Mr. Speaker, Bill C-41 is an omnibus bill containing a number of provisions that would normally have been subjected to the miscellaneous statute law amendment program. This program was initiated in 1975 and was established to allow for minor, non-controversial amendments to federal statutes in an omnibus bill. Under the program, a draft version of the bill is submitted to the Standing Committees on Justice of the House and the Senate.
The MSLA process requires any item objected to by the Senate or the House committee to be withdrawn from the bill. To be included, the proposed amendments must meet certain criteria. They must not be controversial, not involve the spending of public funds, not prejudicially affect the rights of persons, not create a new offence, and not subject a new class of persons to an existing offence.
The procedure is designed to eliminate any potential controversial items, ensuring quick passage of the bill. Meeting these criteria and going through the MSLA process legitimizes the use of the omnibus bill. Since the process was not followed, the official opposition would like to register an objection to the use of an omnibus bill. When this bill goes to committee, we will be asking the government to explain why it has abandoned the MSLA process.
The purpose of this act is to make technical amendments and corrections to various statutes. This enactment makes technical corrections to: the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Act; the Customs Act; the Financial Administration Act; the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act; the Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act; the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act; the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act; the Salaries Act; the Supplementary Retirement Benefits Act; the Public Service Modernization Act; and the consular fees regulations coming into force.
Several amendments correct the French versions, bringing them in line with the English versions, namely: amendments to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Act, the Customs Act, the Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act, and the Public Service Modernization Act.
Several amendments clean up the language and correct misuse of gender. These corrections are made to the Financial Administration Act, the Lieutenant Governors Superannuation Act and the Supplementary Retirement Benefits Act.
One amendment brings the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act into line with the Costa Rica free trade agreement Canada signed and the House passed in the last session.
With respect to the changes to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Act, the environment critic for the official opposition will address that matter later.
Changes to the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act make provisions for the partner of a former lieutenant governor to have a pension.
Finally, the changes to the Salaries Act entitle lieutenant governors to a disability allowance.
My party will support the bill, but we wish it had been done in a different manner.