Legislation

Bruce has been hard at work introducing reforms that will benefit Canadians and make Parliament more productive. Here are some of his initiatives:

41st Parliament (2011-present)

C-512 – An Act to Amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Confidence)

Confidence is an important convention in Canada’s political system. For a government to continue to govern, it must have the confidence – or support – of Parliament. Surprisingly, there are no written rules to govern what constitutes a matter of confidence. This has let Prime Ministers abuse confidence by triggering elections early when they are high in the polls, or threatening to dissolve Parliament if MPs do not vote for government omnibus bills.

This legislation takes away the Prime Minister’s prerogative to declare any arbitrary vote a matter of confidence. Only a specific motion saying “This House no longer has confidence in the government” would trigger an election – not even budget votes would be matters of confidence. If the government did fall they would have 14 days to restore confidence. The legislation will make the government’s own fixed election date law meaningful, remove barriers to splitting up omnibus budget bills, lead to empowered MPs and more of a consensus style of governance.

Click here to read the bill.

C-508 – An Act to Amend the Auditor General Act (Obstruction)

The role of the Auditor General is crucial to democratic governance, as it is his or her job to hold the federal government to account for their use of public funds. Access to information is necessary for the Auditor General to fulfill his or her duties. Obstruction of an investigation by the Auditor General, including failing to provide requested information s forbidden by Canada’Auditor General Act, but unfortunately there are no consequences for those who refuse to comply.

This complete absence of recourse limits the Auditor General’s ability to hold the government accountable. To rectify this, Bruce Hyer has proposed an amendment to the Act to lay out consequences for obstructing an Auditor General investigation. Such offences, while not criminal, would carry a summary conviction including a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Click here to read the bill.

C-507 – An Act to Amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Obstruction)

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) plays an important role in the federal government, providing an independent analysis of the government’s spending estimates and trends in the Canadian economy. As a result, he or she needs full access to information regarding government spending to complete his or her duties. The obstruction of the PBO during the course of their work or the refusal to provide requested information is forbidden under the Parliament of Canada Act, but this legislation is not accompanied by any related consequences.

Bruce Hyer has proposed an amendment to this section of the Parliament of Canada Act, to specify that those who obstruct the PBO in the performance of his or her duties will be guilty of a non-criminal offence and subject to penalty. This legislation allows the PBO to fulfill its intended role as a budget watchdog, instead of a mere lapdog for the government.

Click here to read the bill.

C-440 – An Act to amend the Firearms Act (Transfer)

At present, Canadians purchasing a firearm are not required to show any evidence that they are licensed to do so. Even though the long gun registry has been scrapped, Canadians are still required to hold a license to use firearms in this country. This is just common sense, as we can’t have just anyone, violent criminals for example, acquiring firearms. Currently however, these people can easily purchase firearms without a license because there are no restrictions on the seller to ensure that the buyer is allowed to acquire firearms. There must be an onus on the seller to ensure that the person he or she is selling to is fully licensed to carry a firearm.

This act amends the Firearms Act to ensure that when someone sells or transfers a firearm to another, the transferer must find out whether or not the buyer is licensed to possess firearms.

Click here to read the bill.

C-439 – Air Passenger Bill of Rights

An Act respecting the rights of air passengers

Have you ever had a flight delay that ruined your holiday plans? Ever had your luggage lost by airlines? Been stuck in a plane for hours while it just sat there on the tarmac with no explanation why? Have you ever been charged hidden fees that you didn’t expect when purchasing airplane tickets?

Issues like these happen all the time across Canada. Bruce Hyer is fighting for you with the proposed Air Passenger Bill of Rights.

This act strengthens the rights of air passengers by obliging air carriers in Canada to always respect their customers. It mandates that air carriers in Canada compensate and assist passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled, when boarding has been denied, or when an aircraft remains grounded for longer than an hour.

It also requires air carriers to disclose all relevant information to the public regarding pricing of flights and to keep passengers informed regarding any misplaced baggage or any changes to their flight schedules that could have a significant impact on their travel plans.

