Ontario holds a general election usually every four or five years. There are three major political parties in Ontario - Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party.
During an election campaign, all three major parties normally run candidates in each of the province's 107 electoral districts, ridings or constituencies. Independent candidates can also run. The candidate getting the most votes becomes a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), and represents the riding's residents in the Legislative Assembly (House).
There are 107 seats in Ontario's parliament (one for each riding). After a general election, the Lieutenant Governor asks the leader of the party with the most support in the Legislative Assembly to become Premier and form a government.
A party that wins a majority of the seats forms a majority government. A majority government holds power for a maximum of five years, though it can call a general election earlier.
If no party wins a majority of the seats then the party that has the "confidence of the House" or support from members of other parties forms the government. This is called a minority government. Governments, usually minority governments, are defeated when a majority of members, usually Opposition members, vote in the House to express their non-confidence in the government.
The Premier chooses an Executive Council, the members of which are called Ministers, and they form the Cabinet of the Ontario Government. Cabinet develops policies and sets priorities. Cabinet Ministers introduce government legislation for the consideration of the Assembly.
Members of Provincial Parliament from the political parties that do not form the government are called Members of the Opposition. Their parties are called opposition parties. The opposition party with the greatest number of opposition seats is called the Official Opposition. Members not affiliated with a party are known as independent members.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Ontario holds a general election usually every four or five years. There are three major political parties in Ontario - Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party.
How Federal Elections in Canada Work
A Simple Explanation of a Canadian Federal Election
Ridings and Members of Parliament
Canada is divided into 308 electoral districts or ridings. Voters in each riding elect one member of parliament or MP to send to the House of Commons. The Senate in Canada is not an elected body.
Federal Political Parties
There are 16 registered federal political parties. Three other parties are eligible to register. Each party can nominate one candidate for each riding. During the Canadian federal election in 2006, representatives of only four federal political parties won seats in the House of Commons.
Forming the Government
The party that wins the most ridings in a general federal election is asked by the Governor General to form the government. The leader of that party becomes the Prime Minister of Canada. If the party wins in more than 154 ridings, it will have a majority government, which makes it much easier to get legislation passed in the House of Commons. If the winning party wins 154 seats or fewer, it will form a minority government. In order to get legislation through the House, a minority government usually has to adjust policies to get enough votes from MPs of other parties. A minority government must constantly work to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons in order to stay in power.
The Official Opposition
The political party that wins the second highest number of seats in the House of Commons becomes the Official Opposition.
Canadian National Register of Electors
A Database of Information on Electors for Canadian Federal Elections
The National Register of Electors is a database of basic information on Canadians who are qualified to vote in federal elections in Canada. The information consists of name, sex, date of birth, and address. The National Register of Electors is used to prepare the preliminary list of electors for federal elections.
Information for the National Register is received from:
individual qualified electors
the Canada Revenue Agency
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
provincial and territory registrars of motor vehicles and vital statistics
provincial electoral offices with permanent lists of electors.
Returning officers update the preliminary lists during the revision period of an election. The revision period starts three days after an election writ is issued and ends six days before the election.
Eligible Canadians can vote from outside Canada by applying to register and vote by mail.
Fixed Election Dates Act
About the Fixed Election Dates Act:
The Fixed Election Dates Act establishes fixed election dates for Canadian federal elections every four years, except when a government loses a vote on a non-confidence motion, in which case an election would be held immediately.
Introduction of Fixed Election Dates Bill:
May 30, 2006
An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform
Status of Fixed Election Dates Act:
The Fixed Election Dates Bill received Royal Assent on May 3, 2007. It came into force on the same day.
Text of Fixed Election Dates Bill:
Text of Fixed Election Dates Bill (Royal Assent Version)
Summary of Fixed Election Dates Act:
Previous Timing of Federal Elections
In Canada before this act, a federal election had to be called at least every five years. The timing of an election was decided by the Prime Minister. An election was also triggered when the government lost a vote on a non-confidence motion in the House of Commons.
New Timing of Federal Elections
The Fixed Election Dates Act establishes that Canadian federal elections be held every four years on a fixed date, except when the government loses the confidence of the House, in which case an election would be held immediately.
This act sets the fixed federal election date as the third Monday in October four years after election day of the last general election.
The act also sets out the date for the next general election as October 19, 2009, unless the government loses the confidence of the House before then.
The Fixed Election Dates Act gives the Chief Electoral Officer the authority to recommend an alternate election day to the governor in council if it turns out that the election day is a day of cultural or religious significance or if it conflicts with an election day for a municipality or province. The alternate day would be either the Tuesday or the Monday after the Monday that would otherwise be election day.
Advantages of Fixed Election Dates
The Canadian government says there are four major advantages to having a fixed election date for Canadian federal elections:
Fairness - A fixed election date eliminates the advantage given to the government party to call an election when conditions are favourable to that party.
Improved Policy Planning
Higher Voter Turnout - Weather is generally reasonable in all parts of Canada in October; students are at school and snow-bird seniors have not yet left for the south; all voters are better able to plan.
Political Contributions Reform in Canada
Changes to Rules for Canadian Federal Political Contributions
The Federal Accountability Act which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006 reforms the financing of political parties and candidates in Canada, changing the rules for political contributions to prevent influence being bought by political donations and to level the playing field for individual contributors.
Reforms to political financing include:
new limits on individual donations to parties and candidates
a ban on contributions from corporations, unions and organizations to parties and candidates
a longer period to prosecute violations under the Canada Elections Act.
Effective January 1, 2007 the following rules for political contributions under the Canada Elections Act come into force.
Who Can Make Political Contributions
You must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada to make a political contribution to a registered political entity.
Corporations, trade unions, associations and groups may not make political contributions.
An employer can give an employee a paid leave of absence during an election period to allow the employee to be a nomination contestant or a candidate without the leave being considered a political contribution.
Limits on Political Contributions for Individuals
The amount an individual may contribute to a registered political party has been reduced to $1,100 a calendar year (adjusted for inflation annually on April 1).
A distinct $1,100 annual limit has been put on the total an individual may contribute to the registered associations, the nomination contestants and the candidates of a registered political party. (The total is adjusted for inflation annually on April 1.)
The amount an individual may contribute to an independent candidate in a particular election has been reduced to $1,100 (adjusted for inflation annually on April 1).
The amount an individual may contribute to a leadership in a particular leadership contest has been reduced to $1,100 (adjusted for inflation annually on April 1).
A nomination contestant or a candidate may make an additional $1000 in total per election to his or her own campaign.
A party leadership contestant may make an additional $1000 contribution in total per contest to his or her own campaign.
Cash contributions of more than $20 to registered political entities have been banned.
You cannot make a political contribution with money, property or services that were given to you for that purpose.
Income Tax Credits for Political Contributions
Tax credits for political contributions are available at the following rates: 75 percent of the first $400; 50 percent of the next $350; and 33 1/3 percent of an amount over $750.
Tax credits are not given for donations to leadership or nomination contestants, or to unregistered parties and their electoral district associations.
Disclosure of Political Contributions
All political contributions of more than $20 must be receipted and reported.
Political contributions of more than $200 made to registered parties, registered electoral district associations, leadership contestants and candidates must be reported to Elections Canada by the recipient and become matters of public record.
Political contributions of more than $200 made to nomination contestants are also reported to Elections Canada and become a matter of public record if the contestant receives contributions of $1,000 or more, or incurs expenses of $1,000 or more.
Role of Canadian Members of Parliament
Responsibilities of Members of Parliament in Canada
There are normally 308 members of parliament in the Canadian House of Commons. They are elected in a general election, which is usually called every four or five years, or in a by-election when a seat in the House of Commons becomes empty due to resignation or death.
Representing Constituents in Parliament
Members of parliament represent the regional and local concerns of the constituents in their ridings (also called electoral districts) in the House of Commons. Members of parliament solve problems for constituents on a wide variety of federal government matters - from checking on individual problems with federal government departments to providing information on federal government programs and policies. Members of parliament also maintain a high profile in their ridings and take part in local events and official functions there.
While it is public servants and cabinet ministers who have direct responsibility for drafting new legislation, members of parliament can influence legislation through debates in the House of Commons and during all-party committee meetings to examine legislation. Even though members of parliament are expected to "toe the party line," both substantive and fine-tuning amendments to legislation are often made at committee stage. Votes on legislation in the House of Commons are usually a formality following party lines, but can be of significant strategic importance during a minority government. Members of parliament can also introduce legislation of their own, called "private members bills," however it is rare that a private members bill passes.
