Bill C-304 has now been reported to parliament. An official copy of the Bill as amended is available at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-304_2&File=24#1
The Conservatives have now challenged the Quebec opt-out provision in 3.1 as being beyond the scope and principle of the Bill as agreed to at Second Reading. I have attached the Hansard of the Conservative challenge. Submissions by other parties in defence of the amendment will be provided to the Speaker next week. We are not sure when to expect a ruling. Obviously an awful lot rests on it.
The first hour of debate of the Bill has been scheduled for April 28th,though this could change. Civil society groups are planning to hold a press conference on April 27th in Ottawa. Other actions are being planned in Vancouver and elsewhere in support of the Bill. Michael Shapcott has agreed to co-ordinate plans in Toronto. It would be great if we could get some support from the City and/or the Mayor as well as the Premier and other provincial MPs. Perhaps this is something that can be discussed at the meeting this morning.
At this point it does not appear that the Bloc will support the Bill if the Quebec opt-out provision is struck so we feel it is important to talk to any potentially sympathetic Conservative MPs to urge them to speak in support of the Bill when it is debated. We do not,however,think that it will be helpful to pressure the Government more broadly at this point or to go after Conservative MPs who are unlikely to be sympathetic as this may simply serve to encourage the Government to more rigorously impose party unanimity.
Leilani and a couple of others will be preparing a one page summary of the bill for distribution among networks. In the meantime,there is a short summary and a link to the Bill on SRAC’s website at www.socialrights.ca which may be useful.