Click here to read the bill.

C-343 – Cell Phone Freedom Act

An Act respecting the locking of cellular telephones

Presently, Canadians are “network locked” into only being able to use one cell phone carrier’s network. Even if we’re not in a contract, we can’t just switch our phone to another company. Network locks, sometimes called “SIM locks,” are used by phone companies to restrict consumer choice. We can’t easily just jump to a different company if we want to try out a better deal elsewhere. For many consumers that might be dissatisfied with the prices they’re paying or the service they’re getting, it’s not worth it to switch if they have to throw away their phone and buy a new one outright (at full cost) or sign another onerous multi-year contract. And the phone companies know this. They’re counting on that lock to keep you paying them every month, whether you like it or not.

The “Cell Phone Freedom Act” mandates that:

  • Consumers buying new cell phones in Canada must be informed of the existence of any network lock on their phone before sale
  • Phone companies must unlock handsets upon request, free of charge, when a consumer purchases a new phone outright without a contract, or any time after purchase
  • Phone companies must unlock handsets upon request, free of charge, when a consumer comes to the end of their contract or at any time thereafter

For more information on this bill, visit dontlockmyfreedom.ca

Click here to read the bill.

M-423 Motion to Inform Wireless Users (5 February 2013)

Wireless internet is a service used by many Canadians, but problems with wireless service providers can sometimes go unresolved. Bruce Hyer is working for you to hold wireless service providers accountable.

Bruce has introduced a motion that proposes that the contact information for the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services should be prominently displayed on each new wireless service contract and every service bill, so that consumers know who to contact in the event of an unresolved complaint.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-405 – Motion to Uphold the Integrity of Canadian Elections (13 September 2012)

Electoral integrity is a fundamental principle of democratic governance. However, the introduction of electronic voting machines threatens to raise the risk of security breaches and tampered votes. This system, known as “black box voting,” doesn`t keep a paper record that can be referred to in the event of a recount, which presents serious questions about the integrity of the voting system.

Bruce Hyer has presented a motion that prohibits the use of such voting machines in Canadian elections. If voters can`t trust the way votes are counted, how can they trust the election results? While open to technology which increases accessibility and voter turnout, Bruce insists that these new forms must meet the security standards appropriate for democratic elections in Canada.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-404 – Motion to Amend the Canada Elections Act (13 September 2012)

Since 1970, election laws have mandated that candidates must have their nomination papers signed by the leader of their party. This is simply another tool of national parties to exercise control and keep their members toeing the party line. If we allow the local riding association to select their own candidates, voters will weed out any that are unsuitable. This would make elected members of Parliament more accountable and give them greater freedom to represent their constituents.

This motion proposes that candidates receive endorsement from their local Electoral District Association instead of from the leader of his or her party.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-399 – Motion to Protect Canadian Sovereignty & Passenger Privacy Rights (19 June 2012)

Starting July 1, airlines will be forced to hand over the personal information of air passengers to U.S. Homeland Security upon request. This ability does not only apply to flights passing over U.S. airspace or to American passengers – even Canadians flying over domestic or international airspace will be subject to these regulations. This is a direct attack on Canadian sovereignty. We need to make it clear to the U.S. government that Canada will not comply with these restrictions.

This motion calls upon the government to protect Canadian sovereignty and the rights of Canadians and visitors to Canada by prohibiting air carriers from providing foreign governments with details on passengers flying to or from Canada, except when a police investigation is underway or a passenger’s flight enters the airspace of that foreign government’s country.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-391 – Motion for Randomized Seating in the House (13 June 2012)

Part of the reason for the dysfunction in Parliament is that members of each political party sit together in blocs in Parliament, like hockey teams. The government sits on one side of the House while the opposition sits on the other. During Question Period and other debates, both sides hurl insults across the floor, deepening the political divide in Ottawa. If Parliament had a random seating arrangement, government and opposition members would be forced to sit next to one another. It would be much more difficult for Parliamentarians to heckle their neighbours.

