House of Commons of Canada
The House of Commons (English: House off Commons ) is, with the Sénat and the Couronne (represented by the general governor), a component of the Parlement of Canada. The House of Commons is a democratically elected room made up of 308 Députés. The deputies are elected for a limited mandate, preserving their seat until the dissolution of the legislature (after a 5 years maximum). Each deputy represents one of the electoral constituencies country.
The House of Commons was established in 1867, when the Acte of British North America of 1867 created the Dominion of Canada, and had as a model the House of Commons the British. Although it is technically the Lower House Parliament, the House of Commons holds in fact to be able much more that the Upper House, the Senate. A bill must be approved by the two rooms before becoming a law; however, it is very rare that the Senate rejects a law voted by the communes. Moreover, the government of Canada is responsible in front of the communes only; the Prime Minister remains in station only as long as it or it preserves the support of the Lower House.
The word “ communes ” from the Anglo-Norman common comes, which wants to say “ localités ”. Canada is the only country other than the the United Kingdom to use the term “ House of Commons ” for the Lower House of the Parliament. The House of Commons of Canada is on the Colline of the Parliament to Ottawa, in Ontario.
The House of Commons was creates in 1867 when the Parlement of the United Kingdom voted the Acte of British North America, linking the Province of Canada (which was separate in two provinces, the Ontario and the Quebec), the Nova Scotia and the New Brunswick in only one named federation the Dominion of Canada. The new Parliament of Canada was composed of the Couronne (represented by the general governor), the Senate and the House of Commons. The Parliament of Canada was created according to the model of Westminster (i.e. the model of the Parliament of the United Kingdom); however, contrary to the British Parliament, the powers of the Parliament of Canada were limited, because other capacities were granted exclusively to the provincial legislative assembled . The Parliament of Canada remained also submitted to the British Parliament, the supreme legislative authorities for all the British Empire. A greater autonomy was granted to him with the Statut of Westminster in 1931, which put an end to any British interference in the Canadian businesses. Full autonomy was granted only with the Loi of 1982 on Canada , by which Parliament of the United Kingdom renonça to any legislative power in Canada.
Deputies and elections
The House of Commons is made up of 308 Député S, each one representing only one electoral constituency (sometimes called county ). The law requires that there be a minimum of 282 districts; there are currently 308 of them. The distribution of the seats among the provinces is made in proportion of their population, is determined by a census every ten years, and prone to the following constitutional exceptions: firstly, the “ clause sénatoriale ” guarantees that each province will hold at least as many deputies as senators; secondly, the “ clause of the rights acquis ” guarantees to each province at least as many deputies as it had some in 1976 or 1985; finally, no province can lose more than 15% of its deputies after only one census décennial.
In result of these three clauses, the smallest provinces and the provinces having known a relative decline of their population are surreprésentées in Room. Only the Ontario, the Colombia-British and the Alberta - the province whose growth of the population is fastest - are represented more or less proportionally with their population. Committees are charged to draw the limits of the district, but their proposals are submitted to parliamentary approval. The territorial representation is independent of the population; each territory has right only to one seat. The representation with the House of Commons is summarized in the table below.
- Source: Elections Canada
general elections take place when the Parliament is dissolved by the general governor. The date is usually chosen by the Prime Minister; however, a parliamentary mandate cannot last more than five years. The Canadian laws stipulate that any federal election must take place one Monday (except for the non-working vacation), and the electoral campaign must last at least 36 days. The candidates are usually named by political parties. It is possible for a candidate to present himself as independent. Although it is rare that such a candidate gains an election, a nonoutgoing independent truth, André Arthur, managed to be made elect in a district of the Quebec in 2006. The not-outgoing independent last to gain an election was Gilles Duceppe at the time of a by-election in 1990; however, Gilles Duceppe represented semi-officially the Québécois Bloc, which at the time was not officially recorded as a political party with Élections Canada. In 2004, independent gained its seat: Chuck Cadman, which represented already its district of Surrey-North, with Surrey (Colombia-British), having already been elected like member of the Parti reformist (in 1997) and, later, of the Canadian Alliance (in 2000).
To aspire to a seat with the communes, the candidates must give of the documents of nomination carrying the signatures from at least 50 or 100 voters (according to the size of the electoral county). Each district elects a deputy; one uses the mode of Uninominal system majority to a turn, according to which the candidate who gains a simple plurality of the voices gains. To have the right to vote, one must be an old Canadian citizen of at least eighteen years.
Once elected, a deputy normally continues to sit until the next dissolution of the Parliament. If a deputy ceases being qualified, where if he resigns, its seat becomes again vacant. It is possible for the House of Commons to expel a deputy, but this capacity is exerted only when one deputy is guilty of serious bad conduct or criminal activities. In each case, a vacant seat can be filled by a by-election in the suitable district. The same uninominal way of voting with a turn is used at the time of the partial ones, as with the general elections.
