Bill S-2: An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts
Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts, was introduced in the Senate on November 24, 2021. The bill’s proposed changes would support the Senate of Canada’s transition to a more independent and non-partisan Upper Chamber.
Bill S-2 was previously introduced and passed in the Senate in April 2021, during the last session of Parliament, where the bill died on the Order Paper upon dissolution.
If passed, the bill would amend the Parliament of Canada Act and make consequential and related amendments to other Acts to recognize the independence and non-partisan nature of the Senate.
Specifically, it would allow for:
- annual allowances to senators occupying leadership positions in parties or groups beyond only the Government and Opposition. Allowances would be retained for the five leadership positions for the Government in the Senate, and the five leadership positions for the Opposition in the Senate. The next three largest groups in the Senate would receive leadership allowances for four positions;
- leaders or facilitators of all recognized parties and parliamentary groups in the Senate to be consulted before appointing a senator to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, and to be consulted on the appointment of certain officers and agents of Parliament;
- leaders or facilitators of all recognized parties or parliamentary groups to make membership changes to the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration;
- consequential and related amendments to other Acts;
- amendments to the Emergencies Act to provide that at least one senator from each group in receipt of a leadership allowance be represented on the parliamentary committee formed under the Act; and
- the addition of the titles Government Representative in the Senate, Legislative Deputy to the Government Representative in the Senate, and Government Liaison in the Senate to the Parliament of Canada Act.
In 2016, the Government established a non-partisan, merit-based process for Senate appointments. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments plays an important role in Canada’s democracy by providing the Prime Minister with non-binding, merit-based recommendations for Senate appointments that reflect Canada’s diversity and make a significant contribution to the work of Parliament. Since its establishment, 60 senators have been appointed to the Senate.
Building on these important steps, changes to the Parliament of Canada Act and other Acts through Bill S-2 aim to reflect the new realities of the Senate and align the law accordingly.
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