Last minute push: A guide to the government bills left to pass this Parliament

Last minute push: A guide to the government bills left to pass this Parliament
OTTAWA Back and forth on amendments between the House and Senate, potentially one last marathon voting filibuster, and one final prime ministers question period. Expect all that and potentially more procedural wrangling in the final four days that the House of Commons is scheduled to be in session.

After four years, more than 90 sitting weeks, and more than 100 pieces of government legislation tabled, the 42nd Parliament is nearing a close. MPs are set to decamp for their ridings at the end of this week, with Senators following behind them a week later. Whatever legislation is left behind once Parliament adjourns for good will die on the order paper the minute that the fall federal election is called. Any not-passed billwhether a private members bill or government legislationwould have to be reintroduced in the next Parliament by whomever forms government after the Oct. 21 vote.

As speculation begins to swirl about a potential early rising of the session, heres a recap of all the active legislation still left to pass (there about a dozen others the governments already signaled wont be advancing) including a considerable and in recent memory, the largest number of Senate-amended government bills.

As you go through this list keep in mind a few things:

First, the government has been routinely limiting the amount of debate time on the remaining government bills, especially those with Senate amendments. This, coupled with House sitting later most nights for the last few weeks, has resulted in bills moving through quicker than has been the case for most of this Parliament.

Second, the amount of House time left to deal with these remaining bills could be cut down significantly because of the prospect of one final Opposition-prompted marathon voting session. Thats right, another Conservative-led all-nighter of votes on various lines of the estimates could take place, though the likelihood of the Official Opposition triggering this process is yet to be seen.

And, should Parliament be recalled to ratify the new NAFTA this summer, then the session doesnt necessarily have to be completely wrapped up by the end of this month. If parliamentarians are recalled to vote on Bill C-100, they could deal with other key bills that arent dealt with before this session wraps. Just because the House and Senate adjourn by months end, it doesnt mean this Parliament has ended, so if a special summer session is in the cards, there will still be time to officially tie a bow on things.

Bills in the House that still need full Senate study

These bills that have the farthest to go to be able to pass, with just days left, meaning they are the least likely to reach Royal Assent by the end of next week when the Senate is set to adjourn.

Bills in the House that the Senate has sent back with amendments

These are all bills that the Senate has amended. In all cases the government has accepted some but not all of the Upper Chambers proposed changes. Once the House votes on their responses to the amendments, each bill will go back to the Senate where senators can either agree to live with the legislation as is, or push back and demand more changes.

Bills that have passed the House, awaiting passage in the Senate

These are all bills that so far have not been amended by Senators meaning that should that remain the case, they will be able to swiftly pass from the Senate without bouncing back to the House. Among these is the budget implementation bill, which is key.

Bills that have returned to the Senate with House amendments

These are all bills that the Senate has amended and the House has considered those changes, decided not to accept them all and have since informed the Senate of that. Now Senators have to decide whether they will accept the thanks but no thanks reception to some changes, or insist on more amendments, and then its back to the House for that bill.
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