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.
Continue reading “Purrliament Hill: The Capital Cat Colony”
A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (July 2018-November 2018)
Beamish, David. “Court injunctions and parliamentary privilege: is there a case for new restrictions?” Hansard Society blog November 2, 2018: 2p.
Continue reading “New and Notable Titles”
The Canadian Kingdom: 150 Years of Constitutional Monarchy, D. Michael Jackson, ed., Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2018, 248 pp
As a monarchist, The Canadian Kingdom had already been on my radar before I was asked to write this review. When provided this opportunity, I knew that I would have to consciously acknowledge this bias in order to provide an effective review. Coincidentally, the day after I was asked to write the review, I received an invitation to attend a book launch hosted by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell. I suppose my monarchical tendencies are more broadly known than I realized.
Continue reading “Parliamentary Bookshelf: Reviews”
New Speaker of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly
On October 23, during the first session of the 59th legislative assembly of New Brunswick, Restigouche-Chaleur MLA Daniel Guitard was elected Speaker. He will preside over the province’s first minority government in a century.
Continue reading “CPA Activities: The Canadian Scene”
In the year leading up to an anticipated federal general election in 2019, the Canadian Study of Parliament Group gathered together parliamentary officials, interested observers and parliamentarians to examine what has transpired in the current parliament and what may lie ahead. This well-attended conference included four panels which explored “the changes and challenges facing each Chamber in light of recent procedural and structural innovations.” In this article, the author provides summaries of each of these panels and some of the discussion that followed the presentations.
The Changing Bicameral Relationship
Continue reading “Spotlight on 42: Changes, Challenges and Concussions”
Increasingly universities are embracing the use of experiential education as a way to improve employability skills, to better prepare participants for their transition to work and to give them “real world” experience. Many programs adopt such approaches and work to embed new pedagogy and learning into their curriculum. While most programs are moving quickly to experiential education models, we are only starting to consider how to measure the success of these efforts; more work needs to be done to evaluate such programs. In this article, the author reflects on 25 years of offering internships, practicums and experiential education. He uses the Ontario Legislature Internship Program (OLIP) as an example of a best practice and to inspire additional thinking about the improvement and sustainability of such programs.
Continue reading “Experiential Education at its Best: The Case of the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme”
For several years a group of legislatures have been working together to create guidance that will help similar organisations in considering business continuity planning necessary to maintain operations in the event of unexpected events or a crisis. In this article, the author outlines the progress of the work and explains how interested parties can get hold of the resulting guide which will be available from January 2019.
In May 2014, the Clerk of the Scottish Parliament, Sir Paul Grice, met with his counterparts in Ottawa where the topic of business continuity cropped up. It became clear during the discussion that there would be mutual benefit if the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament began sharing information on strategic plans, resources and approaches to business continuity.
Continue reading “Keep Calm, And Carry On: Business Continuity Planning In Parliaments”
Ten years after commencing the initial round of exit interviews with departing Members of Parliament, the Samara Centre for Democracy has recently published three new reports based on a second round of interviews. These publications, and the best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons, have received tremendous attention in the media and amongst parliamentary observers who have been interested in the candid observations of former parliamentarians. In this article, the authors outline the organization’s evolving interview process and overall methodological approach and discuss tentative plans to make the individual long form interviews available to future researchers.
Ten years ago, as a brand new nonpartisan charity, the Samara Centre for Democracy launched a pan-Canadian project founded on the belief that a chasm was opening between political leaders and citizens, but that leaders themselves might hold some clues for how to begin to close it. So began the Member of Parliament exit interviews project.
Continue reading “Ten Years of Exit Interviews With Former MPs”
Canada has observed a ‘winner take all’ approach to making Senate appointments. Historically, the prime minister has made all appointments to the Upper Chamber. Even now, the current prime minister is making all the appointments, albeit from names submitted by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate appointments. In this article, the author suggests that a procedure for sharing appointments to ensure all leaders of parties are fairly represented. If the current process for selecting independent senators is maintained by future governments, all party leaders should still take turns in choosing senators from the nominees selected by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments.
The real problem with Senate appointments has been that the different party leaders since Confederation have not shared the appointments when they have become prime minister.1 Even now, the current prime minister is making all the appointments, albeit from names submitted by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate appointments. It’s the same problem whether independent senators are named or party-based ones. Sharing the appointments among the party leaders is the only solution. Interestingly enough, appointments to the House of Lords have been shared by the prime ministers of the United Kingdom.2
Continue reading “The Real Problem With Senate Appointments”