Bill C-30: Is It Dead?

John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail posted a very interesting article about Bill C-30 which was the bill that would have given the government the right to pretty much spy on Internet users in Canada without a warrant. It also started a crapstorm that created some embarrassment for Public Security Minister Vic Towes when details of his divorce was leaked by opponents of the bill. Ibbitson argues that this lead the Canadian Government to quietly kill the bill:

Normally, after a bill receives first reading, debate begins on second reading, which is approval in principle. Once the bill passes second reading, it goes to a committee, where only minor amendments are permitted before the bill returns for third and final reading.

Instead of this usual route, House Leader Peter Van Loan decided to send C-30 to the public safety committee first, where it is supposed to be extensively revised, before returning to the House for second and third reading.

But before any of that can happen, the rules state that the House must debate the motion to send the bill to committee. That debate must last at least five hours – in effect, one sitting day.

But that debate hasn’t happened. And sources report that it won’t happen before the House rises for summer recess. That makes C-30 dead in the water.

Of course, the Conservatives could decide to send C-30 it to the public safety committee in the autumn. But it would take months to rewrite the bill, and then weeks to get it through second and third reading, before the bill went to the Senate for further study.

Long before then, Stephen Harper is expected to prorogue Parliament in preparation for a new Throne Speech. With that prorogation, Bill C-30 will quietly expire.

So. The Canadian Government gets to press the reset button and doesn’t have to say sorry. Nice.

My advice? Canadians shouldn’t forget what this government tried to do and be vigilant as to what could come next. This bill could resurface in another form and bring the same negative intentions to the table. That would be bad. Thus make sure that your local MP knows that this bill should stay dead and buried.


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