House of Commons of Canada

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House of Commons of Canada_table_infobox_0

House of Commons of Canada

Chambre des communes du CanadaHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_0_0

TypeHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_1_0
TypeHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_2_0 Lower house of the Parliament of CanadaHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_0_2_1
LeadershipHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_3_0
SpeakerHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_4_0 Anthony Rota, Liberal

since December 5, 2019House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_4_1

Prime MinisterHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_5_0 Justin Trudeau, Liberal

since November 4, 2015House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_5_1

Leader of the Official OppositionHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_6_0 Erin O'Toole, Conservative

since August 24, 2020House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_6_1

Government House LeaderHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_7_0 Pablo Rodríguez, Liberal

since November 20, 2019House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_7_1

Opposition House LeaderHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_8_0 Gérard Deltell, Conservative

since September 2, 2020House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_8_1

StructureHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_9_0
SeatsHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_10_0 338House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_10_1
Political groupsHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_11_0 Her Majesty's Government

Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition

Parties with official status

Parties without official statusHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_0_11_1

SalaryHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_12_0 CA$182,600.00 (sessional indemnity effective April 1, 2020)House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_12_1
ElectionsHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_13_0
Voting systemHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_14_0 First-past-the-postHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_0_14_1
Last electionHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_15_0 October 21, 2019House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_15_1
Next electionHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_16_0 On or before October 16, 2023House of Commons of Canada_cell_0_16_1
Meeting placeHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_17_0
WebsiteHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_0_18_0

The House of Commons of Canada (French: Chambre des communes du Canada) is the lower chamber of the bicameral Parliament of Canada, which also comprises the sovereign (represented by the governor general) and the Senate of Canada. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_0

The House of Commons currently meets in a temporary Commons chamber in the West Block of the parliament buildings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while the Centre Block, which houses the traditional Commons chamber, undergoes a ten-year renovation. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_1

The House of Commons is a democratically elected body whose members are known as members of Parliament (MPs). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_2

There have been 338 MPs since the most recent electoral district redistribution for the 2015 federal election, which saw the addition of 30 seats. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_3

Members are elected by simple plurality ("first-past-the-post" system) in each of the country's electoral districts, which are colloquially known as ridings. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_4

MPs may hold office until Parliament is dissolved and serve for constitutionally limited terms of up to five years after an election. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_5

Historically however, terms have ended before their expiry and the sitting government has typically dissolved parliament within four years of an election according to a long-standing convention. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_6

In any case, an Act of Parliament now limits each term to four years. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_7

Seats in the House of Commons are distributed roughly in proportion to the population of each province and territory. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_8

However, some ridings are more populous than others, and the Canadian constitution contains provisions regarding provincial representation. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_9

As a result, there is some interprovincial and regional malapportionment relative to the population. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_10

The House of Commons was established in 1867, when the British North America Act 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867) created the Dominion of Canada and was modelled on the British House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_11

The lower of the two houses making up the parliament, the House of Commons in practice holds far more power than the upper house, the Senate. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_12

Although the approval of both Houses is necessary for legislation to become law, the Senate very rarely rejects bills passed by the Commons (though the Senate does occasionally amend bills). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_13

Moreover, the Cabinet is responsible solely to the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_14

The prime minister stays in office only so long as they retain the support, or "confidence", of the lower house. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_15

Name House of Commons of Canada_section_0

See also: House of Commons House of Commons of Canada_sentence_16

The term derives from the Anglo-Norman word communes, referring to the geographic and collective "communities" of their parliamentary representatives and not the third estate, the commonality. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_17

This distinction is made clear in the official French name of the body, Chambre des communes. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_18

Canada and the United Kingdom remain the only countries to use the name "House of Commons" for a lower house of parliament. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_19

History House of Commons of Canada_section_1

The House of Commons came into existence in 1867, when the British Parliament passed the British North America Act 1867, uniting the Province of Canada (which was divided into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into a single federation called the Dominion of Canada. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_20

The new Parliament of Canada consisted of the monarch (represented by the governor general, who also represented the Colonial Office), the Senate and the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_21

The Parliament of Canada was based on the Westminster model (that is, the model of the Parliament of the United Kingdom). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_22

Unlike the UK Parliament, the powers of the Parliament of Canada were limited in that other powers were assigned exclusively to the provincial legislatures. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_23

The Parliament of Canada also remained subordinate to the British Parliament, the supreme legislative authority for the entire British Empire. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_24

Greater autonomy was granted by the Statute of Westminster 1931, after which new acts of the British Parliament did not apply to Canada, with some exceptions. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_25

These exceptions were removed by the Canada Act 1982. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_26

From 1867, the Commons met in the chamber previously used by the Legislative Assembly of Canada until the building was destroyed by fire in 1916. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_27