This motion calls upon the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to recommend changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing the seating plan of the House so as to establish a new randomized seating plan, assigned at the beginning of each session of Parliament.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-368 – Motion for Closed Captioning for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (2 May 2012)

At present, out of all televised parliamentary business, only Question Period is closed captioned for the deaf and hearing impaired. This is unfair – while non-deaf Canadians can listen to all televised proceedings of Parliament, hearing impaired Canadians cannot. Why would we extend them the benefits of being able to listen to Question Period, while failing to provide them access to other parliamentary proceedings? This must be changed immediately.

This motion mandates that all televised statements, debates, and committee meetings of the House of Commons be closed-captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing in both official languages, in addition to Question Period.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-340 – Motion for Cross-Party Co-operation (13 March 2012)

Co-operation among political parties in Canada’s Parliament has reached an all-time low. Ottawa is becoming more partisan and more dysfunctional each year. This isn’t just schoolyard bickering, it has a real cost: it delays progress and costs taxpayers money. Canadians don’t send representatives to Ottawa just to fight one another. They expect – and deserve – a Parliament that works.

One of the biggest impediments to a productive legislature are current rules that actively discourage cooperation between parties and foster political paralysis. In the increasingly partisan atmosphere of Parliament Hill, very few pieces of Private Member’s legislation are ever passed, let alone signed into law. We are now spending years and millions of taxpayer dollars re-introducing and re-debating good bills that have been delayed or killed in previous Parliaments.

The current rules governing Private Member’s legislation in the House of Commons (the Standing Orders) must be changed to encourage co-operation on Private Member’s legislation to increase the chance of passage. Implementing important initiatives for Canadians should be less of a zero-sum game.

Right now, Private Bills & Motions (those introduced by Members of Parliament, not by the Government or a party) can only be introduced by individual members. They are, therefore, often branded as an initiative of the party the member belongs to – and opposed or defeated just because the idea comes from another party. The system must be altered to put the merits of an idea ahead of party ideology. Canadians deserve better governance.

This motion seeks to amend the Standing Orders in order to facilitate more cooperation in Parliament between the political parties. It allows more than one Member of Parliament to co-sponsor a private bill or motion, including members from different political parties. This reduces partisanship and frees members to support legislative initiatives on the basis of merit rather than politics. It also gives Members of Parliament an opportunity to work together on bills and motions, and build support within different parties even before they are tabled – allowing good private legislation to ‘hit the ground running.’

For more information on this motion, visit crosspartycooperation.ca

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-308 – Motion to Reduce Passport Fees & Encourage Tourism (31 January 2012)

Perhaps the easiest country for Americans to travel to is their friendly northern neighbour of Canada. But right now, passport fees in both countries are way too high for the average tourist. This is forcing many Americans to travel within their country, rather than coming to Canada and contributing to our economy. If we were to negotiate a deal with the U.S. government, we could reduce passport fees in both nations to facilitate more cross-border tourism. This cross-border traffic will benefit Canada greatly, bringing in American money and allowing Canadians greater ease in travel to the U.S.

This motion calls upon the government to negotiate with the United States to reduce passport fees in each of our countries, and promote a limited-time two for one passport renewal based on a mutual agreement with the United States.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-304 – Motion for Fairer Elections (26 January 2012)

Our electoral system is broken. While the rest of the world has begun to adopt more proportional electoral systems, Canada is stuck with an archaic first past the post (FPTP) system, which distorts the will of the public. FPTP gives false majorities to parties with a minority of the vote, as we saw in the last election, when Harper’s Conservatives received just 39% of the vote yet hold 100% of the power. We need to introduce an element of proportionality to Canada’s voting system, one that will reflect the true democratic will of the nation. A party should only be able to win the same number of seats as the proportion of votes that they get in an election.

This motion calls upon the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to consult the public and recommend options for a more proportional system of representation for electing Members of Parliament.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-289 – Motion for Interest Relief for Medical Residents (training) (15 November 2011)

Currently, medical residents must pay interest on any outstanding Canada Student Loans while they are trained following their studies. Even though this training period follows graduation, it is still part of their educational process. Medical residents are not yet fully employed, and as such are not fully prepared to pay off their student debts. Medical residents should be exempt from any interest penalties on their debt until after their training period, when they are fully employed and prepared to start paying off their debt.

