Legislative backlog prompts move to midnight sittings of Commons

Published on May 18, 2017

OTTAWA — Members of Parliament will be burning the midnight oil next month as the Trudeau government rushes to pass a host of bills before the summer break.

Government House leader Bardish Chagger has served notice of a motion to extend daily sitting hours for the House of Commons until midnight, starting the week of May 29 and continuing until June 23.

The move comes amid criticism that, as of today, the Liberals have passed only 19 government bills since taking power in November 2015, a skimpy legislative record compared to previous governments, including Stephen Harper's Conservative regime.

Of the 53 bills the government has introduced, 15 of them have languished for months — up to a year or more in a couple of cases — without proceeding beyond the formality of first reading.

Liberals blame the glacial pace on a number of factors, including procedural machinations employed by the Conservative Opposition to thwart the government's legislative agenda and a more independent, activist Senate that has amended five bills and returned them to the Commons for reconsideration.

But Conservatives and New Democrats say the government has only itself to blame for poisoning relations with opposition parties.


The Canadian Press