10 bills become law Wednesday

The Governor General will sign into law 10 pieces of legislation, getting them through just before a likely election.

Bills on tougher sentencing, foreign asset freezes to receive royal assent

Ten pieces of legislation were signed into law Wednesday, coming in just under the wire as Parliament stares down a likely election.

Bills that cut the "faint-hope clause" for early parole for convicted killers, implement a minimum sentence for fraud over $1 million and give Canada greater powers to freeze the assets of dictators all become law Wednesday.

The Conservatives managed to pass several bills from their justice and security agenda in the House, including four that will pass the final stage before becoming law when Gov. Gen. David Johnston signed them Wednesday afternoon on Parliament Hill.

The high-profile bills becoming law Wednesday include:

  • Bill S-6, which eliminates the chance of parole after 15 years for people convicted of first-degree murder.
  • C-21, which imposes a minimum two-year sentence for people convicted of fraud over $1 million.
  • C-61, which allows the government to freeze the assets of foreign dictators with less evidence than is currently required.
  • C-42 on aviation security, which allows airlines to provide passenger information to countries they're flying over without the passenger's consent.
  • C-48, which allows judges to make people convicted of multiple murders wait longer for parole eligibility.

Other bills receiving royal assent Wednesday:

  • S-5: Vehicles from Mexico, which makes it easier to import used cars.
  • C-14: Fairness at the Pumps, which makes gas station owners ensure their pumps measure gas accurately.
  • C-22: Online Sexual Exploitation, which requires internet service providers to report child porn.
  • C-30: Response to R. v. Shoker, which allows judges to demand blood and urine samples to enforce a prohibition against taking drugs or drinking.
  • C-35: Crooked Consultants, which sets up stronger rules for people who charge money to help others immigrate to Canada.

There are two major private members' bills in front of the Senate right now: C-393, which would make it easier to send generic AIDS drugs to developing countries; and C-389, which would make it illegal to discriminate against transgendered people. Those would have to be re-introduced if there's an election, but private members bills can restart at the same stage they were at prior to the election.

But the government's update to the Copyright Act and several other bills will die if they do not pass the Senate and receive royal assent before Parliament is dissolved.