Rona Ambrose's sexual assault bill is dead – as is the UNDRIP bill


The bill by former interim leader Rona Ambrose to give compulsory sexual assault training to federal-appointed judges is dead, thanks to some procedural maneuvers in the Senate.

Two other consequential laws – one that would implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and another to ban "unhealthy" marketing of food and beverages directed at children – are also doomed to almost complete defeat.

The sex-aggression bill, passed unanimously in the House of Commons for more than two years, will not be approved despite a strong lobbying campaign by Ambrose and his supporters – a broadly planned campaign to exert pressure on his former Conservative colleagues of the Caucasus. Red Chamber.

The bill, which would determine sensitive sexual assault training for lawyers seeking federal court judges, would be Ambrose's last significant job in the House of Commons after years as a parliamentarian and cabinet minister.

A last-ditch effort by independent Quebec senator Pierre Dalphond to hold debates Thursday morning over the bill was blocked by conservative senators. But even if the Senate passed the legislation, the bill has already been amended in committee. This means that the House of Commons would have to be reminded to accept the changes made by the upper house – a very unlikely scenario.

The House of Commons rose on Thursday for what is likely to be the last time before the October federal election. The Senate must do the same today, but only once has virtually the entire government agenda been passed. All other projects, including Ambrose's legislation, must die in order because an election cleans up the parliamentary plaque.

While some independent and liberal senators initially opposed the Ambrose bill as a symbolic gesture (90% of cases of sexual assault are heard by the provincial judges) that would interfere with the constitutional principle of judicial independence, some Senate amendments on the legal affairs committee met those concerns.

Ambrose contends the training would prevent another scandal such as that involving Robin Camp, a former Federal Court Judge who once asked a plaintiff why she did not keep her knees together. (Camp came down from the Federal Court in March 2018 after the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) recommended that he be removed from the bank.)

Ambrose described the actions of the senators on the bill – including his former colleagues – as "shameful."

"Victims of sexual assault deserve representatives who will defend them, especially when they have no say in the fight. It is shameful that powerful senators do not have the will to defend victims of sexual crimes." "Said Ambrose.

"We are going to an election this fall where women's issues will be at the front and center, and 90% of sex crimes are against women." All senators and political parties will bear the burden of letting the C-337 die. responsibility to do the right thing. "

Federal liberals have said they will reintroduce Ambrose's law if his government is re-elected in the fall.

Other important pieces of legislation – 29 private member bills in total – also head to the parliamentary rubbish tip.

One of them is C-262, a bill by MP NDR Romeo Saganash that would have implemented the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This law was backed by the full force of the liberal government – but only after then Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Ray faced opposition in Indian circles for initially saying that implementing UNDRIP wholesale under Canadian law would be "impractical ".

Speaking at the House on Wednesday, Peter Harder, the government leader or "representative" in the chamber, said a future Liberal government would reintroduce the legislation as a government bill to better secure its passage through Parliament.

Harder, who identifies as a non-affiliated senator but was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to carry out government work in the Senate, said that the Liberal Party would make the implementation of the UN's Declaration of Impediments a campaign promise in the autumn.

Conservative senators strongly opposed legislation, fearing that some UNDRIP clauses would give indigenous communities an absolute veto over the development of natural resources. Legal scholars disagree on how exactly the UNDRIP "free, prior and informed consent" clause should be interpreted.

Private member accounts have been in the background in government accounts in recent weeks as the parliamentary session comes to an end. And because of the political procedural moves of the conservative whip, Senator Manitoba, Don Plett, private member projects did not come on the Senate agenda.

One-hour bells for Senate voting and the practice of "seeing the clock" every night at 6:00 p.m. – A strange Senate ritual that suspends camera proceedings for a two-hour break – has forced senators to debate all night long without ever going beyond the mountain of government bills.

Another project – this one by former Conservative Senator Nancy Greene Raine – must also die in the role of order.

Its legislation would restrict advertising of certain foods to young people, hoping that reducing exposure to marketing could change purchasing behavior and reduce obesity rates.

Although supported by public health advocates, farmers fear the bill may prohibit them from advertising products such as milk and bread.

Saskatchewan's independent senator Pamela Wallin tried to avoid final approval of the bill (which was somehow approved by the Senate and House of Commons) after hearing concerns from people in her province. Organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation have launched attacks on Wallin for preventing project approval.

Walllin labeled it "bad bread," because Health Canada bureaucrats said any product with a 5 percent salt, fat or sugar content would be considered "unhealthy" and banned from marketing for people 17 or younger. . Most bread products, they said, would exceed that limit.

The government supports the law in principle. The letter of mandate for former Health Minister Jane Philpott included similar promises to protect children from certain types of food and drink advertising.


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