Browse "Parliamentary Institutions"

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Allotment of Time

Allotment of Time, rules of the House of Commons, Standing Orders 115, 116 and 117, often confused by the media with the closure rule, S.O. 57. Since 1968 most bills pass the committee stage in the standing committees and may be amended at the report stage, but S.O.

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Bourinot's Rules

Parliamentary Procedure and Practice with an Introductory Account of the Origin and Growth of Parliamentary Institutions in the Dominion of Canada, by Sir John George Bourinot, Clerk of the Canadian House of Commons, was published in 1884, with 3 later editions in 1892, 1903 and 1916.

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Cabinet

In Canada's parliamentary system of government, the Cabinet is the committee of ministers that holds executive power. Cabinets are chaired by the Prime Minister (or in the provinces, by a premier) and ministers are most often elected politicians drawn from the party holding the most seats in the House of Commons (or the provincial legislature). Cabinets are traditionally strong, consensus-driven institutions, although some believe their influence is waning in the face of powerful prime ministers and their advisers.

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Canadian Senate Expenses Scandal

The Canadian Senate Expenses Scandal (2012–16) involved investigations into the housing and travel allowances claimed by dozens of Conservative and Liberal senators. Conservative senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin were suspended during the investigations. Duffy, Brazeau and Liberal senator Mac Harb were also charged with fraud and breach of trust but were either acquitted or the charges dropped. A 2015 audit of senate expenses revealed that 30 senators had been improperly reimbursed for expenses. The scandal dominated public discourse and put pressure on the Senate to establish clearer rules for travel, residency and living expenses.

Macleans

Chrétien's New Cabinet

As usual, the makeup of the cabinet sent out unmistakable signals about the government's priorities and intentions. In addition to Chrétien, there are 22 other Ontarians and Quebecers in the group, reflecting Liberal strength in the centre of the country.

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Citizenship

This page brings together resources on Canadian citizenship and civics. It is meant to provide readers with knowledge of how the Canadian political system came to be and how it works today. This collection is also designed to help those studying for Canada's citizenship test, or for those taking part in Historica Canada’s Citizenship Challenge program.

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Closure

Closure is a procedural provision allowing the Government to curtail debate in the HOUSE OF COMMONS and bring on a vote. A remedy for FILIBUSTERING, it entails 2 different decisions by the House: the vote to apply closure, and then the vote (or votes) on the business being closed.

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Coalition Governments in Canada

Coalition governments are created when different political parties co-operate by forming a temporary alliance large enough to enjoy the confidence of Parliament, allowing them to form a government. Members of all parties in the coalition are appointed to Cabinet. This sometimes happens when no single party has achieved a majority of seats in the House of Commons or provincial legislature. Federal coalitions normally appear during periods of crisis such as war or political breakdown. The strengthening of party affiliations and the development of the party system since Confederation has made coalitions more difficult to negotiate. Politicians have become wary of the long-term results of coalitions and are reluctant to introduce them.

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Committees

Parliament has many committees which perform functions that cannot be adequately accomplished in debate or question period.

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Editorial: The Stanley Flag and the “Distinctive Canadian Symbol”

Prime Minister Lester Pearson and John Matheson, one of his Liberal Members of Parliament, are widely considered the fathers of the Canadian flag. Their names were front and centre in 2015 during the tributes and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the flag’s creation. But the role played by George Stanley is often lost in the story of how this iconic symbol came to be.

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Filibuster

Filibuster, the use of delaying tactics, used most often by the Opposition, in a parliamentary body. Opposition filibusterers speak as often and as long as possible, raising many points of privilege and order to prevent votes they expect to lose.

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Hansard

Hansard is the unofficial name of the record of parliamentary and legislative debates. The name comes from the Hansard family, which printed the British debates from 1812 to 1892.

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House Leader

House Leader, nonofficial title of MP nominated by each party to serve as head strategist and tactician in the House of Commons. The government House leader, a Cabinet member with the honorific title of president of the Privy Council, negotiates among parties about the Commons timetable.

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House of Commons

The House of Commons is the centre of political power in Canada. The prime minister and his Cabinet receive their authority through the confidence of the House. It is an institution steeped in tradition and history.

Macleans

House of Lords Reform

By the Queen's Robing Room inside the Palace of Westminster, there is a small, sedate chamber they call the Norman Porch. It is populated entirely with busts of past luminaries of the House of Lords, each of whom has served as British prime minister.