Watchdogs on Government
Canadian members of parliament can influence federal government policy by participating in House of Commons committees which review federal government department activities and spending, as well as legislation. Government members of parliament also raise policy issues in caucus meetings of members of parliament of their own party and can lobby cabinet ministers. Members of parliament in opposition parties use the daily Question Period in the House of Commons to raise issues of concern and bring them to the attention of the public.
A member of parliament usually supports a political party and plays a role in the operation of the party. A few members of parliament may sit as independents and do not have party responsibilities.
Members of parliament maintain two offices with corresponding staff - one on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and one in the constituency. Cabinet ministers also maintain an office and staff in the departments for which they are responsible.
Canadian Federal Party Leaders
Learn more about the current party leaders of the major federal political parties in Canada.
Stephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada
Biography of Prime Minister Stephen Harper who led the Conservatives to a minority government in the 2006 federal election.
Stéphane Dion - Liberal Party Leader
Biography of Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Gilles Duceppe - Bloc Québécois Party Leader
Biography of Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois Party Leader since 1997.
Jack Layton - New Democratic Party Leader
Biography of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton.
Elizabeth May - Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Environmental activist Elizabeth May became leader of the Green Party of Canada in 2006.
Write to Canadian Federal Party Leaders
Contact information to write or call the leaders of the major federal political parties in Canada.
Role of Canadian Senators
Responsibilities of Senators in Canada
There are usually 105 Senators in the Senate of Canada, the upper chamber of Canada's Parliament. Canadian Senators are appointed by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister. Canadian Senators must be at least 30 years old and retire by the age of 75. Senators also must live and own property in the Canadian province or territory which they represent.
Canadian Senators Examine and Revise Legislation
The main role Canadian Senators have is in providing "sober, second thought" on the work done by the House of Commons. All federal legislation must be passed by the Senate as well as the House of Commons. While the Canadian Senate rarely vetoes bills, although it does have the power to do so, Senators do review federal legislation clause by clause in Senate committees and may send a bill back to the House of Commons for amendments. Senate amendments are usually accepted by the House of Commons. The Canadian Senate can also delay the passage of a bill. This is especially effective towards the end of a session of parliament, when a bill can be delayed long enough to prevent it becoming law.
The Canadian Senate can also introduce its own bills, except for "money bills" which impose taxes or spend public money. Senate bills must also be passed in the House of Commons.
Canadian Senators Investigate National Canadian Issues
Canadian Senators also contribute to in-depth studies by Senate committees on public issues such as health care in Canada, illegal drugs, the regulation of the Canadian airline industry and urban Aboriginal youth. The reports from these investigations can lead to changes in federal public policy and legislation. The wide range of experience of Canadian Senators, who include former Canadian provincial premiers, cabinet ministers and business people from many Canadian economic sectors, provides substantial expertise to these investigations. Also, since Senators are not subject to the vagaries of elections, they can track issues over a longer period of time than Members of Parliament.
Senators Represent Regional, Provincial and Minority Interests
Canadian Senate seats are distributed regionally, with 24 Senate seats each for the Maritimes, Ontario, Quebec and Western regions, and another 8 Senate seats for Newfoundland and the territories. Senators meet in regional party caucuses and consider the regional impact of legislation. Senators also often adopt informal constituencies to represent the rights of groups and individuals who may otherwise be overlooked - the young, poor, seniors and veterans, for example.
Canadian Senators Act as Watchdogs on Government
Canadian Senators provide a detailed review of all federal legislation, and the government of the day must always be conscious that a bill must get through the Senate where the "party line" is more flexible than in the House. During the Senate Question Period, Senators also routinely question and challenge the Leader of the Government in the Senate on federal government policies and activities. Canadian Senators can also draw important issues to the attention of Cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister.
Canadian Senators as Party Supporters
A Senator usually supports a political party and may play a role in the operation of the party.
Role of the Speaker of the Senate of Canada
Responsibilities of the Canadian Speaker of the Senate
The Speaker of the Senate of Canada is appointed by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister. The appointment is usually for the length of one parliament, which can last up to five years.
The Speaker presides over the business of the Senate, assisted by the Clerk and other table officers.
Maintaining Order in the Senate
The main responsibility of the Speaker of the Senate in Canada is to maintain order and decorum in the Senate Chamber. The Speaker chairs the sittings of the Senate, presides over votes in the Senate, and rules on points of order and questions of privilege raised by senators. The Speaker guides the Senate through its agenda and ensures that senators follow the rules of the Senate. In the case of serious disorder, the Speaker can suspend the sitting of the Senate for up to three hours.
The Speaker of the Senate must be impartial, but at the same time must be sensitive to the mood of the Senate, as rulings by the Speaker of the Senate can be challenged and put to a vote.
The Speaker is assisted by Senate clerks, who give advice on the rules of the Senate. The Senate clerks sit at the table in front of the Speaker's chair in the centre aisle of the Senate chamber.
Diplomacy Role of Speaker of the Senate
Fourth in the official order of precedence for Canada, after the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Chief Justice of Canada, the Speaker of the Senate is involved in state visits, and often receives visiting Heads of State and Heads of Governments and their delegations in the Speaker's chambers. The Speaker of the Senate also travels on behalf of the Parliament of Canada and represents the Senate on interparliamentary organizations.
Role of Speaker as a Senator
The Speaker of the Senate maintains responsibilities to his or her constituents as a senator. Like other senators, the Speaker of the Senate represents a province in Canada, and makes representations at regional caucus meetings and to Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister on behalf of his or her constituents.
The Senate of Canada
FUNDAMENTALS OF SENATE COMMITTEES
First Session of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE MANDATE AND POWERS OF COMMITTEES
The power to inquire
The power to report
The power to send for persons, papers and records
The power to print
The power to form subcommittees
The power to sit in camera
RESTRICTION UPON SITTING TIMES
ROLE AND POWERS OF THE CHAIR
ROLE AND POWERS OF MEMBERS
ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMITTEES
Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure
PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES IN COMMITTEES
Notices of meeting
Motions and debate
Official languages and privilege
Provincial and territorial governments
Examination of bills
Reports to the Senate
Confidentiality of committee reports
Minutes of Proceedings
Unrevised transcript ("the blues") and the evidence
Correspondence received by the committee
Documents tabled with the committee
CLERK OF THE COMMITTEE
RESEARCHERS AND OTHER PERSONNEL
THE BUDGET PROCESS
Types of budgets
ACCOUNTABILITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Broadcasting of committee proceedings
Relations with the media and the public
FUNDAMENTALS OF SENATE COMMITTEES
As some observers have noted, in many cases what happens in the Chamber is only preparation for, or a consummation of, what is accomplished in the committee room. Female representation in the Senate has reached almost 35 per cent and the professional profiles of senators cover a wide spectrum, including social work, education, health care, the military, journalism, agriculture, business, law and politics, including former provincial premiers, members of provincial legislatures and the House of Commons. This collective expertise makes committees excellent instruments for the debate and formulation of public policy.
Committees house much of the action in the Senate. On average, over 50 bills are examined and 30 special studies are undertaken each year. The resulting reports are welcomed by varied audiences that may include government departments, academics, professional organizations, policy institutes, special interest groups, corporations and more. Senate supporters are often individuals who have appeared before committees or who have followed the work of committees on some issue.
The Committees Directorate aims to make committees as effective as possible, providing all procedural, administrative and information services. This booklet is designed to provide senators, particularly newcomers, and other interested committee-watchers with a basic understanding of the procedures and functions of committees. It represents just one of many information documents produced by the Directorate, and requests for further information can be directed to us at email@example.com or (613) 990-0088.
FUNDAMENTALS OF SENATE COMMITTEES
THE MANDATE AND POWERS OF COMMITTEES
Senate standing committees essentially have two functions:
a) to consider bills; and
b) to carry out special studies.
In both instances, a committee is unable to proceed unless it has received from the Senate an order of reference charging the committee to examine a specific bill or to conduct a particular study.
In the case of bills, the order of reference has an almost generic quality; it simply indicates that certain legislation be referred to a committee. The order itself is moved without notice and adopted following the second reading of the bill. The conventional powers of the committee are usually sufficient to carry out the task of reviewing a bill, and it is commonly done without much delay. Consequently, the Senate only infrequently considers additional motions to grant more authority to a committee examining a bill or to fix a date by which it must report.
The situation is somewhat different with respect to orders of reference pertaining to special studies. Such orders are normally presented for debate to the Senate as substantive motions after notice. By convention, the motion proposing the order of reference explains the parameters of the study and sets the date by which the committee must report its conclusions.
