When the Prime Minister asked for Parliament to be prorogued in August, all government bills died. This included major bills like the one removing key safeguards on euthanasia (former Bill C-7) and the one making conversion therapy, very broadly defined, a criminal offence (former Bill C-8).
These two bills are expected to be reintroduced this fall. The bill to remove safeguards and expand euthanasia, in particular, is expected to be introduced soon and moved through Parliament very quickly. The Justice Minister hopes the euthanasia changes will be passed by Dec. 18.
The EFC is encouraging people to contact their MP now, to ask for changes to the euthanasia law before it is reintroduced. See the action kit of resources at www.TheEFC.ca/euthanasia.
According to news media, a Conservative Party news release reports the Prime Minister told the CPC leader that he will reintroduce another bill to ban conversion therapy, although that the Prime Minister’s Office has declined to confirm that report.
As well, the Throne Speech included a commitment to introduce a bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this fall.
There are two reviews that are expected to be undertaken in parliamentary committees this fall. A review of the medical assistance in dying (MAID) regime was mandated in the original legislation. It is to consider how the law is working and whether to expand access to euthanasia for mature minors and individuals with mental illness as the sole underlying medical condition.
A review of the prostitution law was also mandated in the original legislation, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA). The government is under pressure to repeal PCEPA. This law targets sex buyers and pimps, and recognizes that prostitution is inherently exploitive for those who are bought and sold.
The vote on the Throne Speech in the House of Commons will be a confidence vote. If it did not pass, the Liberal government would dissolve. The NDP leader has indicated his party will support the Throne Speech, which will give it enough support to pass.
There is always a chance that the pandemic’s second wave will interrupt the plans for the fall agenda of the House of Commons. One of the bills that has already been introduced is for pandemic relief measures.
Although all government bill died when Parliament was prorogued, private members bills did not. See EFC’s sample letters on Bill C-233 (sex-selective abortion ban) and Bill C-219 (increased penalties for sexual exploitation).
The EFC has resources available on euthanasia expansion and conversion therapy. We will be watching closely and preparing for new legislation in both areas.