Sunday, March 28, 2010

Issues coming this Parliamentary session and how we relate to just some of them

Parliament resumed nearly a month and a bit ago. With it, came a plethora of bills that needed to be re-introduced after the Prime Minister prorogued parliament. For many associations and executives, the unfortunate episode of proroguing parliament meant that the time they had invested in building relationships, researching their positions and advancing legislation now starts from scratch again. While the Conservatives have promised that they will endeavour to re-introduce legislation through Parliament, there are no guarantees that the opposition will accommodate them.

According to the Hill Times, over 30 pieces of legislation were left in limbo in the House of Commons and another 6 in the Senate. Reviewing the list, my sense is that associations will need to refocus their efforts on rebuilding relationships and doing what's required to get their bills through the process. While I will spare you from the entire list of bills (that can be reviewed at the bottom of the page of this Hill Times' article), we at Action Strategies have important experience dealing with a few of the former pieces of legislation that will be debated again in Parliament:


House of Commons

• S-8 Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion on Income Taxes between Canada and Colombia, Greece and Turkey Bill (second reading): Working with Jason Kenney, MP (then the Revenue Critic of the Official Opposition) issues of tax treaties were a common issue I consulted on.

• C-23 Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement (second reading): In professional and personal circles, I've maintained important contacts in Colombia. We've also taken on important issues consulting government in trade policy in Latin America.

• C-34 Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders (report): Working in the office of Jason Kenney, one of his pet projects at the time was this subject. Through years of experience, I worked with a number of activist organizations on the subject from all over the country assisting them in making contacts and reaching out to the public and media to advance their cause.

• C-45 Foreign Nationals Working in Canada (second reading): Over the course of the last 2 years, we have worked most specifically with a number of non-profit organizations on issues relating to assisting internationally educated professionals (IEPs) integrate into their profession here in Canada. Most recently, I am working with the Information and Communications Technology Council on some important issues helping IEPs find parallel work in the IT sector.

—Updated to Dec. 17, 2009

There are other issues too sure to come up this Parliament. Drop me a line and let's chat on how we can advance your agenda this parliamentary session. Also, please leave a comment...I'd love to have your opinion.

Mark Buzan is Principal of Action Strategies, a GR Consultancy for non-profits. If you have questions on how you feel your organization could benefit from legislative monitoring services or even undertaking a grassroots advocacy initiative. Subscribe now to his Lobbying tips newsletter at www.actionstrategies.ca

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