That committees are dependent on orders of reference and are prevented from initiating any work on their own authority stems from their traditional status as subordinate entities of the Senate. The general mandate of each of the Senate's thirteen sectoral committees and the conventional powers they exercise are established by the Rules of the Senate. The mandates outlining the field of competence assigned to each committee are set out in Rule 86.
The powers that committees possess to carry out their work are stipulated in Rule 90. This Rule states that:
A standing committee shall be empowered to inquire into and report upon such matters as are referred to it from time to time by the Senate, and shall be authorized to send for persons, papers and records, whenever required, and to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it.
The power to inquire is fundamental to the operation of a committee and can be exercised only when the Senate has provided the committee with an order of reference. Senate committees, unlike committees of the House of Commons, do not have the authority to undertake an examination of a subject or the review of a bill without the express sanction of the Senate.
The power to report allows a committee to inform the Senate, and the public as well, of the results of its examination or investigation into an order of reference. A committee conducting a special study that cannot meet its reporting date must request an extension from the Senate. With respect to the examination of legislation, Rule 98 makes clear that a committee must report the results of its review of a bill. However, it is exceptional that a reporting date is set. The Rule states:
The committee to which a bill has been referred shall report the bill to the Senate. When any amendment to the bill has been recommended by the committee, such amendment shall be stated in the report.
As suggested in the rule, amendments are a possible component to any report on a bill. These amendments, however, are not actually incorporated into the bill until the report has been concurred in by the Senate. In addition, recent practice has permitted the use of observations, which are findings or concerns related to the bill, though they are not expressed in the form of amendments to the bill and are not binding even if the report is adopted.
Reports on bills are always presented and not tabled, because further consideration must take place in order to secure the passage of the bill. Reports on special studies, including the subject-matter of a bill, are generally tabled. When a report is tabled, it becomes part of the public record, and it will only be considered further if a specific request is made to place it on the orders of the day for consideration.
The power to send for persons, papers and records enables a committee to request the presence of witnesses or the submission of documents it judges necessary to conduct the work mandated by the Senate. At its extreme, the committee can issue a summons insisting that certain persons or material be made available, but there have been only a few occasions when a Senate committee felt obliged to invoke this power. Almost invariably, witnesses appear voluntarily before a committee. Committees try to accommodate all requests to appear, but time and other constraints can lead to instances where such requests must be declined. In such cases, the committee usually invites interested parties to make their submission in writing.
The power to print permits a committee to publish a permanent record of its deliberations for the information of the Senate and the general public. Rule 92 requires that all meetings of committees be held publicly and that only under limited circumstances can meetings take place behind closed doors, or in camera. The same Rule also states that the public may attend all meetings of the full committee that are not in camera. The printing of committee proceedings, their posting on the Parliamentary Internet site and broadcasting on the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) provides the public with greater access to the work of committees.
The power to form subcommittees is an additional power exercised by virtue of Rule 96(4) and (5). A subcommittee known as the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure, or simply the Steering Committee, is often created to establish the agenda of the full committee, but one could also be set up to investigate a particular aspect of a larger study. In either case, subcommittees routinely present their findings and suggestions to the full committee in the form of a report, either written or oral. The membership of subcommittees is limited to no more than half the full committee and the quorum is fixed at three members.
The power to sit in camera can be exercised only in accordance with Rule 92(2). Rule 92 (1) states that “all meetings of Senate standing and special committees shall be held in public and only after public notice.” Rule 92(2) provides for exceptions such as personnel matters, or the consideration of a draft agenda or draft report.
RESTRICTION UPON SITTING TIMES
Rule 95(1) generally allows committees to arrange their own schedule by granting them the power to adjourn from time to time. Additional provisions of the Rule, however, restrict that authority depending upon certain circumstances. Section (4) prohibits the meeting of a committee whenever the Senate itself is sitting. If a committee determines that it should meet when the Senate is sitting, the committee must obtain the Senate's permission. In addition, whenever the Senate is adjourned for a week or less and a committee intends to meet during that time, notice to that effect must be given at least one day before the adjournment of the Senate. In order to meet during an adjournment longer than a week, Rule 95(3) now requires a committee to seek the permission of the Senate or the signed consent of the Government and Opposition Leaders.
Each standing committee also has a sitting schedule allocating the time, day and location of its meetings during the week set by the party whips at the beginning of each session. Committees are discouraged from meeting outside their scheduled time as it may cause conflicts with other committees due to overlapping of membership. The approval of the whips is sought prior to a committee meeting outside its time slots.
ROLE AND POWERS OF THE CHAIR
The chair's principal duties revolve around the operations of the committee itself. The chair's role is to preside over its meetings, guide its deliberations and seek to maintain order and decorum. Like the Senate Speaker, chairs have the authority to rule on procedural issues, but any ruling is subject to an appeal to the full committee. This can be done simply at the request of any other member of the committee and the resulting majority vote will determine the final result.
Pursuant to Rule 97(1), the chair or a senator designated by the chair presents or tables reports to the Senate and moves motions related to the work of the committee. The chair also usually represents the committee whenever its budget requests are reviewed by the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Senate committees also have a deputy chair who, at the request of the chair, can preside over meetings of the full committee in the absence of the chair. Should the position of chair become vacant, however, the deputy chair does not assume the chair automatically. An election is held to determine the new chair.
Most meetings adjourn to the call of the chair, although committees have at times adjourned to the call of the steering committee.
ROLE AND POWERS OF MEMBERS
The role or function of senators as members of a committee is, on the whole, similar to the part they play in the Senate itself. A member can move motions, participate in debate and vote. Because procedures in committee tend to be more informal, there is no need for a seconder when moving a motion, nor is notice required before it is proposed. Moreover, committee members can speak more than once on a question in committee and without any specific limitation of time. These variations from Senate practice are sanctioned by the Rules of the Senate.
The right to attend meetings and participate in the deliberations of a committee is extended to all senators under Rule 91. The only stated restriction is that senators who are not members of the committee are not permitted to vote. An unstated corollary is that non-member senators are not entitled to move a motion nor do they count as part of the quorum.
A significant element of committee activity, unlike the customary proceedings of the Senate, relates to the testimony of witnesses. Following a brief presentation or statement by witnesses, members have an opportunity to pose questions and exchange information with the witnesses and among themselves. Though there is no formal practice limiting the amount of time a member may take in questioning witnesses, senators generally discipline themselves to permit the participation of all the members who wish to speak. In certain instances, a committee may adopt, by motion, specific procedures for questioning witnesses.
Similar to the prohibition applied to senators in their participation in certain matters before the full Senate, Rule 94(1) forbids senators from sitting on any committee that is examining an issue in which they have a pecuniary interest "not held in common with the rest of the Canadian subjects of the Crown." Pursuant to Rule 94(3) to 94(10), when conducting a special study, a committee may order its members to disclose the existence of any private financial interests in respect thereto. Members are to file any such declaration with the clerk of the committee who in turn shall make it available for public consultation..
ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMITTEES
Committee organization: At the beginning of each Session, a nine-member Committee of Selection is appointed by the Senate to nominate the membership of the standing committees. There are a total of thirteen sectoral committees together with two committees on internal matters (Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration; and Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament). The two Joint Committees are the Scrutiny of Regulations and the Library of Parliament. The report of the Selection Committee is subsequently submitted to the Senate for approval.
The membership of the committees is permanent for the duration of the Session according to Rule 85(3). However, membership changes are periodically made by a notification signed by the appropriate party whip, filed with the Clerk of the Senate who is responsible for recording the change in the Journals of the Senate (Rule 85(4)). Copies of the membership changes are also sent to the Statistics Coordinator in the Committees Directorate and to the responsible clerk.
Once the membership has been established, standing committees schedule an organization meeting, which is called by the Clerk of the Senate. The purpose of this organization meeting is to elect the chair and deputy chair and to adopt certain procedural motions to permit the committee to function. The first item of business is the election of the chair, over which the committee clerk presides. After the deputy chair is chosen by the committee, several routine items are considered. Among them is the question of research assistance. The committee also adopts a financial report of expenditures made by the committee during the previous session. According to Rule 104, such a report must be tabled in the Senate within fifteen sitting days of the resumption of the Senate if it has not already been tabled.
Quorum: The Rules of the Senate establish the size of each committee and also fix the quorum, the minimum number of members who must be present for the committee to decide questions or to vote. The internal committees are composed of fifteen members while each of the thirteen sectoral committees have between nine and twelve members plus the two leaders or deputy leaders who are members ex officio; the quorum for all of them is set at four. For the purpose of receiving evidence, Rule 89 permits a committee to authorize the chair to hold meetings without a quorum.
The Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure (steering committee): Most committees establish a steering committee to arrange the organizational and administrative affairs of the full committee. It is often appointed at the organization meeting, but can be set up at any time. The steering committee is usually composed of at least three members with two members representing the majority party in the Senate and one representing the minority and includes the chair, the deputy chair and one other member of the committee. In order to make any decisions, three members of the steering committee must be present (Rule 96(5)).
The steering committee generally plans the work on the Order(s) of Reference before it. For example, the steering committee may assess the amount of time needed to hear witnesses, who those witnesses should be, whether the committee should seek authorization to travel or to hire research staff, or whether its proceedings should be broadcast. As well, the steering committee might prepare a budget for submission to the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration if the work of the committee will require special funding.
It is more practical to have the steering committee, a small representative unit of the full committee, to review these administrative questions. The recommendations made by the steering committee are reported back to the full committee, which reserves the right to approve or overturn any of the decisions.
The meetings of the steering committee are invariably held in camera. The committee clerk is responsible for keeping the confidential minutes of these meetings and for preparing any reports that might be presented to the full committee.
PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES IN COMMITTEES
Notices of meeting: Members of the committee, and all other senators, are notified of the date and time of each committee meeting. The notice, sent to members by fax and/or e-mail, also identifies the order(s) of Reference to be considered, provides the names and titles of witnesses and whether the meeting will be held in camera. This schedule is also available on the Senate channel of the Parliamentary Television Network, on the Parliamentary Internet and Intranet websites and at the interactive computer monitors (KIOSK) set up at Senate entrances and around the Senate precinct.
Motions and debate: Unlike proceedings in the Senate, members do not need to give notice before moving a motion nor does it require support by a seconder; but a motion or amendment can be challenged for its acceptability. Any member can raise a point of order questioning the procedural validity of the motion or amendment. Once the matter has been discussed, the chair can offer his or her assessment of its acceptability which can, in turn, be accepted or rejected by the committee on appeal. A procedural challenge like this is not a frequent occurrence in Senate committees. The work of committees is usually conducted in an atmosphere of informal collegiality and cooperation.
This atmosphere is most evident in the process of debate, which tends to resemble discussion rather than set exchanges. This style of debate is encouraged by the fact that there are no recognized time limits in committee nor are senators restricted to a single intervention.
Routine motions relating to committee work that are moved in the Senate include, for example, requesting permission to sit while the Senate is sitting, changing the date of presentation of a final report, referring papers and evidence from a previous session, and seeking authority to travel or to hire special staff.
Motions in committee include, for example, the election of a new chair, the creation of a subcommittee or the amendment of clauses of a bill (see Appendix for examples).
Voting: Formal decisions made by a committee are reached by means of a vote of its members. A majority is necessary for a question to be decided in the affirmative. The chair has the right to vote like any other member of the committee, and if he or she decides to vote, he or she must vote first. If the result of the vote is equal, the question is deemed to be in the negative.
Voting is by voice, a show of hands or, if a request is made by a member, by a recorded division. When a recorded division is taken, the names of the members are called out by the clerk of the committee, beginning with the chair, the rest being called in alphabetical order. Each senator, as his or her name is called out, answers "yea," "nay," or “abstain.” When all the names have been called and counted, the clerk announces the result and the chair declares the question either carried or defeated.
Members are not to interrupt proceedings on a division. Points of order or questions of privilege should not be raised during the division.
Witnesses:The witness-committee relationship is an extremely important one. Committees are the direct link between the institution and the Canadian public at large, hearing over 1,300 witnesses per year on average. Even if a committee does not follow a witness’s advice immediately, it provides a forum for witnesses’ views to be heard and revisited in the longer term, and also often permits their views to broadcast nation-wide on CPAC. The longer term impact of witnesses’ testimony is especially true in the Senate, where senators bring a wide range of professional expertise to their committees and have a long institutional memory.
Senators have always treated witnesses with a great deal of respect and make every effort to attend meetings with witnesses, who have often travelled a long way and made considerable efforts in the preparation of their briefs. The Committees Directorate also tries to make the appearance of witnesses as effective as possible, and produces “A Guide for Witnesses Appearing before Senate Committees,” which is posted on the Parliamentary Internet and Intranet websites, laying out guidelines for the preparation of briefs and other useful information. The Directorate also surveys witnesses as to their satisfaction with the services provided by the Directorate, and in previous years has received an approval rating of over 95 per cent.
Committees are empowered to receive evidence as part of their consideration of any matter. Evidence can be submitted in the form of testimony or as a brief. Normally, there is no restriction on the number of briefs that can be sent to a committee, but it is not always possible for committees to hear all the groups or individuals that might seek to testify. The committee has responsibility for choosing the witnesses it will hear and it sets its own guidelines for the format of the hearing, deciding, for example, how much time will be allotted to each. Also, witnesses are sometimes heard by videoconference. On occasion, committees provide the opportunity for people to "walk on" at the end of a hearing, to either answer questions or provide evidence.
Because witnesses are usually willing to come before a committee, if not in fact asking for an opportunity to testify, committees rarely have any difficulty arranging hearings. However, with a few exceptions, if a person in Canada were to decline an invitation to appear, the committee could consider issuing a summons indicating the time and place the witness would be required to give testimony.
While it is rare that witnesses are asked to testify under oath, the committee possesses the authority to have a witness sworn in or affirmed. When this authority is exercised, the oath or affirmation can be administered by the chair or, provided they have been so authorized by the Speaker of the Senate, the clerk of the committee.
Official languages and privilege: Witnesses have the right to address the committee in either official language. They may also claim the protection of privilege in respect of their evidence. This claim is founded on the premise that all proceedings of Parliament are protected by privilege and the hearings of a committee constitute part of its proceedings.
Witness expenses: Committees must decide to reimburse the reasonable travel and living expenses of witnesses before such expenses can be paid. Witnesses should be advised in advance whether the committee will accept any claims for reimbursement. To validate any such claim, a witness is required to furnish proof of allowable expenses in the form of original receipts. A decision of the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee adopted by the Senate on February 28, 1996, restricts to two the number of representatives from any one organization that can be reimbursed on a particular order of reference. Most committees, by motion, further limit the number to one.
Provincial and territorial governments: In accordance with Appendix I of the Rules of the Senate, whenever a committee is examining a bill or the subject-matter of a bill that is of special interest to a province or territory, the committee should where practicable, invite representation from the government of that province or territory. If the provincial or territorial government seeks to make a representation, the committee should give it a reasonable opportunity to be heard.
Travel: Committees have authority to convene meetings within the precincts of Parliament. Committees do not have the power to adjourn "from place to place" on their own initiative. The Senate must grant a committee the right to conduct its work beyond the parliamentary precincts and to travel to other locations. The authority can provide the power to travel anywhere in the country for the purpose of a particular study or it can specify the dates and locations of travel. Once a committee has this authority, its proceedings have the full protection of privilege as if they were taking place in Parliament. Committees have also travelled outside the country, but the jurisdiction of Parliament does not extend beyond the national borders and the meetings of committees outside the country are not under the mantle of Parliament.
The examination of bills: Bills are nearly always referred to committees for study and review following second reading. Under the terms of Rule 98, any bill sent to a committee must be reported back to the Senate. As part of its consideration of any government bill, the committee will normally hear government officials and, time permitting, interested groups or individuals as the committee may decide. The testimony of officials and other witnesses constitutes a phase in the process of a committee's examination of legislation. The responsible Minister or a parliamentary secretary often appears before the committee to speak on the bill. While there is no fixed convention, the appearance of the Minister can precede the clause-by-clause review of the bill when the committee considers any amendments that might be proposed either at the request of the government or by any member of the committee. Because the practices of the committee remain generally informal, the clause-by-clause is not always called out separately by individual clauses. Instead, the chair may seek the general approval of the committee for all the clauses of the bill and the title, calling out in order only those clauses where amendments are proposed.
Pursuant to Rule 74(1), there is also an opportunity for pre-study of the subject-matter of a bill.
Special studies: Aside from legislation, committees can receive as orders of reference the subject-matter of a bill or a policy issue of interest to Senators. The process that a committee follows in carrying out the mandate of a study is not much different from the examination of a bill. The testimony of witnesses is an important element. Following the hearings, a report is drafted reflecting the views expressed during the proceedings and the evaluation of the committee. Sometimes, particularly in major studies, the committee will engage the assistance of outside research staff who will have the responsibility of preparing a draft report for the committee. The report can include background information, observations and also recommendations.