The annual salary of each deputy, in date of 2005, is of 144.000 $; a deputy can receive additional wages under the terms of other stations which it holds (for example, that of President of the Room). The deputies are immediately under the senators in the order of precedence.
Under the terms of the constitutional Law of 1867 , the Parliament is authorized to determine the qualifications of the deputies to the House of Commons. The current qualifications are exposed in the Electoral law of Canada , which was voted in 2000. According to this law, an individual must be an eligible voter on day when it or it is put in nomination in order to stand as a candidate. Thus, the minors and the individuals who do not hold the Canadian citizenship do not have the right to be candidates. The Electoral law of Canada also prohibits to the people imprisoned to stand as a candidates. Moreover, the individuals declared guilty of crimes relating to the elections do not have the right to be appointed for one five years period (in certain cases, seven years) after their judgment.
The law prohibited with certain officers to stand as a candidate. This includes/understands the deputies at the provincial or territorial legislative assemblies, the sheriffs, the Crown attorneys, the majority of the judges, and the civils servant electoral. The managing director of the elections and the executive vice president of the elections (leaders of Canada Elections, the federal agency responsible for the behavior of the elections) have not only prohibition to stand as a candidate, but also to vote. Finally, under the terms of the constitutional Law of 1867 , a senator cannot also become appointed.
The House of Commons elects a President (English: Announcer ) at the beginning of each parliamentary session, as when one vacancy ago. Previously, the Prime Minister named the president; although the Room had to vote on the question, the vote was only one formality. Since 1986, however, the Room elects the president by a secret vote. The president is assisted by a vice-president, who also holds the title of President of the plenary committees. Two others assistant - the vice-president of the plenary committees and the assistant vice-president of the plenary committees - president also. The functions of the presidency of the Room are shared among four officers mentioned Ci-high; however, the president usually chairs the Period of the questions and the most important debates.
The President supervises the daily operation of the Room, and controls the debates by inviting the deputies to speak. If a deputy believes that the Payment was enfreint, it or it can make a " recall with the règlement" , on which the President must return a decision which is not prone to the debate or the calls. The President can also discipline the deputies who do not observe the payments of the Room. When it chairs, the President must remain impartial. The President also supervises the administration of the room. The current President of the House of Commons of Canada east honourable the Peter Milliken, appointed.
The member of the government charged to guide the bills in Room is called the Leader of the government to the House of Commons (Canada). The leader of the government in Room is a deputy selected by the Prime Minister. The leader decides schedule of the House of Commons, and tries to make sure the support of the Opposition for the legislative diary of the government.
The officers of the Room who are not appointed are the Clerk, the Under-clerk, the Legist and parliamentary adviser, and several other clerks. These officers advise the President and the deputies on the payments and procedures of the Room. Another important officer is the sergeant of weapons, which with the function to maintain the order and safety on the spot. The sergeant of weapons transports also the mass cérémoniale, a symbol of the authority of the Crown and House of Commons, in the Room for each meeting. The mass is deposited on the table of the House of Commons for the duration of the meeting. The Room also employs parliamentary pages, which deliver messages to the deputies in Room and carry assistance in a general way to the Room.
Like the Senate, the House of Commons meets on the Colline of the Parliament to Ottawa. The room of the House of Commons is decorated in modest green of way, contrasting with the sumptuous decoration of the red room of the Senate. Arrangement is similar to that of the British House of Commons. The seats are also distributed each side of the room, with two swords and half of distance. The armchair of the President is at an end of the room; the Table of the Room, on which the mass cérémoniale rests, is in front of the armchair. Various the " officers of Table" - clerks and other officers - asseoient themselves with the table, ready to when necessary advise the President on the procedure. The members of the government sit on the right of the President, whereas the members of the opposition occupy the benches on its left. The Ministers for the government take seat around the Prime Minister, who traditionally occupies the 11th seat of the first line to the right-hand side of the President. The chief of the official opposition is directly opposite the Prime Minister and is surrounded by his shadow cabinet, criticisms of the ministerial wallets. The chiefs of the remaining parties sit in the line of ahead. The other deputies not holding any particular responsibility are called " déptués of back-banc".
The Room usually sits of the Monday to Friday. The meetings of the Room are opened with the public. The schedule varies year by year and can be adjusted according to the needs for the House of Commons. The debates are diffused with the radio, and on television on chain CPAC ( Public Cable Affairs Chanel , a consortium of Canadian companies of câblodiffusion). They are also reproduced in Hansard, the official report of the parliamentary debates.
