North Okanagan—Shuswap MP Mel Arnold. (Contributed)

MP Mel Arnold: Being an effective Official Opposition

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP looks at 3 recently implemented Private Members Bills

As Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, my Conservative colleagues and I have a responsibility to hold the government accountable and thoroughly review proposed legislation to ensure it’s in the best interest of all Canadians. As Members of Parliament, we are also able to introduce legislative proposals in the form of Private Members Bills (PMBs) that Parliament may or may not support.

In the current minority government context, PMBs can progress through all stages of the legislative process to receive Royal Assent and become law if enough members of all the opposition parties support the proposals. Over the past month, several Conservative PMBs have successfully become law for the benefit of Canadians.

On June 21, bill C-210 became law, making it easier for Canadians to register as organ and tissue donors by voluntarily checking a box on their federal income tax form. When Canadians choose to be donors, the Canada Revenue Agency will inform the appropriate provincial or territorial body responsible for health services. Many Canadians want to be organ and tissue donors, but registration rates are low. This new registration option will increase donorship and reduce the long list of Canadians waiting for a second chance at life.

Bill C-208 became law on June 29 to reduce the cost of transferring a farm, small business or fishing corporation to the owner’s children or grandchildren. Prior to this bill being passed, it was cheaper for farmers and small business owners to sell the family farm or business to an arms-length entity rather than the next generation. This was unfair and made it difficult for family farms or businesses to be transitioned and retained within a family.

Bill C-228 also became law on June 29, establishing a framework for federal and provincial governments to develop and implement a federal framework to reduce recidivism, or reoffences by persons previously convicted of criminal offences.

A core function of Canada’s correctional system is its contribution to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by assisting the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into communities as law-abiding citizens through the provision of programs in penitentiaries and communities.

Nearly one in four people who have been incarcerated re-offend within two years of their release.

This trend can be reduced if people who have been incarcerated have the necessary resources and employment opportunities to be able to transition back into the community and avoid falling back into their old ways.

These are just three examples of the many PMBs introduced in this Parliament.

I was happy to support these bills and other common-sense proposals aimed at benefiting Canadians.

I will continue to work with colleagues from all parties and you, the people I represent, to support proposals that will strengthen Canada.

If you see an opportunity for federal law or policies to be improved through legislation, please contact me with your thoughts or concerns.

Mel Arnold is the Conservative MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap.