School pronoun bill to be debated for 40 hours over next few days

The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

Alec Salloum

Regina Leader-Post

Debate is now occurring on Bill 137, also referred to as the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act, in Saskatchewan’s legislative assembly.

Debate adjourned on the bill at 11 p.m. Monday. After question period Tuesday morning, debate resumed on the bill.

“It’s great to be back here again bright and early,” said Matt Love, Opposition critic for education, on Tuesday morning.

“I’d also like to thank taxpayers for funding all of this,” said Love, adding that people should “rightly question the emergency sitting.”

As it stands, there is a maximum 40 hours of possible debate and discussion on the bill.

The motion to increase the time of debate passed Monday around 8 p.m. with 41 MLAs in favour and 12 opposed. As such, there will be a maximum of 33 hours of debate on the second reading, “five hours of debate on any clause, title, preamble, or amendment thereto in a standing committee” and two hours for debate upon the third reading of the Bill.

As part of the special sitting there will be new hours for debate as well. The proposed schedule will be the remainder of the week, Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. to allow for the debate to occur. Next week on Oct. 25 will mark the Throne Speech and the start of the fourth session of the Twenty-ninth legislative assembly.

Speaking Tuesday Carla Beck, leader of the Opposition, said while the time for debate has doubled it does little to offer additional scrutiny on the bill since the time frame has been condensed.

“We would expect that a bill would be introduced in the fall in the normal course of session that we would have not a matter of days or hours to debate that Bill,” said Beck. “We would have weeks, we would have the full fall session and then again in the spring.”