Reports to the Senate: When a committee chair submits a final report, the committee is stating that it has concluded the work assigned to it by the Senate through the order of reference. In accordance with the majority principle, the report is taken to represent the views of the committee, even though it may not have been entirely agreed to by all its members. The use of observations and the less frequent incorporation of minority opinions have developed in recent years as a means either to raise committee concerns that are not necessarily fundamental or to accommodate the views of some committee members. These minority opinions form a part of the report, and no separate report is permitted.
A report is either presented or tabled in the Senate by a chair or another designated member of the committee. When it is presented, the chair will ask that the report be taken up for consideration either immediately or at some future time so that it can be debated by the Senate and be approved, amended or rejected. When a report is tabled, it is provided to the Senate mainly for information without the need for further action, though a request can be made to place the report on the Order Paper for debate and/or adoption.
Notice is usually given for debate on a report. The length of notice can vary depending on the nature and content of the report. One day's notice is required for a motion to adopt the report of any standing committee and two days' notice for the adoption of the report of a special committee. With respect to reports on bills: if the report proposes no amendments, the report stands adopted without any motion and the senator in charge of the bill requests that third reading be moved on a future day; if the report recommends amendments, a motion must be made to consider the report following notice. The Senate can waive any notice requirement upon request to do so, if all senators then present give leave, or unanimous consent.
Confidentiality of committee reports: Traditionally, reports remain confidential once adopted by the committee until they are presented or tabled in the Senate. This is because the Senate, having ordered a study by a committee, is entitled to be the first to see the results of the committee’s efforts.
On June 27, 2000, the Fourth Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders of April 13, 2000 was adopted and an excerpt is attached as Appendix III (previously Appendix IV) to the Rules of the Senate. The report sets out the “Procedure for dealing with Unauthorized Disclosure of Confidential Committee Reports and Other Documents or Proceedings,” and includes measures to be taken by the chairs and clerks of Committees to aid in protecting the confidentiality of reports.
Committees almost always deliberate on the contents of reports in camera, which is permitted under Rule 92(2). Committees that consider and/or adopt reports in public session cannot insist on the confidentiality of their reports, but the practice of not distributing the full text of the report until it has been passed on to the Senate should still be observed.
Reporting dates: Because many Canadians follow committee work closely, committees should make every effort to respect their original reporting dates. Certain circumstances, however, may require a committee to request an extension to their reporting date (see Appendix, Motion B).
Government responses: In June 2003, the Rules of the Senate were amended to establish a process by which the Senate can request a comprehensive Government response to reports tabled or presented by select committees, and adopted by the Senate. Rule 131(2) states that:
The Senate may request that the Government provide a complete and detailed response to a report of a select Committee, which has been adopted by the Senate if either the report or the motion adopting the report contains such a request, or if a motion to that effect is adopted subsequent to the adoption of a report.
Once such a request has been made, the Government leader has 150 days in which to table a response, or give an explanation for not doing so. This response, or explanation for the absence of one, is then referred to the appropriate committee.
As the custodian of committee documents during a session, the committee clerk is responsible for ensuring that they are made available as necessary to parliamentarians and the public. Among the items frequently distributed by the committee clerk upon request are its reports and meeting issues. Other documents related to the work of the committee such as witness briefs or other papers filed with the clerk can also be made available.
Minutes of Proceedings: The official record of the committee's meetings and decisions is the Minutes of Proceedings. Prepared by the clerk after every meeting, it includes information about the members present, the order of reference considered, decisions taken, and the identity of the witnesses who have given evidence.
The unrevised transcript ("the blues") and the evidence: Everything said during a public session of a committee meeting is usually transcribed as evidence to create a verbal record for publication as a committee issue. The draft version of the transcript, "the blues," can be made available to senators and witnesses for minor corrections before final editing and printing. Normally, the rough text is available within twenty-four hours following a meeting and a short time is allowed for corrections. The finished text is printed with the minutes to form a committee issue of the Proceedings of the Committee. Printing committee issues is done in-house and can take several weeks. Once copies are printed, they are sent out to all committee members through the distribution office.
Correspondence received by the committee: Most letters, briefs and submissions received by the committee from interested parties and potential witnesses are passed on to members of the committee, together with the translation, through the clerk's office. At the direction of the committee, summaries of the material can be prepared for the convenience of the members if it is too voluminous. All original copies are retained for final disposition in the committee archives after the end of the parliamentary session.
Documents tabled with the committee: Members or witnesses sometimes request that material either be tabled with the committee, filed as an exhibit or appended to the Proceedings of the committee. The last option is very seldom used because of the considerable expense involved when printing add-on texts to a committee issue. Exhibits and other documents tabled in a committee meeting are retained by the clerk, archived and form part of the official record. To be properly recorded in the minutes, an appropriate motion should be adopted by the committee, preferably at the time the document is tabled or the exhibit is cited.
CLERK OF THE COMMITTEE
The clerk of the committee serves as an advisor on parliamentary procedure and as the administrative officer of the committee. As a non-partisan employee of the Senate, the clerk performs duties independently of the political affiliation of the committee members. The committee clerk relies on the Rules of the Senate, parliamentary procedures, practices and jurisprudence to advise the chair on the acceptability of motions, amendments and the conduct of votes.
The clerk attends all public and in camera meetings of the full committee and any subcommittee, including the steering committee. As the recording secretary, the clerk is responsible for drafting minutes which serve as the official record. These minutes of proceedings of the full committee are subsequently produced under the supervision of the clerk as an issue with any testimony that might have been received from witnesses, or any report that might have been adopted during the same meeting, although reports are not printed until tabled or presented in the Senate.
With respect to administration, the clerk has the task of arranging and coordinating the work of the committee normally with direction from the chair and the steering committee. The clerk handles relations and correspondence with interested parties and potential witnesses and ensures the translation and distribution of briefs, as required, to committee members. The preparation and scheduling of meetings is managed through the clerk, who arranges the appearance of witnesses and informs the necessary support services. When a committee travels, all the logistics, including any transportation and accommodation, are coordinated by and through the clerk. The clerk is also responsible for providing information to the general public and other interested parties regarding the work of the committee.
Drafting the committee budget upon instruction from the chair and other members of the committee is another responsibility of the clerk. The clerk routinely accompanies the chair when the budget is subsequently reviewed by the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. In addition, the clerk is involved in preparing any contracts of the committee and making the necessary arrangements with Human Resources in accordance with established Senate administrative policy. All expenditures and disbursements of the committee, particularly payments to witnesses and contract researchers, are tracked through the fiscal year by the clerk with the assistance of the Senate Finance Directorate.
RESEARCHERS AND OTHER PERSONNEL
To accomplish its work, most committees require research support. This is particularly true if the committee is undertaking a major study or if the committee has a heavy workload of bills and other orders of reference. A committee can generally consider two options to engage research assistance: it can contract outside experts or it can obtain the support of the research service provided by the Library of Parliament.
In opting to use research analysts from the Library, a committee can make arrangements without any prior authorization from the Senate. This is because the employment of Library research staff does not entail any committee expenditure. If a committee decides, however, that it must have the advice and assistance of contracted research support, it must first obtain the permission of the Senate to engage outside advisors as well as approval for the anticipated cost.
A researcher assigned to a committee can be responsible, among other things, for preparing briefing notes and questions pertaining to the current work of the committee during the hearings phase. As well, the researcher will usually work with the chair, the steering committee and clerk in the selection of witnesses. While the committee hears their testimony, the researcher might also be required to summarize the evidence received. After the committee has concluded this part of its deliberations, the researcher will have the task of drafting a version of the report, which could be either interim or final.
THE BUDGET PROCESS
In the process of examining bills or conducting special studies, committees will likely incur expenses. The funds that support committee activities are provided from the Senate's portion of Parliament's Estimates under the program heading "Legislative Services and Committees." As is explained in Chapter 3:06 of the Senate Administrative Rules, no monies are available to the individual committees for special expenses, such as hiring staff or travelling, until their budget proposals have been submitted to and reviewed by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. Once Internal Economy has had an opportunity to assess the budget requests of the committees, it prepares recommendations for the consideration of the full Senate. Only after the Senate has adopted these recommendations, do committees have any authorization to spend money.
Types of budgets: Committee budgets may be prepared either for the routine day-to-day work, that is, the examination of legislation, or for special studies. The steps to be followed in the preparation of a budget depend on the work it is intended to support.
