President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s request for the return of the Legislature to enact several bills in order to keep the economy on an even keel may not be possible as reports reaching the Daily Observer say the Senate is yet to obtain the required signatures to concur with the House of Representatives to produce a “Receipt of Certificate for Extension” to legitimize their second extraordinary session.For the past two days, the chambers of both Houses have remained empty with the Senators in smaller groups holding secret meetings, while a few of the Representatives were seen in their offices doing absolutely nothing.According to reports, the Representatives, although they were reportedly doing nothing, had two days of lobbying and gathered over 19 signatures which constitute one quarter of the required number in accordance with the Constitution. Article 32b of the 1986 Constitution states, “The President on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by Proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special or extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.”The persistent delay of the Senate to concur with the House of Representatives to acquire the signatures of at least eight Senators means that there will be no ‘Receipt of Certificate of Extension’ to allow the President to issue a proclamation to legitimize their stay.Legal minds on Capitol Hill are arguing that even if the Legislature does not produce a Receipt of Certificate of Extension, Article 32b also gives the President the authority to use her ‘Executive Power’ to issue a proclamation without a certificate, but will compel and legitimize an extraordinary session. However, there has been no official reason for the failure of the Senate to sign the Receipt of Certificate and unconfirmed reports in the corridors of the Legislature say the Senators’ refusal to sign is owing to dissatisfaction over their ‘just benefits’ from the President. Traditionally, lawmakers are paid their monthly salaries, allowances, and other benefits as per the months they work and receive their monthly benefits if they work for 15 days. Constitutionally the Legislature goes for an annual agricultural break at the end of August or early September, but this year, they were asked by the President to stay up to October 15 for the first extraordinary session wherein they were given two months benefits. Accordingly, at this second extraordinary session the lawmakers are expected to cut short their constituency (agricultural) break for the second time, and their return to Capitol Hill is expected to address several proposed legislations that are relevant to the country’s economy. Some of the bills to be addressed, according to our sources, include the ratification of four oil blocks, proposals from the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) as well as the Land Act. It may be recalled that on November 9, President Sirleaf wrote House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, and Senate President Pro Tempore, Armah Z. Jallah, urging for additional stay by the Lawmakers to conclude several bills and other matters important to keeping the economy stable. The President’s letter was written 25 days later as a ‘follow-up’ to her appeal after a decisive and secret meeting with the Legislature’s leadership on Wednesday, October 14, in the House’s first floor conference room.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
MONTREAL – A Quebec fur farmer will face strict controls if he plans to continue in the business after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges last week.The case stems from a 2014 investigation into a farm about 65 kilometres east of Montreal that housed red foxes and minks found to be in terrible condition.The SPCA, which conducted the probe, says there were three guilty pleas in the case — one to causing unnecessary suffering to foxes; one to neglecting them; and another to neglecting two dogs found on the property.Jean-Luc Rodier received a $5,000 fine and 75 hours of community service in a sentence jointly recommended by the Crown and defence.Attempts to reach Rodier on Tuesday were unsuccessful.He’d initially faced six charges in November 2014.The SPCA acted on a complaint and Sophie Gaillard of the Montreal branch said the conditions on the farm were deplorable when she visited more than three years ago.She said the animals were dehydrated, living in cramped quarters and malnourished and two foxes had to be euthanized on the spot.“Most importantly to us, for the next 15 years, he won’t be able to own or have the control or live with any animals with the only exception of mink,” said Gaillard.“If he does continue to raise mink for fur, that’ll have to be done under veterinary supervision with reports being provided to the SPCA on a regular basis.”She said what’s most horrific is that standard conditions for wild animals bred for commercial purposes are perfectly legal.“Keeping wild animals in tiny, tiny cages, depriving them of the ability to express any type of natural behaviour and seeing them kept like this for years on end, it’s perfectly legal in Canada today,” Gaillard said.