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Research Librarians at the Library of Parliament

Article 6 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

Research Librarians at the Library of Parliament

When you have questions, the Library of Parliament’s research librarians can help you find answers. As a part of the Library’s Parliamentary Information and Research Service (PIRS), some of these research librarians are embedded in its multidisciplinary sections while others are based in the Library’s five branches. In this article, the authors trace the emergence of research librarians back to the early days of widespread Internet use, explain how their role has evolved, and offer examples of how they collaborate with the library’s analysts to provide information products and training. They conclude by noting this organizational structure provides librarians with opportunities to develop expertise in a given subject area and provides analysts with the support they need to serve individual parliamentarians and parliamentary committees and associations.

Michael Dewing and Meghan Laidlaw
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Parliamentary Libraries, Trusted Allies in the Fight Against Fake News

Article 4 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

Parliamentary Libraries, Trusted Allies in the Fight Against Fake News

Parliamentary libraries are stewards of objectivity and truth for their clients; they were combatting fake news long before that term hit the headlines. In this article, the author explores the concept of fake news, outlines how parliamentary libraries across the country have undertaken initiatives designed to educate their clients and the public about disinformation, and lists some of the procedures researchers in these libraries have adopted to ensure they provide objective and non-partisan information for their communities.

Carolyne Ménard
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Legislative and Parliamentary Libraries in Canada: Two Hundred Years of Service, Support and Information

Article 3 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

Legislative and Parliamentary Libraries in Canada: Two Hundred Years of Service, Support and Information

Legislative and parliamentary libraries have come a long way from their humble (and sometimes informal) beginnings. In this article, the authors trace their history, outline their roles and functions, discuss some challenges they face, and look to future development. While each legislative and parliamentary library is unique, reflecting local needs and histories, they also share common responsibilities to parliamentarians and legislative staff as they do the work of parliamentary democracy. The authors note how the founding of the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada/L’Association des bibliothécaires parlementaires du Canada (APLIC/ABPAC) has permitted the country’s parliamentary libraries to work together to identify and share best practices. They conclude by suggesting that these libraries will continue to monitor trends, evolve and adapt to new technology as they look to the future.

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A Focus on Parliamentary Libraries

Article 2 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

A Focus on Parliamentary Libraries

In an age when information is at your finger tips, when answers to a query are a quick Google search away, and when the number of print publications and the need for physical copies of books is in decline, should we be asking the question: whither the library?

In this theme issue on parliamentary libraries, the Canadian Parliamentary Review provides some answers, and finds that while their role has shifted over the years, parliamentary libraries remain an important resource for the people and institutions they serve.

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Greetings Grandpa and Grandpa

Article 1 / 15 , Vol 43 No 1 (Spring)

Greetings Grandpa and Grandpa

Although I never knew him, every day when I walk through the main hallway of Province House in Nova Scotia, I can greet my great-great-grandfather James McDonald. He served as the federal Minister of Justice and features prominently in a composite photograph commemorating the 1878 installation of the Marquis of Lorne as Governor General of Canada. In another room, he’s featured with another of my great-great-grandfathers, Samuel Leonard Shannon.

James McDonald was born in Bridgeville, Pictou County, Nova Scotia in 1828 to a poor Scottish farming family. In beginning his legal career, James articled under the very conservative Martin Isaac Wilkins. He must have held his mentor in high regard; not only did he change his political stripes, but he also married Wilkins’ stepdaughter. Moreover, he disregarded highland Scot tradition and named his first-born son after his father-in-law instead of his father. James successfully stood for election in 1863 as a Liberal Conservative and was appointed the Railway Commissioner in Charles Tupper’s government. James fought for the government to build a railway from Truro to Pictou; he did win that fight, but only after he became the financial secretary in 1864 and appropriated the necessary funds.

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Yukon’s Cable-Edelman Family

Article 1 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Winter)

Yukon’s Cable-Edelman Family

There are many examples of family members sitting in parliaments at the same time. However, the first father-daughter team to sit together in a legislative assembly did not happen in Canada until 1996. That is when Sue Edelman was elected to the 29th Yukon Legislative Assembly, joining her re-elected father, Ivan John “Jack” Cable.

