Canada's MPs vote unanimously: It's time for the holidays

The sitting is over, the House of Commons has risen and members of Parliament are on their way home to their ridings for the holidays.

Senate will sit for another day as remaining bills set to receive royal assent

The Peace Tower is cast in afternoon light on Parliament Hill. The House of Commons unanimously voted Wednesday afternoon to rise for the Christmas break. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The sitting is over, the House of Commons has risen and members of Parliament are on their way home to their ridings for the holidays.

In all, 11 bills have received royal assent so far this year, including Bill C-14, the Liberal government's medical assistance in dying law.

The Senate sits Thursday. Royal assent is expected for four bills that have now passed through all stages in both the Commons and the Senate.

Among those expected to become law are Bill C-29, the budget implementation bill, and Bill S-4, which amends tax rules and targets double taxation and tax evasion issues between Canada and three countries: Israel, Taipei and Hong Kong. 

C-29 was amended by the Senate Monday with Finance Minister Bill Morneau's blessing, removing a controversial passage that Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard had asked senators from his province to block. 

The Commons agreed with that amendment Wednesday afternoon before rising for its holiday break.

The Commons also finished debate on and passed S-4 at third reading late Wednesday. Because the bill originated in the Senate, it's also ready for royal assent now that MPs have voted their approval. 

Bill C-2, which would enshrine into law the Liberal government's middle-class tax cut, is also awaiting royal assent, along with C-35, a budget appropriation bill.

After 120 sitting days in the House in 2016, a number of key bills are still working their way through Parliament, including Bill C-30, the implementation bill for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The implementation bill for the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, Bill C-31, is also in the committee stage, as is Bill C-33, which would make it easier for non-residents to vote in Canada. 

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said not enough bills have been passed and the Liberal government could improve its performance in the House when MPs return in 2017. 

"I think that the solution is to actually have a legislative program, and they don't have one," said Mulcair. "Once in a while [the Liberals] wake up and say 'this one's really important' and they try to force it through."

Mulcair slammed the Liberals for the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "front bench" has responded to questions in the House over Liberal Party fundraising.

"What do you think when you have their House leader stand up, day after day, and repeat, robotically, the same inane phrases?" Mulcair said to reporters Wednesday. "This is supposed to be a place of serious debate."

Fundraising issue persists

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose used her year-end interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Tuesday to highlight the same issues with the Liberal Party's use of ministers, and the prime minister, to attract donors to fundraising events over the last year.

"I think he has to stop doing these events," said Ambrose. "Prime minister [Stephen] Harper didn't do them and I think it's for a good reason.

"Because you're the most powerful person in the country … if people have special access to you, they're giving you information that you might otherwise not have, or someone else may not be able to have that same access to you with contradicting information."

"I just don't think it's a good idea. It's brought disrepute to his office."

The interim Conservative leader looks ahead to 2017's big files. 10:37

Despite the harsh words over policy and ethics, the final day in the House of Commons opened with a festive atmosphere.

As the sitting wound down Wednesday, there was a lighthearted exchange of holiday wishes between MPs, which began with Cape Breton-Canso Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner's traditional Christmas poem during members' statements.  

Parliamentarians will not be returning to Ottawa until Jan. 30.  

MP Rodger Cuzner delights his fellow members of the House of Commons with his annual Christmas tradition. 1:51


  • An earlier version of this story said that C-7, the bill that would allow RCMP members to form a union, was expected to receive royal assent. In fact, this legislation awaits further consideration, after the Senate sent it back to the House of Commons with significant amendments last June.
    Dec 15, 2016 10:24 AM ET