CPA Activities

CPA Activities
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 HillierJane 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.

Seminar: Members and Their Constituency

Seminar: Members and Their Constituency

Every Member of Parliament represents a constituency. Yet the amount of attention paid to the Member-constituency relationship by scholars is quite small compared to its importance in our democratic system. Members must spend time building connections to their constituencies, understanding concerns, and mediating these tensions within a party caucus if party policy conflicts with what an MP is hearing locally. Additional responsibilities such as being in cabinet or having a constituency far from Ottawa where travel is difficult can create other challenges. The Canadian Study of Parliament Group organized a seminar on March 16, 2018 which brought parliamentarians, academics, parliamentary staff and journalists together to explore ideas of constituency representation and engagement. This article summarizes the seminar’s sessions and provides some insight into how these various groups of stakeholders think about the nature of constituencies.

Connecting with Constituents: Observations on how MPs engage at home

CSPG Seminar: Regulating Lobbying in Canada

CSPG Seminar: Regulating Lobbying in Canada

Lobbying is a legitimate activity within a democratic society. But lobbyists, like politicians, are quite aware that their profession is not always held in high regard by the general population. As one consultant lobbyist joked during her presentation at a recent seminar of the Canadian Study of Parliament Group, “I am the root of all evil.” A recent Canadian Study of Parliament Group seminar explored attitudes toward lobbying in Canada, explained how lobbying legislation and regulations have influenced its development since the 1980s, and asked whether the current system is effective. A final panel of lobbyists discussed how their job is often misunderstood and why their much-maligned reputation is based on outdated notions of influence-peddling and the unethical actions of a few practitioners.

Regulation of Lobbying in Canada

Canadian Study of Parliament Group: The New Senate

Canadian Study of Parliament Group: The New Senate

On September 15, 2017, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group convened a one-day conference where academics, journalists, parliamentary staff and parliamentarians were asked to share their thoughts on some of the changes that have occurred in the Senate over the past few years. Diverse perspectives prompted some animated discussions among presenters and audience members, but there was general agreement that we are experiencing a unique moment in parliamentary history.

Evolution of the Senate – Historical Perspective

Letter from the Editor: A Focus on Women Parliamentarians

Letter from the Editor: A Focus on Women Parliamentarians

One hundred years ago, on June 7, 1917, voters in Alberta elected Louise McKinney to the provincial legislature. McKinney, who was sworn in the following year, was not only recognized as the first woman elected to a Canadian legislature, but also the first woman elected as a parliamentarian anywhere in the British Empire.

To mark this anniversary, the Canadian Parliamentary Review is pleased to present a theme issue focusing on the women who have followed (and hope to follow) in her footsteps.

The Relationships Between Parliament and the Agents of Parliament

The Relationships Between Parliament and the Agents of Parliament

Working relationships can be quite challenging at the best of times. But when there is debate or disagreement over the nature of work roles and who answers to whom, this relationship has the potential to be especially tense. A recent seminar (March 31, 2017) organized by the Canadian Study of Parliament Group explored this dynamic by asking stakeholders and observers to come together to discuss the roles played by agents of parliament and the parliamentarians they may variously serve, guide, guard, investigate and answer to.

Recent Seminars on Parliamentary Practise and Procedure

Recent Seminars on Parliamentary Practise and Procedure

Running out the Clock: The Strategic Use of Parliamentary Time

From the moment that a new parliament is elected and a new government is formed, the clock is ticking until the next election. While governments try to move their agenda forward and pass their legislation as quickly as possible, opposition parties often use parliamentary tools to delay the process to scrutinize, oppose, and/or secure changes to government initiatives. On January 20, 2017, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group (CSPG) held a seminar to explore the strategic use of parliamentary time by the government and the opposition and how it has evolved in recent decades, as well as proposals for reform.

Letter from the Editor: Focus on Electoral Reform

Letter from the Editor: Focus on Electoral Reform

On June 7, 2016, the House of Commons created a Special Committee on Electoral Reform “to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting.” This committee’s work contributes to discussions about electoral reform that have been occurring with some frequency across the country since the turn of the millennium. It has resulted in citizen committees and assemblies, commissions, and plebiscites or referenda in provinces such as New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

Drawing inspiration from a Canadian Study of Parliament Group conference on electoral reform held in spring 2016, in this theme issue we explore some aspects of this ongoing discussion in greater detail.

Canadian Study of Parliament Group Seminar

Canadian Study of Parliament Group Seminar

From backbenchers, to cabinet ministers to first ministers, parliamentarians rely on the assistance of political staff to fulfill their role’s many responsibilities. Yet staffers’ roles in parliamentary democracy are not well understood. Noting the growing number of ministerial staffers and a similar growth in the perception of their influence over government decision-making, on March 18, 2016, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group convened a seminar featuring two panels of current and former political staff, public servants and academics to examine the role of staffers and their interactions with the public service. Panelists were also asked if they believed reforms were required to address the unique position that political staff hold in relation to parliamentary government.

First Panel

A Letter From the Editor Vol 39 No 1

A Letter From the Editor

In May 2015, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group (CSPG) held a one day conference exploring parliamentary reform of procedure and practice. Noting that reform “enables an ancient institution to adapt to a changing environment, including relatively new democratic values and expectations,” the conference surveyed aspects of Canada’s parliamentary evolution and “where it needs to go in order to maximize its contribution to Canadian political life.”

The event brought together scholars, parliamentary officials and other interested observers to hear four excellent panel presentations and to discuss and debate how Canada’s Parliament might continue to adapt to meet the needs of Canadians.