When parliamentarians table material in legislative assemblies, you would likely expect to see some letter or legal-size papers. But there have been some interesting and novel items that have made it into Sessional Paper collections over the years. In this article, the author tells the story behind Alberta’s quirkiest sessional papers.
Continue reading “Stranger Things: Peculiar Sessional Papers in Alberta”
There are certain “must see” attractions on Parliament Hill: the Peace Tower, the Parliamentary Library, statues of prime ministers and other famous people in Canadian History… and the cats. For decades the Parliament Hill Cat Colony drew hundreds of curious onlookers and devoted fans of felines every day. Initially brought to the Hill for pest control, the cats eventually enjoyed a life of relative leisure. These well-fed and well-cared kitties spent their time sunning themselves and capturing the hearts of parliamentarians, staff, and visitors and tourists. In this article, we celebrate the Cat Colony (and Sanctuary) of Parliament Hill. Although no longer in existence, memories of these friendly, furry felines will not soon fade away..
During a vigorous debate on the floor of the House of Commons or Senate, parliamentarians might verbally fight like cats and dogs. But for almost a hundred years (or more), actual cats enjoyed a peaceful existence just a short distance away from these chambers.
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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
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Now you see it, now you…won’t!: The growing porticoes, disappearing wings, and secret attics of PEI’s Province House
Prince Edward Island’s Province House was very much a work-in-progress as it was being built – with budgets and popular opinion changing the scope of the project several times and leaving some quirky architectural features. But it has stood the test of time for over 170 years and ongoing renovations mean it will be preserved for many more.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliaments and Parliamentarians Past”
As the number of independent, non-partisan senators has grown, Canadian parliamentary observers have been increasingly mentioning the name Raoul Dandurand in conversations. The author of this article suggests the legacy of Senator Dandurand, who long ago advocated for an independent Senate that was more of a dispassionate reviewing body than a replica of the partisan House of Commons, is particularly relevant to the Senate’s contemporary discussions and debates on its procedures and practices.
After Mackenzie King’s Liberals formed government following the 1921 election, the new Government Leader in the Senate was wary of changing his seat in the chamber. To Raoul Dandurand, the electoral reconfiguration of the House of Commons and the formation of a new government had little bearing on the work of the Senate. “I disliked the idea of crossing the floor,” he said in his first speech as Government Leader. “What did that action purport? Its meaning was there were in this Chamber victors and vanquished.”1 This made little sense for a legislative chamber that he understood to be more of a dispassionate reviewing body than a replication of the partisan politics of the House of Commons.
Continue reading “Senator Raoul Dandurand: Champion of an Independent Senate”
Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to enter Confederation, but it boasts an important Canadian first – Bettie Duff, who served as Clerk of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1977-1991 was the first woman to hold this position in the country. In this special edition of the Canadian Parliamentary Review celebrating 100 years of Canadian women parliamentarians, it is fitting that we are also able to honour one of the trailblazing women working within parliamentary institutions that support parliamentarians’ ability to fulfill democratic responsibilities.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: Trailblazer: Canada’s First Female Clerk”
Look up! Look way up in Ontario’s legislative chamber and you’ll be able to marvel at some magnificent chandeliers dating back to the 1890s. Tracing changes from gasoline to electricity, to more modern considerations such as broadcast requirements and energy efficient LED bulbs, the author shines a light on this interesting aspect of parliamentary history.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: Shining a Light on Ontario’s Parliamentarians – Chandeliers in the Legislative Chamber”
To honour Canada’s development and prevent rewriting of history, by tradition stone carvings or sculptures are never removed from the country’s Parliament buildings once placed there. There is a single known exception – a Canadian coat of arms was removed to make room for representation of the country’s newest territory.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: The Unusual Case of the Nunavut Carving Vol 40 No 1”
A strange piece of material from an historic trip through central and southern Alberta by members of the province’s first legislature, staff and others has found its way back to the legislature more than 100 years after it was produced – antique tea stains still intact.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: Railway Travel, Tea Stains and Legislative History Vol 39 No 4”
The focal point of Ontario Legislative Chamber, the Speaker’s Chair is a symbol of authority that also has a very practical function for its occupants.
Continue reading “Sketches of Parliament and Parliamentarians Past: Ontario’s Speaker’s Chair Vol 39 No 3”