The constitutional Loi of 1867 establishes a Quorum of 20 deputies (including the President) for the House of Commons. Very appointed can ask an account of the deputies to make sure of the presence of a quorum; if however the President judges that at least 20 deputies are clearly in the room, it can refuse the request. If an account takes place, and shows that less than twenty deputies are present, the President orders that the bells are sounded, so that other deputies on the spot can return to the room. If, after a second account, the quorum is still not reached, the President must defer the Room until the next day of meeting.
During the debates, the deputies can speak only if the President (or the assistant president) theirs grants. The President with the responsibility to make sure that the deputies of all the parties on the occasion to be made hear. The President also determines who has the right to speak if two or several deputies rise simultaneously, but its decision can be changed by the Room. Motions must be presented by a deputy and supported by another before the beginning of the debate; certain motions are not however prone to the debate.
The speeches can be delivered in one or the other of the official languages of Canada (English and French). The deputies must address themselves to the officer chair, not to the Room, using the words " Mister Président" ( Mr. Speaker ) or " Madam Présidente" ( Madam Announcer ). They must speak about the other deputies to the third anybody. According to the tradition, the deputies are identified not by their name, but by the name of their district; for example, " the honourable member of électoral".
The President imposes the payment of the Room, and can inform and punish the deputies who do not respect it. To be unaware of the instructions of the President constitutes a grave offense with the payment of the Room, and can lead to the suspension of the guilty deputy.
No deputy can speak more once on the same question (except that which advances a motion is entitled to a speech at the beginning of the debate and another with the end). Moreover, the remarks in a wearying manner repetitive or impertinent are prohibited; the officer president can order to the deputy making such remarks to cease speaking. The Payment of the House of Commons prescribes time limits for the speeches. The limits depend on the nature of motion, but are usually between ten and twenty minutes. However, in certain circumstances, the Prime Minister, the chief of the opposition and others can make speeches of more a long life. A debate can moreover be restricted by the vote of a motion of allowance of time. The Room can also quickly put fine at a debate as a voter a motion of fence (also called " baillon" or " guillotine").
At the conclusion of the debate, motion is voted on. The Room votes initially by a vocal vote: the president puts the question, and the deputies answer is " oui" (in favor of motion) or " non" (against motion). The president then announces the result of the vote by yes or not, but five deputies or more can be in dissension and force a nominal vote. Firstly, the deputies in favor of motion rise so that the clerks can record their names and their votes; then, the same procedure is repeated for the deputies opposed to motion. There is no formal means to record an abstention; however, a deputy can abstain from informellement while remaining sitted lasting the nominal vote. If there is equality of the voices, the President or the president-assistant must express his vote. If the number of the members voters, plus the president, does not equalize a total of twenty, there is no quorum, and it vote is invalid.
The exit of the majority of the votes is known as a preliminary, since the political parties tell their members normally how to vote. The parties entrust normally to a deputy whom one invites a whip the task to make sure that all the deputies of the party vote according to the desired line. The deputies only vote very seldom against these instructions, since those which do it have only few chances to climb the levels of their party. The rebellious deputies can be désélectionnés like official candidates of their party in a future election, and, in the serious cases, can be straightforwardly expelled of their party. Thus, the independence of the deputies is extremely weak, and the " rebellions of back-banc" by deputies dissatisfied with the policies of their party are rare. However, in certain circumstances, the parties announce a " vote libre" , allowing the deputies to vote as good seems to them.
The Parliament of Canada makes use of committees for a variety of reasons. The committees study the bills in detail, and can carry amendments there. Other committees scan various the agencies and ministries for the government.
The largest committees of the communes are the plenary committees, which, as the name suggests it, include/understand all the deputies of the Room. A plenary committee meets in the room of the Room, but uses slightly modified rules of debate. (For example, a deputy can make more than one speech on a motion in a plenary committee, but not during a normal session of the Room). The place of the President of the communes, the president, vice-president or assistant vice-president of the plenary committees chair. The Room meets in plenary committee in order to discuss bills of appropriations, and sometimes for other types of bill.
The House of Commons has also several Standing Committees, of which each one with the responsibility for a certain part of the government (for example, finances or transport). These committees supervise the suitable governmental departments, and can hold of the public sittings and collect testimonys on the governmental operations. The Standing Committees can also study and modify bills. The committees permantents are composed among sixteen and eighteen members each one, and elect their own presidents.
Certain bills are studied by the legislative committees, each one composed of to fifteen members. The membership of each legislative committee reflects approximately the importance of the parties to the Room. A legislative committee is named in an ad hoc way to study and modify a specific bill. The majority of the bills however are referred to the Standing Committees rather than at the legislative committees.
The Room can also create ad hoc committees in order to study questions other than bills. These committees are called special committees. Each special committee can be composed of with more the fifteen members, like a legislative committee. There are also joint committees, which include/understand at the same time deputies and senators; these committees can hold of the audiences and supervise the government, but do not revise the bills.
