ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 10 February 2009, MP Monique Guay, from the opposition Bloc Québécois party, introduced Bill C-306 to the House of Commons. Known as the Canadian Products Promotion Act, the Bill seeks to impel the government to favour Canadian products in procurement decisions. For the purposes of the Act, Canadian products are those goods of which at least 50% of content is produced in Canada, except for natural resources, of which 75% of content must be produced in the Canadian Federation. The Act would further empower the government to impose any measures deemed necessary for the benefit of small business and/or minority groups in the country. It also limits the percentage of Canadian purchases made in any one province to no more than 50% of the total amount spent on Canadian products in one fiscal year. Exceptions to the requirements of the Act include purchases from NAFTA countries (the United States and Mexico), goods purchased for use in provision of humanitarian supplies, and goods procured from countries party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
MP Guay is not a member of the Federal Government and Bill C-306 has not received the support of the Government of Canada. Despite its introduction in February 2009, MPs have yet to vote on the First Reading of the Bill.
The Bloc Québécois currently holds 48 seats in the House of Commons, out of a total of 308 seats. In December 2008, the Bloc Québécois formed a coalition with the Liberal Party (77 seats) and the New Democratic Party (36 seats) in order to topple the Conservative Party's minority government (143 seats). Parliament was prorogued until late January 2009, at which point the coalition agreement ceased to function. Opposition parties effectively control a majority of seats in Parliament, but do not have a formal understanding on the passage of Private Member's Bills introduced by opposition members.
The House of Commons is in recess until 14 September 2009. Speculation of a general election in fall 2009 is rife, but has not been confirmed by the Government. The last general election was held on 14 October 2008, before the worst of the global recession had become apparent and protectionist measures had been adopted by some of Canada's trading partners.
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