Canadian MPs are heading home for a walk after the House of Commons agreed to rise for the summer period on Thursday afternoon.
While the last days of late sessions sent a flurry of newly passed bills to the Senate for consideration, a number of government promises remain on hold until the fall.
Unlike the past two years, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suspended Parliament in 2020 and when he called elections in 2021, legislation that doesn’t make it to the finish line likely won’t have to start from scratch and reintroduce it. when the deputies return in September.
That’s because there is currently no election on the horizon following a confidence-and-supply deal between the Liberals and the NDP earlier this year that is expected to allow them to work together to keep the Liberals in government until 2025.
Now, as is often the case in politics, no one can predict the future. But as it stands, there is no sign that another postponement or new federal elections are being prepared.
So here’s how things stand as the House of Commons takes its summer break. This is not a definitive list of dozens of bills caught in the middle of the process, but a more general look at the underlying promises.
Last month, the federal government introduced a new bill that they say will improve the safety of firearms.
Bill C-21 seeks to freeze the sale of firearms nationally and revoke a firearms license from anyone involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment.
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In addition, the bill promises to introduce a so-called “red flag” law — essentially a law that would allow courts to force someone deemed a danger to themselves or others to hand over their firearm to the police.
The bill is on its second reading in the House of Commons right now, which means it still has to go through committee and third reading before it can get to the Senate.
Canada has sanctioned some 1,000 Russians and Belarusians in connection with its invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democracy that has resisted invasion for over 100 days.
In May, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the government was introducing a bill in the Senate that would essentially send the law backwards through parliament to bar anyone under sanctions from entering the country.
Check passed in the Red Chamber but must again pass the legislative process in the House of Commons.
Passing the bill through the Senate first was expected to speed up its passage, one official said.
mobile phone border tracking
The controversial bill, which has received little attention so far, should also return to the MPs, but it will probably be ready for heated debate after it enters the House of Commons.
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S-7, introduced in March, is called Customs Amendment Act and Preclearance Act.
These amendments, however, propose relaxing restrictions on when border guards can search the “personal digital devices” of any person entering Canada if the border guard has a “reasonable general concern” for controlled goods or substances.
The government described the bill as an attempt to create “clear and strict standards” for when personal digital devices can be searched at the border, as a result of a court ruling in 2020 that recognized the absence of any standards in the Customs Law. be unconstitutional.
But privacy advocates are sounding the alarm because of the potential for misuse.
Of particular concern to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is the “reasonable general concern” threshold, which is a standard that does not exist in Canadian law as it stands, and differs markedly from the typical “reasonable” threshold used in similar laws. reason to suspect.”
“Implementing such a low standard not only fails to protect privacy, but it also fails to protect against racial and religious profiling, which may be due to the excessive leeway that such a minimalist standard provides, and may even exacerbate such profiling,” CCLA. warned.
The Senate has amended this section of the bill to make it a “reasonable cause of suspicion” standard, but it’s not yet clear if the government will accept the amendment.
Expect a lot of questions as it returns to the House of Commons.
Cybersecurity – and secret orders
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino unveiled the C-26 earlier this month.
The bill aims to give broad new powers to the federal government to guide critical infrastructure operators regarding their cybersecurity plans and safeguards. It will also create the powers the government says are needed to implement the promised ban on Huawei and ZTE.
But cybersecurity experts say that while the bill has “good bones”, the provisions allowing it to covertly operate private sector companies need to be changed, especially in light of the fact that such repairs or alterations to companies’ cyber operations can prove costly.
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The bill comes at a time when the protection of critical infrastructure and cybersecurity have once again become central to the conversation about Canada’s national security.
Mendicino recently warned that the government was on “high alert” for Russian cyberattacks.
Late last year, Attorney General David Lametti introduced C-9, which aims to amend the Judges Act.
The bill would replace the process by which the Judicial Council of Canada reviews the conduct of federally appointed judges. It will also outline a new process for dealing with allegations of misconduct that “are not serious enough to justify the removal of a judge from office.”
It requires the judge in question to be consulted, further trained or reprimanded in cases where his behavior does not reach the threshold requiring removal from office.
In addition, the legislation will change the way in which recommendations for the dismissal of judges are submitted to the Minister of Justice and will set out additional set of steps for the removal from office of civil servants, except for judges, who were appointed to their office for “good behavior”.
Notable: NDP Algorithm Reform Bill
Bills by private members always have a hard time getting through the House of Commons, especially when the bill comes from a member of the opposition party.
And while it may have little plausible path to passage, Peter Julian’s NDP private bill is worth watching amid growing awareness in Western democracies of how social media algorithms are spurring the spread of hate and extremist content. online.
It only takes four clicks to search for extremist content online in Canada, Olx Praca reports.
C-292 proposes that social networks be required to disclose information about how they collect personal information about users and how that personal information is used by their algorithms “to make predictions, recommendations or decisions about a user and to hide content from that user or to enhance or promote content for them.”
These companies will need to ensure that their content moderation algorithms “do not use algorithms that use personal information in a manner that results in adversely differentiated treatment of any individual or group of individuals based on one or more prohibited grounds of discrimination.”
The bill, like all private members’ bills, will face an uphill battle and an unlikely path to passage.
But when Parliament returns in the fall, a discussion of its proposals could provide an interesting insight into whether the Liberal government plans to put forward serious measures against algorithms.
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