Bills: Following an assessment of the legislative workload that a committee might have during a fiscal year, the committee might decide to engage the services of professional, technical or clerical personnel. If the committee determines that it will want to hire such staff, it must first obtain the permission of the Senate. Once granted, the committee can prepare a budget application covering the fiscal year. After the committee itself has adopted this budget, it is submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
In reviewing a budget request, the committee meets with the appropriate committee chair, usually accompanied by the clerk, considers the financial proposal and reports its conclusions to the Senate. The Senate has the authority to accept, reject or amend the reports of Internal Economy. The Senate must approve the final budget of the committee and that approval is necessary before any funds can be spent.
Special studies: Inquiries into non-legislative matters proposed by a standing committee must be approved by the Senate. The committee gets this approval through a motion indicating the scope of the study and the date by which it intends to report. Once the committee has received the order of reference from the Senate for the special study, it must prepare a budget of the expenses for the fiscal year and a general estimate of the total cost of the study if it anticipates incurring special expenses. This budget must be submitted to the Committee on Internal Economy for its consideration. Once this budget is approved, it is returned to the chair of the committee proposing the special study. The chair, in turn, must seek the authority of the Senate to incur the budgeted costs of the study (Sections 1-2, Chapter 3:06 of the Senate Administrative Rules).
Emergency funds: When committees are obliged to spend some funds and are unable to submit a budget immediately or to obtain the approval of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration quickly enough, the chair and deputy chair of Internal Economy together have the authority to allocate up to $10,000 to a committee so that it can continue to operate until such time as its budget can be properly considered and approved (Section 4, Chapter 3:06 of the Senate Administrative Rules).
Non-committee expenditures: Certain costs are not charged directly to a committee, but rather to the budget of the Committees Directorate. Charges for witness expenses, videoconferences and the standard beverages served at committee meetings held within the parliamentary precincts, are three categories of expenditure borne by the Committees Directorate.
Rule 104: Once the accounting of any special expenses for any work undertaken by a committee is complete or, if the Senate is not sitting, within fifteen days of the resumption of its sittings, a report must be prepared and submitted by the committee to the Senate. The report provides in sufficient detail an explanation of the monies actually spent by the committee.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
In addition to the publication of committee budgets in the respective committee issues and in the Journals of the Senate, as well as the Rule 104 expense reports, the Senate Committees Directorate also publishes an Annual Report of its “Activities and Expenditures.” The report generally provides well over 100 pages of information on the membership of committees; the bills and studies conducted by each committee; various statistics including numbers of meetings, witnesses and hours of study and details on any travel, and all related expenses.
The Annual Report is available on the Parliamentary Internet.
Broadcasting of Committee Proceedings
The Senate has an agreement with the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) to broadcast committee proceedings. Committees often decide whether or not to televise their proceedings based on the orders of reference before them, the witnesses to be heard, and the anticipated interest level it holds for the various communities of interest or the public in general.
Committee meetings are audio-broadcast through the use of audio-feed facilities installed in the committee rooms of the Senate. On the Parliamentary Television Network, committee proceedings are routinely broadcast in French, English and floor language(s) to all offices on both a live and videotape replay basis. Committee meetings are now also available through audio web casting on the Parliamentary Internet.
Senate committees have established even greater links with the public and the media through the Parliamentary Internet. All committee reports, press releases, transcripts, membership lists, contact names and numbers and other appropriate information are posted bilingually on the Internet as soon as possible. Individual committee web sites can be accessed at www.parl.gc.ca.
Relations with the Media and the Public
Reporters covering committees serve as a vital link to the public. Their recounts of committee proceedings and reports often form the basis of the opinions of the public.
While committee clerks are available to provide meeting schedules and transcripts of hearings, questions about policy directions being considered by (or recommended by) a committee can only be handled by the chair and members.
Committee members are encouraged to make themselves available to the press, to help them fully understand the issues being reviewed. A well-guided relationship with the press can often do more to promote the work of a committee, and the Senate itself, than an expensive outreach campaign.
The above guidelines naturally apply to relations with the public as well, as they are the ultimate beneficiaries of the parliamentary process.
MOTIONS COMMONLY USED BY OR IN COMMITTEES
BY the Honourable Senator …, seconded by the Honourable Senator
With leave of the Senate and notwithstanding Rule 58(1)(a),
THAT the Standing Senate Committee on … have power to sit while the Senate is sitting today, and that Rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
BY the Honourable Senator …, seconded by the Honourable Senator
With leave of the Senate and notwithstanding Rule 58(1)(f),
THAT, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on Wednesday, May 6, 1997, the Standing Senate Committee on …, which was authorized to examine …, be empowered to present its final report no later than Thursday, March 31, 1998.
The Honourable Senator ... moved, seconded by the Honourable Senator
THAT the Standing Senate Committee on … be authorized to examine and report upon the present state of the … in Canada;
THAT the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee;
THAT the Committee be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of his hearings; and
THAT the Committee submit its final report no later than December 12, 1999.
FOR USE IN COMMITTEE
The Honourable Senator … moved:
THAT, pursuant to Rule 96(4) of the Rules of the Senate, a Subcommittee of the Standing Senate Committee on … be appointed;
THAT the Subcommittee be authorized to examine and report, from time to time, to the Standing Committee on (order of reference);
THAT the Sub-Committee be authorized to send for persons, papers and records, whenever required, and to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it; and
THAT the Sub-Committee be composed of the Honourable Senators …
FOR USE IN COMMITTEE
Bill C-19 Clause 8
(36th - 1st) Page 5
The Honourable Senator … moved:
That Bill C-19 be amended, in clause 8, on page 5, by replacing lines 16 to 19 with the following:
"(b) have regard to any statement of public transportation policy issued by the Governor in Council after consultation by the Minister with the government of each".
Franks, C.E.S. Not dead yet, but should it be resurrected? : The Canadian Senate. Kingston, Ontario: Department of Political Science, Queen’s University, 1998.
Franks, C.E.S. The Parliament of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.
Fraser, Dawson, Holtby. Beauchesne’s Rules & Forms of the House of Commons of Canada. 6 th Edition. Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1989.
Joyal, Serge. Protecting Canadian Democracy: The Senate You Never Knew. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003
Kunz, Frank A. The Modern Senate of Canada, 1925-1963 : a re-appraisal. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965.
Lee, Derek. The power of parliamentary houses to send for persons, papers & records: a sourcebook of law and precedent of parliamentary subpoena powers for Canadian and other houses. Wagman, T Grant: researcher, compiler and collaborator. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
Maingot, Joseph. Parliamentary Privilege in Canada. 2 nd Edition. Montreal: House of Commons and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997.
McInnes, David. Taking it to the Hill: the complete guide for appearing before (and surviving) parliamentary committees. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1999.
Senate Committees. A Guide for Chairs of Senate Committees. Ottawa: September 2004.
Senate Committees Directorate. Senate Committees Activities and Expenditures Annual Report.
JULIA ZAPPEI, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 18, 2008 05:27
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's Islamic opposition party has urged the government to cancel a concert by Avril Lavigne, saying the Canadian singer's on-stage moves are "too sexy," an official said Monday.
Lavigne, a Grammy-nominated rock singer who burst to fame with her 2002 debut album "Let's Go," plans to start her monthlong Asia tour with a performance in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 29.
The youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said Lavigne's concert would promote wrong values ahead of Malaysia's Aug. 31 independence day.
"It is considered too sexy for us. ... It's not good for viewers in Malaysia," said Kamarulzaman Mohamed, a party official. "We don't want our people, our teenagers, influenced by their performance. We want clean artists, artists that are good role models."
Kamarulzaman said he sent a protest letter to the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Kuala Lumpur mayor last week, calling for the concert to be canceled.
An official from the Culture Ministry's department that vets all foreign artists said the government has not given permission for the concert yet. The department is to meet Tuesday to decide on the organizer's application, which was received last week.
The official declined to be named because she is not authorized to make public statements.
A spokesman for the concert's organizer, Galaxy Group, denied that Lavigne's show had any "negative elements."
The spokesman, who declined to be named citing protocol, said his company was confident of receiving the permit as feedback from authorities so far had been "very positive."
Malaysia requires all performers to wear clothes without obscene or drug-related images and be covered from chest to knees. They must also refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging and kissing on stage.
Still, members of PAS and other conservative Muslims often protest Western and even Malaysian music shows that they deem to be inappropriate.
Last year, pop singer Gwen Stefani made what she called "a major sacrifice" by donning clothes that revealed little skin at a performance here.
Also last year, Christina Aguilera skipped Malaysia during an Asian tour that included neighboring Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, while R&B superstar Beyonce scratched a planned concert here, moving it to Indonesia.