This motion calls upon the government to extend interest relief to medical residents and postpone debt repayment under the Canada Student Loans Program until the completion of the medical resident’s post-graduate training period.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-288 – Motion to End CPP Investment in Tobacco (15 November 2011)

Currently the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is investing our dollars into the tobacco industry. The CPP is independent from the government and is entirely self-sufficient. To increase the value of pensions, the CPP invests our dollars into a variety of companies, including the tobacco industry. Since it doesn’t rely on tax dollars, there is no oversight into where the money is invested. Canadian workers still pay into CPP, and should feel safe that their money is not being used to prop up the tobacco industry.

This motion calls upon the government to amend the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, establishing an investment policy for the CPP that prohibits investments in the tobacco industry and requires the CPP to divest itself of existing tobacco holdings.

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

M-263 – Motion to Revive Superior Rail (27 September 2011)

Since 1990, residents of Thunder Bay and the north shore of Lake Superior have been without passenger rail service. This beautiful region of the country has fallen on hard times, and needs to have passenger rail return to the area to foster economic growth. The rail route along the north shore of Lake Superior offers breathtaking views, and a return to passenger rail in the region will boost tourism and the local economy.

Passenger rail in the region is more important than ever before. With fuel prices skyrocketing and the negative environmental impact of fossil fuels, eco-friendly passenger rail is the transportation of the future.

This motion calls upon the government to commit to re-establishing passenger rail service to Thunder Bay and the North Shore of Lake Superior.

For more information on this motion, visit revivesuperiorrail.ca

Click here for a full list of parliamentary motions.

 

40th Parliament (2008-2011)

C-311 – Climate Change Accountability Act

This bill has been re-introduced by Megan Leslie (NDP-Halifax) in the 41st Parliament as Bill C-224.

The Climate Change Accountability Act requires the Minister of the Environment to implement measures to ensure that Canada reduces its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by:

• 25% below 1990 levels by 2020
• 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

It introduces greater government accountability by requiring the Environment Minister to prepare 5-year target plans starting in 2015, and report on progress every two years.

It mandates an independent body, the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, to review and report on the feasibility of each target plan.

Click here to read the bill.

C-312 – Made in Canada Act

An act respecting government procurements and transfers to promote economic development

Domestic procurement policies have been in the news lately with media coverage of the “Buy America” amendment to the stimulus bill previously before the U.S. Senate. While media often confuses trade in goods rules with those of domestic procurement policy, the fact is that the U.S. has already had forceful domestic procurement rules in place for generations. In fact, Canada sits alone amongst the G7 countries in failing to defend domestic jobs and industries with a “Made in Canada” government procurement policy.

NAFTA & WTO Obligations

The right of provincial and local governments to use public procurement to stimulate economic development is allowed under NAFTA and WTO rules. While direct federal procurements are constrained because of conditions Conservatives and Liberals have agreed to under various international trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP), there are important exceptions. These include the right to mandate Canadian content levels for direct government expenditures for ship construction, urban rail, and transportation equipment – exceptions that the government has failed to take advantage of. More importantly, federal grants or transfers to provinces, municipalities, or other groups for infrastructure spending are not constrained at all by these treaties. The Made in Canada Act uses this fact, as do other nations, to mandate domestic content requirements for federally-funded projects.

QUICK FACTS

Informetrica Inc. research indicates that, in general, for every $1.00 spent on infrastructure, a further $0.70 is generated in additional economic activity.

Outsourcing Jobs & Tax Revenues

In the last 3 years alone, federal dollars have supported:

  • Ottawa light-rail transit equipment imported from Europe
  • B.C. ferries purchased from Germany
  • York Region buses purchased from Belgium
  • Vancouver Skytrain’s “Canada Line” sourced from Korea

Click here to read the bill.

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