Mr. Cable moved to the North in 1970 after obtaining degrees in Chemical Engineering, a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Laws in Ontario. He practiced law in Whitehorse for 21 years, and went on to serve as President of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, President of the Yukon Energy Corporation and Director of the Northern Canada Power Commission. He is also a founding member of the Recycle Organics Together Society and the Boreal Alternate Energy Centre. Mr. Cable’s entry into electoral politics came in 1992, when he successfully won the riding of Riverdale in East Whitehorse to take his seat in the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

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Women Achieve Parity in NWT Legislative Assembly Without Guaranteed Seats

Article 2 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Winter)

Women Achieve Parity in NWT Legislative Assembly Without Guaranteed Seats

In just one general election the Northwest Territories went from having the least representation by women in its Assembly to the most in the country. Moreover, women MLAs were elected to fill four of six cabinet positions and to be the premier. In this article, the author suggests these dramatic changes are a response, in part, to a significant discussion and debate members of the previous legislative assembly undertook to improve women’s participation and representation in the territory. She reviews the proposal for temporary special measures as a way to build representation, outlines other recommendations MLAs made to encourage more women to participate in territorial politics, and explains why this environment ultimately led many more women to put their name son the ballot in 2019.

Julie Green, MLA Continue reading “Women Achieve Parity in NWT Legislative Assembly Without Guaranteed Seats”

The “Right To Bare Arms” Drama: Dress Guidelines in British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly

Article 3 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Hiver)

The “Right To Bare Arms” Drama: Dress Guidelines in British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly

Following a Legislative Press Gallery protest – about whether clothing that revealed bare arms was appropriate work attire in British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly – BC’s Speaker Darryl Plecas asked the Acting Clerk KateRyan-Lloyd to explore and update the institution’s largely unwritten dress guidelines. In this article, the author recounts the “Right To Bare Arms” drama, outlines the steps the Acting Clerk took to create new guidelines, and explains what kind of input her colleagues offered during the process. She concludes that revisiting the Assembly’s dress code and guidelines – especially in light of an increasingly diverse workplace and contemporary ideas about gender identity – was a valuable endeavour and encourages other parliamentarians to consider similar issues if they engage in a similar process.

Janet Routledge, MLA Continue reading “The “Right To Bare Arms” Drama: Dress Guidelines in British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly”

Take Off Those Olympic Mittens, but the Goldfish Bowl is in Order: Props, Exhibits and Displays in Parliaments

Article 4 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Winter)

Take Off Those Olympic mittens, but the goldfish Bowl is in Order: Props, Exhibits and Displays in Parliaments

Maintaining order is an important part of the Speaker’s responsibility in parliament. In order to protect speech within a chamber, Speakers have long referred to written and unwritten rules and precedents which have limited non-verbal expression to communicate a message – namely props, decorations, displays, exhibits, and certain clothing. However, Speakers in different jurisdictions have opted to make some allowances provided these items do not fundamentally alter the desired decorum. In this article, the author traces the history of such rulings, beginning in Westminster, before surveying Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial parliaments.He concludes by highlighting practices in Australia and New Zealand. The author would like to thank theAssociation of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada for conducting a survey of Canadian jurisdictions for this paper. He is also grateful for the research assistance provided by the Ontario Legislative Library.

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Ethnoracial Identities and Political Representation in Ontario and British Columbia

Article 5 / 13 , Vol 42 No. 4 (Winter)

Ethnoracial Identities and Political Representation in Ontario and British Columbia

Political representation of minority groups is an important aspect of modern societies. Are our parliaments generally reflective of the people they serve? In this article, the authors use the results of two recent Canadian provincial elections (Ontario, 2018 and British Columbia, 2017) to explore whether majority and minority groups are proportionally represented in legislatures and to probe some explanations as to why these groups may be over-represented or under-represented. They address notions of residential concentration and the assumption ofethnic affinity to partially explain where ethnoracial minority candidates are likely to be elected. In contrast topast work which has found a general under-representation of minority groups, this analysis finds some nuance.Some racialized groups, notably Chinese Canadians, appear to be proportionally more under-represented than others. The authors explore a range of arguments to explain this finding. In conclusion, the authors highlight two key findings from this research. First, they suggest it is difficult to make the case that being part of a racialized group has a negative impact on political representation at the provincial level – at least currently in two provinces with large racialized populations – without introducing nuance that subdivides ethnoracial minority groups. The second finding is conceptual: ethnic affinity cannot solely predict voting behaviour. The authors contend that the concept must be broadened to include centripetal ethnic affinity and transversal ethnic affinity.

Pascasie Minani Passy and Abdoulaye Gueye Continue reading “Ethnoracial Identities and Political Representation in Ontario and British Columbia”