A Pussycat Dolls concert in 2006 was fined 10,000 ringgit (US$2,857) after the U.S. girl group was accused of flouting decency regulations.
တနလၤာေန႔၊ ၾသဂုတ္လ 18 2008 18:22 - ျမန္မာစံေတာ္ခ်ိန္
စက္သတ္ျပီး စက္ေလွကို ရပ္လုိက္သည္။ အရွိန္ႏွင့္ေလွဦးသည္ ၀ါးေဖာင္ႀကီးတခုဆီသို႔ တေရႊ႔ေရႊႏွင့္ ကပ္သြားရာ လႈိင္းလံုးမ်ားေၾကာင့္ ၀ါးေဖာင္သည္ ျမင့္လုိက္၊ နိမ့္လုိက္ လႈပ္ယမ္း၍ေနသည္။ လႈိင္းပုတ္သျဖင့္ ေလွႏွင့္၀ါးေဖာင္သည္ ေ၀းလုိက္၊ နီးလုိက္ ျဖစ္ေန၏။ ေလွႀကိဳးအား ၀ါးေဖာင္တြင္ ခ်ည္လုိက္ၿပီးမွသာ ေလွသည္ ၀ါးေဖာင္ႏွင့္ ကပ္၍သြားေတာ့သည္။
၀ါးေဖာင္ေပၚသို႔ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ အားလံုး တက္လုိက္ၾကသည္။ ၀ါးေဖာင္က အလ်ားေပ ၃၀၊ အနံေပ ၂၀ခန္႔ရွိမည္။ ၀ါးပိုးလံုးႀကီးမ်ားအား ေလးထပ္မွ် ထပ္၍ တြဲထားသည့္ ၀ါးေဖာင္ႀကီး ျဖစ္သည္။ ေဖာင္၏ တ၀က္ခန္႔အား အင္ဖက္မ်ားႏွင့္ အမိုး မုိးထား၏။ အမိုးေအာက္၌ စက္ေလွ အင္ဂ်င္တံုးမ်ားအား ျပဳျပင္သည္။ တြင္ခံုတစ္ခုလည္း ရွိသည္။ စက္ေလွမ်ား ျပဳျပင္သည့္ အလုပ္ရုံ ၀ါးေဖာင္မ်ား ျဖစ္သည္။ ၀ါးေဖာင္ေပၚမွ ဆင္းလွ်င္ `ေစာထ´ကမ္းပါးသို႔ ေရာက္၏။ ကမ္းပါးက မတ္ေစာက္သည္။ ကမ္းပါးသည္ ၁၅-ေပ၊ ေပ-၂၀ခန္႔ မတ္သည္။ ေလွကားထစ္မ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ထားသည္။ ေလွကားထစ္မ်ားအတုိင္း က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ ကမ္းပါးေပၚသို႔ တတ္လာခဲ့ၾက၏။ ကမ္းပါးထပ္တြင္ KNU ၏ အလံအား လႊင့္ထူထား၏။ အလံတုိင္၏ အေနာက္နားတြင္မူ KNU စစ္ေဆးေရးႏွင့္ အခြန္ စည္းၾကပ္သည့္ အေဆာက္အဦးငယ္ တလံုး ရွိသည္။
`ေစာထ´ေစ်းတန္းက `မာနယ္ပေလာ´ ထုိးစစ္အတြင္း တုိက္ခုိက္ျခင္း မခံရသည့္အတြက္ ေစ်းဆုိင္တုိ႔မွာ အပ်က္အစီး မရွိ…..။ ေေစ်းတန္္းက သံလြင္အား ေထာင့္မွန္က်စြာႏွင့္ ေခါင္းထုိး၍ ေဆာက္ထားေသာ ေစ်းတန္း ျဖစ္သည္။`ေစာထ´အားလြန္၍ သံလြင္ကို ဆန္၍တက္လွ်င္ …..`ေမာ္ခ်ီး´ သို႔ ေရာက္မည္။ ေျမျပင္ခရီးႏွင့္မူ `ေစာထ´မွသည္ `ဖာပြန္´ ၊ `ေက်ာက္ႀကီး´ ၊ `ေရႊက်င္´ ၊ `ေညာင္ေလးပင္´ နယ္မ်ားသို႔ ေပါက္သည္။ ေတာင္မ်ားအား တက္ရမည္။ လ်ဳိေျမာင္မ်ားအတြင္း ေလွ်ာက္ရမည္။ လြင္ျပင္မ်ားအား ျဖတ္ရမည္။ လမ္းက လမ္းၾကမ္း….။ ႏြားကုန္သည္တုိ႔ အသံုးျပဳသည့္လမ္း ျဖစ္သည္။
ေစ်းခင္းလမ္းက ေျမနီရႊံ႔တို႔ႏွင့္ ေခ်ာ၍ေနသည္။ ေျခညွပ္ဖိနပ္စီး၍ လမ္းေလွ်ာက္မရ….။ မိုးတြင္းစီး လည္ရွည္ ဖိနပ္ႀကီးမ်ားႏွင့္ သြားမွ အဆင္ေျပသည္။ က်ေနာ္တို႔က ေျခၫွပ္ဖိနပ္အား ခၽြတ္၍ ေျခဖ၀ါးေျပာင္ႏွင့္ ေလွ်ာက္ၾကရသည္။ `ေျခမ´အား ကုတ္၍ ထိန္းသြားမွ မလဲေအာင္ ေလွ်ာက္၍ရေတာ့သည္။ ေစ်းတန္း၏အလယ္တြင္ ရင္ကြဲဘားတုိက္ရွည္ႀကီး ၂-လံုးရွိသည္။ ဘားတုိက္က လူ ၅၀-၆၀ ခန႔္ ေနႏုိင္သည့္ ဘားတုိက္ရွည္ႀကီး ျဖစ္သည္။ ဘားတုိက္ေပၚ၌ လက္နက္ကိုင္ ေတာ္လွန္ေရး တပ္ဖြဲ႔ တဖြဲ႔ ရွိေန၏။ ၇၀-၈၀ ခန္႔ ရွိမည္။ ဗမာစကားလည္း ေျပာသည္။ အျခား တုိင္းရင္းသား ဘာသာစကားလည္း ေျပာၾကသည္။ လက္ေမာင္းတံဆိပ္ကမူ KNU လည္း မဟုတ္။ KNU ၏ လက္ေမာင္းတံဆိပ္က ေန၀န္းျဖာထြက္ေနသည့္ အမွတ္တံဆိပ္…..။ ဘားတုိက္အား လြန္လွ်င္ လက္ဖက္ရည္ဆုိင္ တဆုိင္အား ေတြ႔ရ၏။ ဆိုင္က ေျမစိုက္ပင္ …..။ ေျမျပင္အား သဲျဖဴမ်ား ၊ ေက်ာက္စရစ္ခဲငယ္မ်ား ခင္းထားသျဖင့္ သန္႔ရွင္းသည္။ စားပြဲပုေလးမ်ားႏွင့္ ….။ ဆိုင္အတြင္းသို႔ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ ၀င္ၾက၏။ ဆိုင္အတြင္း၌လည္း ဘားတုိက္ေပၚ၌ ေတြ႔ခဲ့ရသည့္ တပ္ဖြဲ႔အခ်ဳိ႔အား ေတြ႔ရသည္။ သူတုိ႔၏ ၀ဲဘက္ရင္ဘတ္၌ စာတမ္းအား ေတြ႔ရသည္။ `က.လ.လ.တ´…..။ ဘာလဲ…..။ မသိ၍ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔အား ဦးေဆာင္ ေခၚလာသည့္ သူအား ေမးၾကည့္၏။ `ကယားျပည္နယ္ လူမ်ဳိးေပါင္းစံု လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရး တပ္ဖြဲ႔´ ဟုသိရသည္။
လက္ဖက္ရည္ဆုိင္အတြင္း ဗိုလ္ေရႊ၀ါႏွင့္ ေတြ႔ဆံု သိကြ်မ္းခဲ့ရသည္။ သူကား …..`ေစာထ´ တြင္ ေရာက္ေနသည့္ `က.လ.လ.တ´ တပ္ဖြဲ႔၏ ႏုိင္ငံေရးမွဴး ျဖစ္သည္။ ထိုစဥ္က …. သူ႔အသက္မွာ ၅၀-၀န္က်င္ခန္႔ ရွိမည္။ အသားၫုိၫုိ…. ပိန္ပိန္သြယ္သြယ္ႏွင့္ ျဖစ္သည္။ တပ္ဖြဲ႔ ယူနီေဖာင္းအား အျပည့္အ၀ ၀တ္မထား….။ ကရင္ပုဆုိးအား ခါးတြင္ စည္းထား၏။ စကားေျပာလွ်င္ ျဖည္းျဖည္းႏွင့္ တုိးတုိးၫွင္းၫွင္း ဆို၏။ တုိင္းရင္းသား ကရင္နီ၊ ကယားလူမ်ဳိး တဦးထက္ ေျမလတ္သားတေယာက္၏ ပုုံသ႑ာန္ ေပါက္ေနသည္ဟု ထင္မိ၏။