Although the bills can be presented in the two rooms, the majority of the bills are born with the House of Commons.
In accordance with the British model, only the Lower House is authorized to present relative bills to the taxes and taxes or the appropriation of public funds. This limit with the capacity of the Senate is not only one question of convention: it is written explicitly in the constitutional Loi of 1867. Otherwise, the capacity of the two rooms of the Parliament is in theory equal; both must ratify a bill to ensure its passage. However, in practice, the House of Commons is the dominant room of the Parliament, the Senate exerting only very seldom its powers in order to be opposed to the will of the democratically elected room. The last bill demolishes with the Senate was in 1991, when a bill voted by the communes imposing of the restrictions on the abortion was rejected by the Upper House by an equality of voice.
The capacity of the Senate is limited even more by a clause in the constitutional Law of 1867 which makes it possible to the general governor (with the assent of the Queen) to name to eight additional senators. This clause was used only once, in 1990, when the Prime Minister Brian Mulroney advised the nomination of eight senators moreover in order to making sure the agreement of the Upper House for the Taxe on the products and services.
Relation with the government
Although she does not elect the Prime Minister, the House of Commons controls the chief of the government indirectly. By convention, the Prime Minister belongs (and must secure confidence) to the House of Commons. Thus, when the post of Prime Minister is vacant, the general governor names the person who can best attract herself the support of the Room - usually the chief of the most important party in the Lower House. (The chief of the second party in importance becomes usually the Chief of the Official opposition.) Moreover, the Prime Minister, by a not-written convention, must be a deputy with the communes, and not a senator. The two only Prime Ministers to have controlled since the Senate were John Abbott (1891-1892) and Mackenzie Bowell (1894-1896).
The Prime Minister can remain in station only as long as it or it retains the confidence of the House of Commons. The Lower House can indicate its not-confidence to the place of the government by rejecting a motion of confidence, or as a voter a motion of not-confidence. The bills which form part of the governmental diary are generally regarded as questions of confidence, as well as the annual budget. When a government loses the confidence of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister is obliged either to resign, or to ask the general governor to dissolve the Parliament, thus starting general elections. The general governor can theoretically refuse to dissolve the Parliament, thus obliging the Prime Minister to resign. The last time that a general governor refused to reach a request of dissolution was in 1926.
More information: Business King-Byng
Except when it is forced to ask dissolution after a defeat on a vote of confidence, the Prime Minister has the right to choose the date of a dissolution, and thus the date of the general elections. The selected moment reflects political considerations, generally the most convenient moment for the party of the Prime Minister. However, no parliamentary mandate can last more than five years; a dissolution is automatic after the expiry of this period. Normally, a Parliament does not last five years a complete mandate; the Prime Minister typically asks for dissolution after approximately three or four years.
Whatever the reason - the expiry of the five years mandate, the choice of the Prime Minister, or a defeat of the government to the House of Commons - a dissolution is followed general elections. If the party of the Prime Minister keeps his majority with the House of Commons, the Prime Minister can remain in station. On the other hand, if its party loses its majority, the Prime Minister can resign, or try to cling to the capacity with the support other parties. A Prime Minister can resign even if it or it is not demolishes with the elections (for example, by preoccupation with a health); in such a case, the post of Prime Minister is reserved for the next chief of his party.
The House of Commons examines the government via the " period of the questions" , one daily period of forty-five minutes during which the deputies are likely to put questions with the Prime Minister and the other members of the cabinet. The questions must be dependant on the official governmental activities of the minister answering, and not on its activities as a chief of the party or that appointed private. The deputies can also question the presidents of the committees on the work of their respective committees. The members of each party are entitled to a number of questions proportional to the importance of the caucus of the party in Room. In addition to the oral questions during the period of the questions, the deputies can put written questions.
In practice, the supervision of the government by the communes is very weak. Since the mode of Uninominal system majority to a turn is used with the elections, the party in power tends to enjoy broad a majority with the communes; there does not need often to make compromises with the opposition. (However, the minority governments are not very rare.) The modern Canadian political parties are organized so narrowly that they leave relatively little place to some independent action on behalf of their deputies. In many cases, a deputy can be expelled of his party to have voted against the instructions of his head of party. Thus, the defeat of majority governments on a motion of confidence is very rare. The liberal minority government of Paul Martin was demolishes on a vote of confidence in 2005, but the preceding time goes back to 1979, when the minority government progressist-conservative of Joe Clark was demolishes after only six months with the capacity.
Ministry for Justice (2004) constitutional Laws of 1867 to 1982
- Site of the Parliament of Canada
- Houses of Commons (2005) '' Précis of procedure ''
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