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What legislation will 'die' when Harper prorogues Parliament?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament until sometime in October will mark the end of several controversial pieces of legislation.

Under parliamentary rules, 19 government bills will die on the order paper in either the House of Commons or the Senate.

Among the pieces of legislation affected by the impending prorogation are the Senate Reform Act, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, and the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, all of which have been met with varying degrees of criticism.

Delaying the return of Parliament also means the slates of the various standing committees have been wiped clean. This means the revision of the First Nations Elections Act and the Combating Counterfeit Products Act have been terminated, at least for the time being.

Studies by committee into questions surrounding animal welfare, bee health, infrastructure and the state of Canada lobster industry will also grind to a halt. The rules do not allow committees to sit when Parliament is prorogued.

While the bills have theoretically died on the order paper, the government could make a motion to reintroduce the legislation at the stage it was at before prorogation. In order to do that, however, it must get unanimous consent.

Otherwise, the legislation must begin the process all over again. Since the government has a majority, it is likely the legislation the government wants to reintroduced will be fast-tracked through debate.

As for private member's bills, they are not affected by prorogation. They will automatically be reintroduced at the last stage reached in the House of Commons via a specific standing order.

Kelsey Johnson reports for iPolitics, where this article first appeared.

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