Parliament resumes sitting today, and with the budget implementation bill now moving to the committee stage, and with not a lot of government business on the agenda, it looks like we may see some movement on the first thirty items of Private Members’ Business.
These, their order of precedence determined by a lottery at the beginning of the session, are a series of motions and Private Members’ Bills that will be put forward for debate. While they haven’t yet all had their “voteability” determined by the Commons committee, and while the government can still appeal to the Speaker that certain Private Members’ Bills should not be allowed to pass if they contain provisions that require government spending, many of these motions and bills may soon see the light of day.
Justin Trudeau, being the lucky recipient of the first slot, has a motion on the Order Paper regarding a “national voluntary service policy for young people.” But down in the number 22 slot, NDP MP Libby Davies has her Private Member’s Bill ready to roll.
Bill C-304 – An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians – would see Second Reading when her number comes up, and being as it’s in these first thirty items, that could be sooner than later. It aims to create a National Housing Strategy, but whether or not the government would fight it on the notion that such a strategy would require spending provisions, or the fact that housing is typically a municipal issue, remains to be seen – though the text of the bill would see the strategy overseen by the federal minister in charge of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and would work in concert with provincial and municipal stakeholders.
Also in the news over the weekend was the fact that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean has been invited to visit President Obama in Washington DC – while the Prime Minister has not. It seems that Her Excellency made quite an impression on the president, especially with regards to their discussions on Haiti, and Obama wanted a chance to talk to her more about it, especially the social and economic development in the country.
When Conservatives were asked over the weekend whether they felt that Jean had overstepped her position when she talked at length with Obama, they were quick to say no, that it was her job after all, but you have to wonder if they’re not all secretly a little bit jealous that she seemed to hit it off with him better than he did with Harper, just looking at the way he looked with each.
Now, if only we can ensure that on her visit, she can have that little chat with Michelle Obama about her sense of style…