While the recent fall of the government has focused the
attention of Canadians on political strategy and tactics, the
government's defeat has also had a legislative impact. In
total, 37 pieces of legislation (29 bills introduced in the house,
and 8 that were introduced in the Senate) died on the order paper.
Among the bills that died on Friday, March 25, were:
the long-standing effort to amend the Copyright Act.
This proposed overhaul of the Copyright Act has been
highly controversial, as all stakeholders have different views on
how copyright law should evolve in the face of technological
change. Some of the copy control prohibitions in the bill, along
with other rules regarding digital locks, are among those that have
been heavily contested. The issue of copyright reform will not die
with this bill, and in the wake of the election it will be
interesting to track the next incarnation of the bill;
certain proposed crime legislation, including legislation
imposing new mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of drug
offences, and an amendment to the Criminal Code provision
in respect of citizens' arrests;
the proposed effort to impose term limits on senators. The bill
would have imposed a non-renewable eight-year term for senators,
with a mandatory retirement age of 75, regardless of a
senator's age at the time of appointment;
the proposal to alter the current formula for allocating seats
in the House of Commons, which is obviously a sensitive issue in
certain regions of the country. If successfully passed, after the
2011 readjustment Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario would have
been scheduled to receive a share of seats in the House of Commons
closer to their share of the Canadian population;
a bill that would bring oversight of the safety of drinking
water on aboriginal reserves within the purview of the Department
of Indian Affairs; and
a closely watched private members' bill designed to amend
the Patent Act and reform the current "Access to
Medicines Regime". The bill was designed to make it easier to
export inexpensive generic drugs to poor countries.
Finally, a number of bills received Royal Assent on Wednesday in
advance of the election, including:
legislation that amends the Immigration and Refugee
Protection Act by creating a new regulatory regime for
a new Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials
Act, which permits the freezing of assets of foreign nationals
whose country is in a state of turmoil or political uncertainty and
was designed to address issues arising out of recent turmoil in
Tunisia and Libya; and
other crime legislation that was pushed through parliament,
including the Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act and
the Standing Up For Victims of White Collar Crime Act.
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