The House of Commons


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The House of Commons

  1. 1. A Guide to The House of Commons
  2. 2. Canada’s Hierarchy Queen Governor General Prime Minister Legislative Branch Executive Branch Judicial Branch House of Comons Senate Cabinet Supreme Court Federal Courts Provincial Courts
  3. 3. The Governor General <ul><li>Queen’s representative in Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed by Queen on advice of PM </li></ul><ul><li>Serves for 5 years </li></ul><ul><li>Main roles is to ensure there is always a Prime Minister </li></ul><ul><li>Other Roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives Royal Assent to bills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reads Speech from the Throne </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Signs state documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opens and ends parliament </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissolves parliament for an election </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Prime Minister <ul><li>Leader of the party in power </li></ul><ul><li>Head of Government </li></ul><ul><li>Attends cabinet meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Meet official foreign delegates </li></ul><ul><li>Answers questions in the House of Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Usually a Member of Parliament therefore he also spends time helping constituents </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Cabinet <ul><li>Chosen by Prime Minister </li></ul><ul><li>Most are MP’s </li></ul><ul><li>1 rep from senate </li></ul><ul><li>Most in charge of a government department </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss important issues affecting Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Collective responsibility </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Senate <ul><li>Studies, amends and either rejects or approves bills </li></ul><ul><li>Can introduce bills </li></ul><ul><li>Study social and economic issues </li></ul><ul><li>Appointed by Governor General on recommendation of Prime Minister </li></ul>
  7. 7. The House of Commons <ul><li>Major law making body </li></ul><ul><li>Makes decisions on spending and collecting public money </li></ul><ul><li>Members are elected in one of the 308 ridings in Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Seats are distributed in proportion to each provinces population </li></ul>Distribution of Seats in the House of Commons Area Seats Ontario 106 Quebec 75 British Columbia 36 Alberta 28 Manitoba 14 Saskatchewan 14 Nova Scotia 11 New Brunswick 10 Newfoundland/Lab 7 Prince Edward Island 4 Northwest Territories 1 Yukon 1 Nunavut 1 Total 308
  8. 8. Who’s Who in the House
  9. 9. The Speaker <ul><li>Elected by the members of the House of Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Presides over the House </li></ul><ul><li>Ensures respect for the rules and traditions of the House </li></ul><ul><li>Impartial </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for the administration of the House and its staff </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomatic duties </li></ul><ul><li>Represent the commons with the senate and the crown </li></ul>Peter Milliken
  10. 10. Leader of the Opposition <ul><li>Leader of the party with the second most seats in the House </li></ul><ul><li>Gives voters an alternative to the government </li></ul><ul><li>Leads opposition debates </li></ul><ul><li>Suggests changes to government legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Appoints critics for a shadow cabinet which present their party’s policies on certain bills </li></ul>
  11. 11. Party Whips <ul><li>One for each party </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure enough members are in chambers for debates and votes </li></ul><ul><li>Determines which committees a member will sit on. </li></ul><ul><li>Assigns offices and seats in the House of Commons </li></ul><ul><li>Discipline members who break party ranks </li></ul>
  12. 12. Throne Speech <ul><li>Read at the opening of parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Describes government policies and bills it plans to introduce </li></ul><ul><li>Read by Governor General or Queen if she’s “in town” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Budget Speech <ul><li>Each year Minister of Finance makes a statement </li></ul><ul><li>Describes governments economic policy </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines plans to spend and collect public money </li></ul>
  14. 14. Royal Assent <ul><li>One of Parliament’s oldest ceremonies </li></ul><ul><li>Given by Governor General or a deputy </li></ul><ul><li>Done in the Senate Chambers </li></ul><ul><li>Senate and Members of Parliament present </li></ul>
  15. 15. How a Bill Becomes Law First Reading The bill is considered read for the first time and is printed Second Reading Members debate the bill’s principle Committee Stage Committee members study the bill clause by clause Report Stage Members can make other amendments Royal Assent The bill receives Royal Assent after being passed by both Houses Senate The bill follows a similar process in the Senate Third Reading Members debate and vote on the bill