The Senate is set to adjourn for its summer break by midnight on Tuesday, and despite the federal government pushing to see all of their priority pieces of legislation pass, two key bills are set to stall out as senators say they merit more fulsome study.

The Senate is set to adjourn for its summer break by midnight on Tuesday, and despite the federal government pushing to see all of their priority pieces of legislation pass, two key bills are set to stall out as senators say they merit more fulsome study.
Bill C-12, which will put into law Canadas greenhouse gas emissions targets, passed its third and final reading on Tuesday afternoon, and Bill C-30, which implements the 2021 budget commitments, including pandemic aid extensions, followed suit Tuesday night.
Both had received a pre-study in which senators were able to assess the legislative proposals, in general, before the document was actually before them. However, still some senators raised concerns about feeling as if the federal government was asking them to rubber stamp wide-spanning bills in a short timeframe.
Though two other bills are likely to be left in limbo and potentially left to die if an election is called in the coming months: Bill C-6, which seeks to restrict the harmful practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ2S+ folks, and Bill C-10, the controversial Broadcasting Act changes.
Both passed into the Senate at the eleventh hour of the House of Commons sitting last week, and despite some initial debate, two pieces of legislation are unlikely to make it further than entering the committee study stage before senators rise or log off from their hybrid sitting for the summer.
After sitting late into the night on Monday, the Senate passed Bill C-6 from second reading into the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee where a study is to be conducted before it could advance further.
Bill C-10 passed into committee on Tuesday afternoon, putting it in the hands of the senators who make up the Senate Transport and Communications Committee to decide how to proceed.
The Senate could sit late into the night on Tuesday and it’s possible a last-minute deal could be reached, though in absence of continued work over the coming weeks, both bills are set to languish in the upper chamber. This makes their fate subject to a much-speculated late summer or early fall election call. Any bills left in either the House or Senate that have not passed when a Parliament is dissolved, die. They would have to be re-tabled and work their way through all legislative stages again before becoming law.
Should either a C-10 or C-6 study kick off and be completed this summer, the entire Senate would still need to be recalled following the committee study in order to vote on the bills at the final legislative stages. If any amendments were made the bills, they would have to go back to the House, potentially kicking off a back-and-forth between the two chambers.
Senators have been signaling for some time that they want to dive deeply into the contentious broadcasting bill to be able to propose amendments of their own, and rejected calls from Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault to fast-track it, setting up the expectation that it could stall out over the summer.
During debate, Senators spoke about how imperative it is for the Senate to hear from those who this bill will impact directly and assess for themselves the effects of the proposed legislation, with some support for the idea of sitting over the summer to accelerate that process.
However, committee chair and Conservative Sen. Michael MacDonald told on Tuesday that at this point, the earliest that the committee may try to resume study of Bill C-10 would be the week before the House is scheduled to resume in September, if an election isnt called. He cast doubt on the prospect that a full-force weeks-long summer study of the legislation would be agreed to by Senate leadership from all sides before adjournment.
We inquired a few weeks ago, about the potential of holding some sort of an earlier study, and we weren’t given the green light. So as of now, we don’t have the green light, he said.
While MacDonald said as chair he will follow the will of the committee when it comes to the study, he personally has strong concerns about the freedom of expression implications of the bill. This thing has to be stripped back and looked at.
The legislation is aimed at web giants and regulating Canadian content, but became embroiled in questions over free speech and the regulation of users content, further fuelled by a series of opaque amendments that were made last-minute.
The substance of Bill C-10 has raised many important and high-level questions, including whether and how the internet should be regulated and whether this really is the best way to do that There is much of substance for our Senate committee to examine, said Independent Senators Group Sen. Donna Dasko during debate on Monday.
Dasko went on to add that further questions have been raised as a result of the extensive procedural wrangling surrounding this bill in the House.
Senators, 30 meetings and over four months at committee stage might be unheard of, but I stand here today to say that this legislation still needs further study, she said.
As of Tuesday evening, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee had yet to schedule meetings to begin studying Bill C-6. has reached out to the committees chair, Independent Sen. Mobina Jaffer, for comment on whether summer meetings will be held.
The holdup on Bill C-6 is facing pushback from the Liberals already. While the government pushed the argument that LGBTQ2S+ folks should not be subjected one day longer to efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender, the bill and its aims have faced roadblocks before, including from the government.
Speaking against the bill on Monday and suggesting it go to committee to examine how the issues with the bill can be resolved, Conservative Sen. Don Plett sought to revive the main argument against the bill espoused by numerous Conservative MPs. That is, that the definition of conversion therapy within Bill C-6 casts too wide of a net and may criminalize conversations about gender or sexual identity.
However, as Progressive Senate Group Sen. Jane Cordy noted during her remarks in support of Bill C-6 on Monday, the legislation explicitly states that the definition of conversion therapy within the bill does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates to the exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without favouring any particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Facing questions about the fate of these bills, the minister whose portfolio includes Senate engagement, Dominic LeBlanc told reporters that the Liberals recognize the obligation of the Senate to do its job. But he blamed the last-minute passage of these key bills in the House of Commons on Conservative obstruction.
LeBlanc said Tuesday that in the case of Bill C-6, the government was calling on the Senate to do what is necessary to bring this legislation to royal assent.
We certainly hope that Conservatives in the Senate aren’t going to frustrate the clear will of the majority of elected representatives in the House of Commons and certainly the Liberal government, to pass this legislation, he said, vowing to not let up on impressing upon senators the bills importance until it becomes law.
Asked about the prospect of the conversion therapy bill not passing, Conservative Leader Erin OToolewho was in the minority of Conservative MPs who supported Bill C-6said the federal minority governments legislative mismanagement and not obstruction from his caucus would be to blame.