With the final stretch beginning, I caught up with NDP House Leader Libby Davies after Question Period to see what she has planned for it. With her Private Member's Bill currently awaiting its second hour of debate in Second Reading, it's due to come up shortly.
Q: We’ve got five weeks left now – we’re entering into the traditional “silly season,” so I wanted to get a sense of what you had up on your docket for what you wanted to accomplish before you rise for the summer?
A: Today at our caucus meeting, as the House Leader for the NDP, I said to our caucus members "Okay folks, we’re into the last leg now before the recess for the summer, so everybody stay cool, everybody keep their eyes and ears open – things will start going really crazy. There will be motions popping up all over the place, things at committees will go really crazy," so I’m trying to give people a heads-up. That seems to be my experience as we approach this time of year. In terms of the NDP, it’s more about what are we trying to not let get through. One bill in particular – the Canada-Colombia trade agreement, Bill C-23, which began debate today. We think it’s a terrible agreement, basically completely ignores the terrible labour situation in Colombia, the human rights situation, so we’ll be putting a lot of energy into making sure that bill does not get through. Similarly with the drug bill, the mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes, Bill C-15 – we will be putting a lot of effort into that, and trying to convince the Liberals that they should not be letting that bill go through, though I believe they will be supporting it. That’s one I’m involved in. But on the other side, we’re very interested to make sure that our climate change bill goes through the Senate, because we want it to come into force before the big climate change conference in Copenhagen in October. There are some other bills – Nuclear liability that we’re concerned about. In some ways, the government is running out of stuff, so there had been some speculation that we’d rise early, but I don’t know that that will be the case. We’ll still obviously be hammering away at EI, and we’ve been doing that since day one.
Q: Your Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-304 – what’s the word on that looking like?
A: It is still coming up for the second hour of debate in June, so we may get to it before the House recesses, but it may also get put over until later in September, so there will be a big campaign around that, so that’s still possibility. But it’s still really active – we get emails, we get a lot of interest on the Facebook site, we’re getting people going out there, going to meetings, taking the petitions, so it’s still very active and it’s not left idling. We’re looking at that bill in a very strategic way.