A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (December 2020 – February 2021)
Burns, Ian. “Possibility of conflict in chief justice’s role as acting governor general limited: legal scholar.” The Lawyer’s Daily 3p., February 10, 2021.
New Saskatchewan Speaker
On November 30, 2020, Randy Weekes was elected Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislature. The Saskatchewan Party MLA defeated five other challengers, including incumbent Speaker Mark Docherty, Greg Ottenbreit, Hugh Nerlien, Nadine Wilson and Lisa Lambert.
COVID-19 protocols meant the election had a very different look and feel than previous elections. Legislative officers sanitized the wooden ballot box after each round of voting and when Speaker Weekes addressed his colleagues after his victory he faced a rearranged Chamber. Only about half of the Assembly’s MLAs were present and they sat in spaced out desks behind plexiglass shields.
As the first woman in the Commonwealth to serve as a Speaker of an assembly, Nancy Hodges made an enormous contribution to the representation of women in politics. However, it was only one chapter in a long political and professional career in which she served as a tireless advocate for and champion of women’s rights.
The appointment of Sarah Annie “Nancy” Hodges as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1950 was a pivotal step for women in politics; Hodges became the first woman in the Commonwealth to hold the Speakership. During her time as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and of the Senate of Canada, Hodges was a trailblazer for the representation of women in politics and a champion of women’s rights.
Wendy Reynolds is Manager of Accessibility, Records and Open Parliament in the Information Services Division at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Inside and Outside of the House of Commons: The Relationship Between Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech and Parliamentary Privilege
Jennifer Dumoulin is a PhD candidate and part-time professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa.
Guillermo Renna is an alumnus (2018/2019) of the Parliamentary Internship Programme. He holds an undergraduate from McGill University in political science. An earlier version of this paper was prepared as part of the Parliament Internship Programme and nominated for the Alfred Hales Prize.
As co-legislators, the Senate and the House of Commons are central to the legislative process in the Canadian Parliament. Since both Houses must pass legislation in identical form before it can become law, the way the Chambers resolve their differences is crucial to the legislative process. This article focuses on how the Senate and the House of Commons use messages to resolve their differences on legislation.
Charlie Feldman is a Member of the Law Society of Ontario.
There’s more than one way to count amendments depending on how you define the term. In this article, the author explores a myriad of possibilities using hypothetical examples. However, he concludes by noting that counting the number of amendments is not necessarily the best metric to assess the extent of change in legislation.
Mark D. Browne (MHA for Placentia West-Bellevue from 2015-2019) was the youngest person ever to be elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in 2015 at the age of 22. He was subsequently appointed to serve as Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since his tenure in public office, he has completed a Master’s Degree in International Relations with Distinction in Paris, and is currently studying law at the University of New Brunswick.
The Honourable Anthony Rota is the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming, Ontario.
As it became apparent in March 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic would significantly disrupt many aspects of Canadian life, the MPs and the House of Commons Administration began to discuss how parliamentary business could continue in these exceptional circumstances. In this article, the author, Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota, explains how the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) met to determine how to resume parliamentary sittings in a way that would respect health and safety protocols while maintaining their parliamentary rights and privileges. He notes that longstanding relationships within the House of Commons Administration were key to facilitating a shift to hybrid virtual sittings in a timely manner. By learning from the experiences of other parliaments and drawing on technical infrastructure that had been built over several years, the House of Commons Administration helped make the seemingly impossible possible. The author concludes by noting that the Members have drawn on the modernity and nimbleness of the Administration to transform the way they fulfil their parliamentary responsibilities during the pandemic while honouring the history and tradition of the House of Commons.