Cue the epic keyboard solo, because, in the immortal words of Europe: It’s the final countdown. We’re T-minus eight sitting days away from the House rising for the summer, and there’s a lot still on the parliamentary to-do list. Here are three pieces of policy and politicking to follow next week.
The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act is one piece of legislation government House leader Pablo Rodriguez flagged as a priority before MPs swap their suits and ties for shorts and T-shirts.
Background: The government’s emissions bill has been kicking around the House and committee since first reading in November. It passed clause-by-clause review at the House Environment committee on Wednesday, and is now up for consideration at report stage and third reading.
The bill sets reduction targets at five-year intervals in order to arrive at net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. That said, the first target won’t come around until 2030, and the nine-year gap between now and then has been a sticking point.
Why it matters: The bill is one of the government’s big-ticket pieces of legislation. It’s dedicated a lot of time to it, and that will all be for naught if it’s left to wither and die on the order paper.
Canada has yet to meet any of its climate targets to date — not a good look for a country that brands itself a world leader in the fight against climate change — so setting targets at shorter intervals, with a requirement to track and report on them, can only be good for Canada’s climate cred (and the Earth).
What next: Bill C-12 is expected back in the House by mid-week.
It’s being pre-studied by the Senate Environment committee, but the House will still need to send it back to the red chamber for three readings before it can receive royal assent.
Another bill on Rodriguez’s priority list is the one banning conversion therapy.
Background: The Liberal bill that would outlaw conversion therapy is still making the rounds in the House and is currently at third reading.
Introduced by Justice Minister David Lametti in October, the bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it illegal to: force a child or non-consenting adult to undergo conversion therapy; transport a child internationally for conversion therapy; and promote, advertise, or benefit from the provision of conversion therapy.
Although the bill has wide support, some MPs worry it could outlaw prayer, or parents having conversations with their children about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Why it matters: Here we are in the middle of Pride Month, 16 years after Canada legalized same-sex marriage, and yet there are still LGBTQ2 youths and adults in this country who are shamed for their sexual orientation or gender identity and made to feel there’s something wrong with them that needs fixing — also not a good look for Canada in 2021.
What next: Third-reading debate of Bill C-6 continues in the House. It has the support to pass, so we’ll be watching closely to see what, or who, stops that from happening.
Budget implementation (yes, still)
The Budget Implementation Act will continue to be debated at third reading this week.
Background: The bill was tabled on April 30, hot on the heels of the Liberal government’s first budget in two years. It’s since been debated in the House, studied in the House Finance committee, and bounced back to the House for report stage and third-reading debate. The Liberals gave notice on Thursday that a time-allocation motion was on the way.
Why it matters: While the other pieces of legislation the Liberals say they want passed before the House rises might be “nice-to-haves,” the budget-implementation bill is a must-have.
The omnibus bill is packed with time-sensitive items, including funding to help provinces speed up COVID-19 vaccine administration and a one-time payment to pensioners. Its continued stagnation in the House would all but guarantee that the long-running rumours of a fall election become reality.
Next steps: Third-reading debate of Bill C-30 continues on Monday.
The Senate has been pre-studying the budget implementation bill, so it should have a relatively quick spin through the red chamber — if and when it gets there, that is.
For more on these issues as they unfold — and everything else happening on the Hill — visit iPolitics.ca. And catch up on all things #cdnpoli with the iPolitics/Toronto Star No Talking Points podcast.