Parish Legislation memo Fall 2018
“Legislative activity is always best based on care for the people” (Pope Francis).
Greetings to my Sisters in the League!
I am thrilled to be elected once again to the national executive and look forward to my new position as chairperson of legislation.
According to the federal government website www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/corporate/abouthealth-canada/legislation-guidelines/legislation.html, legislation is defined as:
“Legislation, also known as the acts, are forms of law that can provide the authority to make regulations. Generally, legislation begins as a bill (draft form), and can originate either in the House of Commons or in the Senate. For a bill to become law, it must be approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate, and by the Governor General of Canada (the Crown). Bills are discussed by members of both Houses during what is formally known as First Reading, Second Reading and Third Reading, and are also submitted to a Parliamentary Committee for review. The Committee usually seeks out the views of interested parties, including the public. The final stage of the enactment of a bill is when it receives Royal Assent. The timing of Royal Assent is determined by the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons in consultation with the Leader of the Government in the Senate. An Act has the force of law upon Royal Assent, unless it is provided in the Act that it will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council (Cabinet).”
The “C” of the “CWL” stands for Catholic, but could also stand for compassionate, concerned or conscientious women aware of issues in communities, prepared to spring to action. One way to do this is by monitoring and studying federal government legislation.
It all begins with a concern or issue a member, or someone they know, may have or had to deal with. One such serious issue, which falls under the legislation standing committee, had a resolution adopted at the 98th annual national convention. Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying.
The action plan encourages members to:
1. Write to the prime minister, ministers of justice and health, and local members of parliament urging the federal government to legislate designation or hospice/palliative care free from medical assistance in dying.
2. Educate members on keeping hospice and palliative care free from medical assistance in dying.
3. Where hospices are performing medical assistance in dying, withdraw all funding. Write to the board of directors of hospices stating the reason for the withdrawal of donations.
4. Monitor the federal government’s response to the request contained in the resolution.
The House of Commons resumed its sitting sessions on September 17, 2018. Information can be found at parl.gc.ca/housechamberbusiness/chambercalendar. “LEGISinfo is an essential research tool for finding information on legislation before Parliament.” Visit parl.gc.ca/LEGISInfo to view bills under consideration in either the Senate or the House of Commons.
Should you have any questions, concerns or information you would like to share, please do not hesitate to contact me. Remember, legislation begins as a bill and a resolution begins with a concern from the grass roots. Let’s put faith into action.
“We can change the world and make it a better place.
It is in our hands to make a difference” (Nelson Mandela).
May Our Lord journey with us and may Our Lady of Good Counsel guide us as we work together for
National Chairperson of Legislation
Downlaod memo from Linda VandenBerg, Provincial Chairperson of Legislation
“National Palliative Care: Private member’s Bill C-277 Framework on Palliative Care Act in Canada received royal assent December 12, 2017. This bill in part states, ‘The Minister of Health must, in consultation with the representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for health, as well as with palliative care providers, develop a framework designed to support improved access for Canadians to palliative care - provided through hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities and residential hospices …’
“Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals : On January 31, 2018 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) upheld the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policies regarding the requirement that physicians who have ethical objections to certain acts, including euthanasia and abortion, must refer patients to healthcare professionals who will provide the act, even though the court recognized that this violates the physicians’ rights to religious freedom. If this can happen in Ontario, it can happen in all provinces.”
“Bill C-38 An Act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons):
This bill is in second reading in the House of Commons (1st reading February 9, 2017) This enactment amends An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) so that certain sections of that act can come into force on different days. The act received royal assent on June 18, 2015 yet has not come into force since presently the act states that it will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. If Bill C-38 passes, it would allow the act to come into force on the day of receiving royal assent, thereby expediting the justice system for those who have exploited and trafficked persons.”
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2017 Legislation memo - Nancy Simms, national chairperson of legislation:
I send you greetings from British Columbia. As the days get shorter and the fall rains begin to spill out over our country, I would like to thank all of you for your prayers for those affected by wildfires. It has been quite the summer!
