2014 Annual Report – Legislation

Janet McLean
National Chairperson of Legislation
2014 Annual Report

Can I make a difference? Does my opinion really count? Do politicians care what I have to say? The answer is “yes” and I am pleased to report that many members across the country are actively engaged in trying to make a difference. Members made their position known on a diverse array of legislation including euthanasia/assisted suicide, palliative care, health care reform, abortion on demand, human trafficking, playground safety, prostitution, homelessness and poverty. Members wrote letters and postcards, sent e-mails, signed petitions, prayed, took part in vigils and quiet demonstrations and spoke with or met their locally, provincially and federally elected officials. They not only worked to change questionable laws, but also worked to influence the crafting of new legislation so that Catholic moral and ethical values were considered before a law was passed.

Members were pleased that Bill C-17 Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law) and Bill C-36 Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act received Royal Assent in 2014. A number of bills were still being monitored by the year’s end, particularly as the dissolution of parliament for a fall 2015 election will leave this legislation in limbo. These bills were:

C-26 Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act
C-212 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child outside Canada)
C-452 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons)
C-581 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (physician assisted death)
C-582 Canadian Commission on Physician Assisted Death

On the provincial level, many bills being monitored pertained to health care issues, including palliative care, as well as legislation on education, homelessness and poverty. Several provincial councils were successful in meeting with their provincial government to discuss matters of importance although provincial elections in some provinces made this impossible in 2014.

It is clear that members wanted to make a difference, whether in the laws of Canada, their province or their municipality. As one person often filled the role of both legislation and resolution standing committee chairperson, the education of members continued to be important to encourage more members to consider taking on this standing committee. It was suggested that a review of the working of government, including the work of legislation committees, might be a good place to start. This suggestion will be followed up in the coming year.