I will continue to represent your views and the views of Central Albertans in the House of Commons as we pursue a legislative agenda that benefits all Canadians.

Until next time

Earl Dreeshen,

MP Red Deer