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