The Black Rod that is currently in use in the Senate of Canada is not the original Black Rod that was used at the time of Confederation. The first Black Rod of the Senate of Canada was lost in the fire that destroyed the original Parliament building in 1916. The new Black Rod was designed by Garrard & Co. Ltd and presented to Canada in 1918 on the occasion of a meeting in London of the Empire Parliamentary Association in the House of Lords Library.
Police Intervention Involving Members of the National Assembly: The Importance of Respecting Parliamentary Privilege
On October 25, 2017, a Member of the National Assembly was arrested by Québec’s anti-corruption unit (UPAC), whose police officers used a ruse to lure the Member away from the parliamentary precincts in order to arrest him. In the days following the arrest, the President of the National Assembly made a statement in the House on the matter and the Member (who had not been charged on any count whatsoever) dressed his colleagues using the “Personal Explanations” procedure. The Official Opposition House Leader then submitted several requests to the President for directives on parliamentarians’ rights and privileges in the context of police work. In this article, the President recounts the facts surrounding this uncommon event and summarizes the main principles and conclusions of the directive he issued in this matter. The article is based on a speech he gave at the 35th Canadian Presiding Officers’ Conference in Québec City in January 2018.
“Legal Aid for Stuff You Can’t Get Legal Aid For”: Constituency Role Orientations among MLAs in Nova Scotia
The role of elected members who serve in Westminster Parliaments is contested. While there is an assumption among some academics that the role of elected members is to hold government accountable,1 elected members do not necessarily share this view or act in ways that conform to this role orientation. This article enters the discussion of parliamentary role orientations by addressing the prominence of constituency service work among the attitudes and behavior of Members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly. The author draws on a series of interviews with former MLAs in Nova Scotia where constituency service work emerged as a major theme in the careers of elected members.
Clerks hold a critically important position in Canada’s parliamentary assemblies. Yet the path they take to the role is generally not well known or understood. In this article, the author outlines a Clerk’s role and responsibilities, how they cultivate their procedural knowledge, and how the selection and appointment process for position has developed.
Over 40 years ago, I walked through the doors of the Ontario Legislative Building for the very first time. I had just returned from backpacking in Europe, was on my way to university and was in need of a job.
A recent trend in Canada’s Parliament has seen an increase in the number and complexity of private Members’ bills (PMBs) that have received Royal Assent. These PMBs frequently go beyond changing the name of a riding or declaring a commemorative day to amend such complex pieces of legislation as the Criminal Code. Given the rise in the number and importance of PMBs, this article poses the question as to whether the rules of Parliament concerning PMBs are fit for the task. Those rules give the government of the day a great deal of control over the progress of its legislation but do not do the same when it comes to a PMB. The relatively few resources allocated to a PMB raises the question as to whether it is taking on more weight than its institutional structure can bear. Some suggestions are offered to ensure that PMBs receive the full and frank discussion they deserve.
A recent trend in Canada’s Parliament has seen an important change in the way public policy is debated and then enacted. This is due to an increase in the number and complexity of private Members’ bills (PMBs) that have received Royal Assent. In the two Parliaments of Brian Mulroney’s tenure as Prime Minister (1984-1993), 32 PMBs received Royal Assent, with 18 of these changing the name of an electoral district.1 By comparison, in the three Parliaments of Stephen Harper’s tenure as Prime Minister (2006-2015), 63 PMBs received Royal Assent, none of which dealt with riding name changes. Not only have the raw numbers of PMBs increased, but they now deal more frequently with amendments to such complex pieces of legislation as the Criminal Code.2 From 1910 to 2005, 13 PMBs were adopted that dealt with criminal justice policy. From 2007 to 2015, this number increased by 20.3 The number that took almost a century to reach was exceeded in less than a decade. Given the rise in the number and importance of PMBs, this article poses the question as to whether the rules of Parliament concerning PMBs are fit for the task.
New Ontario Speaker
On July 11, 2018, Ontario MPPs elected Progressive Conservative MPP Ted Arnott as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Elected on the first ballot, Arnott sought the role alongside Progressive Conservative MPPs Randy Hillier, Jane McKenna and Rick Nicholls.
The MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills was first elected to the Assembly in 1990 and has served continuously since. A former Deputy Speaker, Arnott has been on the Assembly’s Presiding Officers team for 13 of the past 15 years.
A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (May 2018-July 2018)
Berthier, A. and H.M. Bochel. “Changing Times?: The Shifting Gender Balance of Scottish Parliament Committee Witnesses.” PSA Parliaments Group blog, 5p, March 1, 2018.
Associations with royalty, the ‘common man,’ or life and fertility; the demands of television; and personal (or partisan) preference. There are many reasons why Canadian legislatures are decorated with certain shades and hues. In this article, the authors explain why Ontario’s Pink Palace is filled with parliamentary green and how some other Assemblies have used the colour wheel when decorating