Inside Politics

UPDATED - Royal baby bill to benefit from Senate sober second thought

After being fast tracked through the Commons without so much as a second of debate, it seems that the government's bid to synchronize Canada's royal succession rules with the UK will undergo at least a modicum of parliamentary scrutiny when it hits the Upper House later today.

According to Senate sources, second reading consideration could begin as early as this afternoon -- depending, of course, on where it will fall on the daily legislative to-do list.

Once senators have had the opportunity to share their preliminary thoughts on the proposed changes, there are two possible paths through the next stage of the parliamentary process: it will either be sent off to committee -- most likely Legal and Constitutional Affairs -- or studied in detail by the full Chamber, assembled into committee of the whole. (My vote (which, alas, I don't actually have): CotW! CotW!) Those arrangements are still under discussion, however, and likely won't be decided until next week.

As soon as I know more, I'll update this post with the latest news, so stay tuned. 

In the meantime, however, it's fair to say that, simply by declining to pass it in one unanimously consented to fell swoop, those senators may have already shown themselves -- and, indeed, the too often belittled institution itself -- more keenly attuned to the need for full oversight of potentially critical constitutional changes than their colleagues in the Other Place.  

My similarly royal baby bill-obsessed colleague Janyce McGregor points out, quite rightly, that it's also worth noting that the UK House of Lords hasn't even gotten around to passing the bill to which our bill would preemptively assent, making it difficult to see how time could be considered a factor here. 

Given that, why not let the Senate take as long as it feels it needs to go through the fine print? 

UPDATE: I'm now told that the bill won't be called forth for second reading debate until next week. (Apparently, not even the government is trying to make the case for swift passage, what with the aforementioned British lords not even scheduled to get back to the bill until February 14th.  

As always, if and when I hear anything else, I'll update this post! 

Tags: blackberry jungle, royal baby bill, senate watch

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