`အဖိႏွိပ္ခံ လူမ်ဳိးေပါင္းစံု လြတ္ေျမာက္ေရး….´ ဟူသည္အား ဗိုလ္ေရႊ၀ါသည္ သူေျပာသည့္ စကားမ်ားအတြင္း မၾကာ၊ မၾကာ ထပ္၍ထပ္၍ သံုးသည္။ န.၀.တ အဖြဲ႔အတြင္း ဗိုလ္ေစာေမာင္အား အနားေပးၿပီး ဗိုလ္သန္းေရႊ တက္လာသည့္အေပၚ သူ၏ ထင္ျမင္ခ်က္အား ေျပာ၏။ စစ္အုပ္စု ေခါင္းေဆာင္မႈ အသစ္အတြင္း ဗုိလ္သန္းေရႊ၊ ဗိုလ္တင္ဦး ႏွင့္ ဗုိလ္ခင္ၫႊန္႔တုိ႔၏ ေနရာအား ယွဥ္ထုိး၍ တြက္ျပ၏။ တပ္မေတာ္ ေထာက္လွန္ေရးအဖြဲ႔ႏွင့္ တပ္မေတာ္ၾကည္း အတြင္း အားၿပိဳင္မႈမ်ား ရွိလာမည္ဟု သံုးသပ္ျပသည္။ က်ေနာ္တို႔က နားေထာင္၍သာ ေန၏။ လြတ္ေျမာက္နယ္ေျမေရာက္ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔၏ ပထမဆံုးေသာ …..လက္ဖက္ရည္ဆုိင္ ႏုိင္ငံေရး တရားပြဲ…..။
သူသည္ စကားအား စမ္းေရစီးသကဲ့သုိ႔ အလွ်င္းမျပတ္ေအာင္ ေျပာ၏။ သူ႔ေျပာဟန္သည္ တကၠသိုလ္မွ ပါေမာကၡတဦး `လက္ခ်ာ´ ေပးေနသည္ႏွင့္လည္း မတူ….။ ႏုိင္ငံေရးသမားတဦး လူထုေရွ႔ စကားေျပာေနသကဲ့သို႔လည္း မဟုတ္….။
လက္ဖက္ရည္ဆုိင္ ႏုိင္ငံေရး စကား၀ိုင္းဆိုေသာ္လည္း သူသာလွ်င္ ေျပာ၏။ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔က နားေထာင္ရုံ….။ ၿပံဳး၍ ေခါင္းညိတ္သည့္အခါ ညိတ္ၾက၏။
…….` မာနယ္ပေလာ ထုိးစစ္ကို အက်အဆံုးမ်ားၿပီး တစ္ဖက္သတ္ ရပ္စဲလုိက္ရတာ န.၀.တ အတြင္း တပ္မေတာ္ၾကည္းအတြက္ အားနည္းခ်က္လို ျဖစ္သြားတယ္ဗ်ာ…..´ သူသည္ စကားအားရပ္ၿပီး …. မီးေသေနၿပီ ျဖစ္သည့္ ေဆးေပါလိပ္အား မီးၫွိ၍ ဖြာရိႈက္၏။ မိုးခိုးေငြ႔မ်ား အၾကား၌ သူ႔မ်က္ႏွာသည္ မႈန္၀ါး၍သြားသည္။
`အမ်ဳိးသားညီလာခံဟာ ဗိုလ္ခင္ၫႊန္႔တုိရဲ့ အိုင္ဒီယာလုိ႔ ထင္တယ္ဗ်…..´ `ခင္ဗ်ားတုိ႔ေကာ ဘယ္လုိထင္လဲ….´ ။
သူသည္ စကားအားျဖတ္ၿပီး က်ေနာ္တုိ႔အား ထင္ျမင္ခ်က္ ေတာင္းေနျပန္သည္။ က်ေနာ္တို႔က …..န.၀.တမွ အမ်ဳိးသား ညီလာခံ က်င္းပမည့္အေၾကာင္း ေၾကညာခ်က္ မထုတ္ျပန္မွီ ရန္ကုန္ရွိ ႏုိင္ငံေရး ပါတီမ်ားမွ ေခါင္းေဆာင္မ်ားအား န.၀.တက ျပည္ထဲေရး ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန ရုံးခန္းတြင္ ေခၚေတြ႔ေၾကာင္း၊ န.၀.တ ဖက္က ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္ဘုန္းျမင့္၊ ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္မ်ဳိးၫႊန္႔ႏွင့္ ဗိုလ္မွဴးႀကီး သန္းထြန္းတို႔ တတ္ေၾကာင္း NLD မွလည္း ဦးေအာင္ေရႊတုိ႔ ဦးလြင္တုိ႔ တက္ၾကေၾကာင္း …….။
အမ်ဳိးသားညီလာခံ၏ ဦးတည္ခ်က္ ခ်မွတ္ေရး ေဆြးေႏြးၾကေၾကာင္း….. ႏိုင္ငံေရး ပါတီမ်ားမွ အႀကံျပဳစာမ်ား ေရးသား တင္ျပၾကေၾကာင္း …..ေနာက္ဆံုး အားလံုးကို ပယ္ၿပီး …..စစ္အုပ္စုက သူရဲ့ ဦးတည္ခ်က္ (၆) ရပ္ကိုပဲ ထုတ္ျပန္ခဲ့ေၾကာင္း …..။ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ သိခဲ့သည့္ အေျခအေနအား ေျပာျပ၏။
`သူ႔အက်ဳိးစီးပြားအတြက္ပဲ ၾကည့္ၿပီး ဘာျဖစ္ျဖစ္ လုပ္မွာပဲ၊ ႏုိင္ငံေရး အင္အားစုေတြက ရန္သူ႔အက်ဳိးျပဳ လုပ္ရပ္မ်ဳိးေတြမွာ အသိမဲ့လုိက္ မပါမိဖို႔ လိုတယ္ဗ်….. အဓိကကေတာ့ …. ရန္ ၊ ငါ စည္းျပတ္ဖုိ႔ လိုတယ္ဗ်´
က်ေနာ္တုိ႔၏စကားအဆံုးတြင္ သူက နိဂံုးခ်ဳပ္ေပး၏။ အျပင္တြင္ သည္းေနေသာ မိုးသည္ စဲ၍သြားၿပီ။ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔က ခရီးဆက္ရဦးမည္။ `ေစာဖုိးထ´ သို႔……။ `ေစာဖိုးထ´က `ေစာထ´ ႏွင့္ နာရီ၀က္ခန္႔ ေျခလ်င္သြားရမည့္ခရီး….။ ေတာင္အဆင္းအတတ္ မရွိ ….။ လြင္ျပင္အား ျဖတ္၍ သြားရမည္။
က်ေနာ္တို႔ သူ႔အား ႏႈတ္ဆက္၏။ `က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ ရန္သူနဲ႔ ရန္၊ငါ စည္းျပတ္ဖို႔ လိုတယ္ဗ်….´ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔အား ထပ္၍ေျပာျပန္၏။ က်ေနာ္တုိ႔ ၿပံဳး၍ ေခါင္းညိတ္ျပရင္း ေက်ာပိုးအိတ္အား လြယ္ၿပီး ဆိုင္အျပင္သို႔ ထြက္ခဲ့၏။ ေနာက္ပိုင္း …..သူႏွင့္ တႀကိမ္မွ် ျပန္၍ မဆံုေတြ႔ျဖစ္ေတာ့ …..။ ဆုိင္အတြင္း ကက္စက္ေဆာင္းေဘာက္မွ ကိုမြန္းေအာင္၏သီခ်င္းသံက ဆုိင္အျပင္လမ္းေပၚသို႔ ေျပး၍ လိုက္လာသည္။
…….. `အမွန္ကို ဆိုတဲ့ ငါ့ပါးစပ္ကို
ငါ့မ်က္လံုးပါ ……ေဖာက္ပါေတာ့လား ……´