Along with the wildfires, over 900 members and guests were once again lit on fire through the Holy Spirit, and with the love of the League at the 97th annual national convention in beautiful Prince Edward Island. Four resolutions were adopted at the convention and two of them fall under the standing committee of legislation. They are Resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals and Resolution 2017.03 Zero-Rated Status Under the Goods and Services Tax Provisions of the Excise Tax Act for Child Safety Products. Also, three motions related to Bill C-16 An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, which adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, were carried under the standing committee of legislation. All of these were printed in the fall 2017 magazine.
It is now time to reacquaint ourselves with the days that the House of Commons will be sitting and to research what parliamentary business will be happening this fall. The calendar for the House of Commons can be found at ourcommons.ca/en/sitting-calendar. This website also shows what bills are before parliament and what stage they have reached. It also shows how members of parliament (MPs) voted on a bill. Just click “Parliamentary Business” at the top and you will find all this and more.
You may be wondering, “Why do I need to know this?” The Executive Handbook explains that “Legislation is social justice in action. It is the carrying out of League resolutions to influence government policy.” So in other words, it is our job to be knowledgeable on what resolutions the
League has, what bills are before parliament, and if any of these bills relate to the resolutions.
Once this has been established, encourage members to contact their MPs urging them to vote as the resolution would request.
But there are so many resolutions and even more bills!! Where to begin? Don't get overwhelmed...maybe choose one or two resolutions per year that you feel passionate about and focus your council’s efforts on those. We can’t do it all, but if each parish council across Canada works on a few resolutions every year, the League will have put social justice into action and influenced government policy!
May Our Lady of Good Counsel continue to bless you in your work “For God and Canada”.
National Chairperson of Legislation
Federal Legislation Bill C-51
Federal legislation, Bill C51, was introduced by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on June 6, 2017. This bill clarifies certain aspects of the Criminal Code of Canada and also repeals certain sections of the Code. Unfortunately clause 14 of the bill requests to remove section 176 from the criminal code. Presently section 176 prohibits obstructing a religious leader from conducting a religious ceremony and it prohibits disturbing an assembly gathered for a religious, moral, or social purpose. The bill does not give an alternative for this section, therefore if the bill passes with clause 14 intact it would then not be illegal to obstruct a religious leader from conducting a religious ceremony or for individuals to cause a disturbance at an assembled gathering.
Thank you to Shirley Christo in Ontario for bringing this to my attention.
You will find below the related letter that Shirley sent to her MP. Shirley has given her permission for this to be sent as an example for members to use in writing their own MPs regarding this important issue.
Please send this info out to your diocesan legislation counterparts to encourage ALL members of the League to write letters.
Thank you in advance for your help in getting the word out to remove clause 14 from Bill C-51. – I realize that some of you may no longer hold the legislation chair, yet I have not been updated on the new directory. I ask that you please pass this on to the new chair. I have also blind cc’ed this to the provincial presidents so if you are a past president please forward this email to the new president.
National Chairperson of Legislation
Dear Ramesh Sangha,
I appreciate that you are representing our area of Brampton Ontario and all of the effort that you have put into your position as our MP.
I am contacting you to express my concern about clause 14 of Bill C-51 which was referred to committee on June 15, 2017.
While the rest of the bill is commendable in its cleaning up the Criminal Code, clause 14 removes an offence that is neither unconstitutional, obsolete, nor redundant. Section 176 prohibits obstructing a religious leader from conducting a religious ceremony and it prohibits disturbing an assembly gathered for a religious, moral, or social purpose.
Section 176 of the Criminal Code is valuable in its protection of assemblies from disturbances. It sends a clear message that communities should be allowed to gather for religious, social or moral purposes without fear of disruption either from individuals or disagreeing communities. In a climate where it seems like hostility to religious groups is growing, it is worth having explicit protections – which is what section 176 of the Criminal Code provides.
Are you sure that Canada’s Criminal Code provides the necessary protection from harassment for communities gathering together? I am concerned and would like to know why section 176 is being removed and ask for your support to keep it in place.
I look forward to hearing back from you .