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Article - The Carillon, August 26, 2010 - From The Senate by Senator Plett
August 26, 2010

August 27th marks the one year anniversary of my appointment to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and this past year in my new role as a Senator has proven to be a good and productive one.

 

This last parliamentary session has proven to be a very busy one for all parliamentarians. In fact, the week before the House of Commons rose for summer break Members of Parliament sent seven Government bills over to be reviewed by the Senate. As a result, the Senate session was extended well into July to ensure that this good legislation was passed, despite some strong opposition from other parties.

 

As a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology I had the opportunity to review several of these pieces of legislation at the committee stage. One such piece of legislation was Bill C-268, legislation that will create a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for those who traffic children under the age of 18. Member of Parliament from Kildonan-St.Paul, Mrs. Joy Smith brought forward this legislation as a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons. My office collected over 15,000 signatures from citizens across Canada urging Senators to quickly pass this Bill. I also had the opportunity to speak in the Chamber in support of this legislation. This bill received Royal Assent in June.

 

The committee also reviewed Bill C-11. Our government recognized that while Canada’s Immigration system is renowned worldwide for its fairness, it was still slow and vulnerable to abuse. Bill C-11 aims at creating a fairer and more balanced Canadian immigration system that delivers faster decisions and deters abuse by those who do not need protection.

Another piece of legislation the committee had an opportunity to review was Bill C-13, legislation that extends the benefit period and the period during which parental benefits may be paid for Canadian Forces members. This legislation fills a void in the Employment Insurance Act, ensuring that Canadian Forces members are no longer prevented from spending quality time with their new children when they return from duty.

 

Other legislation that received Royal Assent before the summer break included Bill C-9, the Budget 2010 implementation bill, Bill C-34, legislation that will create a new Canadian Immigration Museum on Pier 21 in Halifax, Bill C-2, legislation that will create a Free Trade agreement between Canada and the Republic of Columbia, and Bill C-23A, legislation that creates stricter eligibility requirements for pardons and increases wait times before someone who has committed a serious offence can be eligible for a pardon. For more information on these and other Bills currently before Parliament, please visit www.parl.gc.ca

 

If you ever have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact my office toll free at 1-800-267-7362 or by e-mail at plettd@sen.parl.gc.ca. Also, if you are interested in seeing more of what I have been up to in the Senate please visit www.donplett.ca where you will find pictures, speeches, committee transcripts and much more.

 
 
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