It relocated to the amphitheatre of the Victoria Memorial Museum—what is today the Canadian Museum of Nature, where it met until 1922. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_28

Until the end of 2018, the Commons sat in the Centre Block chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_29

Starting with the final sitting before the 2019 federal election, the Commons sits in a temporary chamber in the West Block until at least 2028, while renovations are undertaken in the Centre Block of Parliament. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_30

Members and electoral districts House of Commons of Canada_section_2

Main article: Electoral district (Canada) House of Commons of Canada_sentence_31

The House of Commons comprises 338 members, each of whom represents a single electoral district (also called a riding). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_32

The constitution specifies a basic minimum of 295 electoral districts, but additional seats are allocated according to various clauses. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_33

Seats are distributed among the provinces in proportion to population, as determined by each decennial census, subject to the following exceptions made by the constitution. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_34

Firstly, the "senatorial clause" guarantees that each province will have at least as many MPs as senators. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_35

Secondly, the "grandfather clause" guarantees each province has at least as many Members of Parliament now as it had in 1985. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_36

As a result of these clauses, smaller provinces and territories that have experienced a relative decline in population have become over-represented in the House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_37

Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta are under-represented in proportion to their populations, while Quebec's representation is close to the national average. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_38

The other six provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) are over-represented. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_39

Boundary commissions, appointed by the federal government for each province, have the task of drawing the boundaries of the electoral districts in each province. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_40

Territorial representation is independent of the population; each territory is entitled to only one seat. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_41

The electoral quotient was defined by legislation as 111,166 for the redistribution of seats after the 2011 census and is adjusted following each decennial census by multiplying it by the average of the percentage of population change of each province since the previous decennial census. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_42

The population of the province is then divided by the electoral quotient to equal the base provincial-seat allocation. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_43

The "special clauses" are then applied to increase the number of seats for certain provinces, bringing the total number of seats (with the three seats for the territories) to 338. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_44

The last redistribution of seats occurred subsequent to the 2011 census. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_45

The Fair Representation Act (Bill C-20) was passed and given royal assent on December 16, 2011, and effectively allocated fifteen additional seats to Ontario, six new seats each to Alberta and British Columbia, and three more to Quebec. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_46

The following tables summarize representation in the House of Commons by province and territory: House of Commons of Canada_sentence_47

House of Commons of Canada_table_general_1

ProvinceHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_1_0_0 Pre-census

seats (in accordance with the Constitution Act)House of Commons of Canada_header_cell_1_0_1


(2016 Census)House of Commons of Canada_header_cell_1_0_2


Seats allocatedHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_1_0_3

Electoral Quotient

(Average population per electoral district)House of Commons of Canada_header_cell_1_0_4

OntarioHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_1_0 106House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_1_1 13,448,494House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_1_2 121House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_1_3 111,144House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_1_4
QuebecHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_2_0 75House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_2_1 8,164,361House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_2_2 78House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_2_3 104,671House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_2_4
British ColumbiaHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_3_0 36House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_3_1 4,648,055House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_3_2 42House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_3_3 110,667House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_3_4
AlbertaHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_4_0 28House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_4_1 4,067,175House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_4_2 34House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_4_3 119,622House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_4_4
ManitobaHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_5_0 14House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_5_1 1,278,365House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_5_2 14House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_5_3 91,311House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_5_4
SaskatchewanHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_6_0 14House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_6_1 1,098,352House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_6_2 14House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_6_3 78,453House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_6_4
Nova ScotiaHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_7_0 11House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_7_1 923,598House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_7_2 11House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_7_3 83,963House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_7_4
New BrunswickHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_8_0 10House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_8_1 747,101House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_8_2 10House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_8_3 74,710House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_8_4
Newfoundland and LabradorHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_9_0 7House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_9_1 519,716House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_9_2 7House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_9_3 74,245House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_9_4
Prince Edward IslandHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_10_0 4House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_10_1 142,907House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_10_2 4House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_10_3 35,726House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_10_4
Total for provincesHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_11_0 305House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_11_1 35,038,124House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_11_2 335House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_11_3 104,591House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_11_4
Northwest TerritoriesHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_12_0 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_12_1 41,786House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_12_2 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_12_3 41,786House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_12_4
YukonHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_13_0 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_13_1 35,874House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_13_2 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_13_3 35,874House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_13_4
NunavutHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_14_0 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_14_1 35,944House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_14_2 1House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_14_3 35,944House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_14_4
Total for territoriesHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_15_0 3House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_15_1 113,604House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_15_2 3House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_15_3 37,868House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_15_4
National totalHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_1_16_0 308House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_16_1 35,151,728House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_16_2 338House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_16_3 103,999House of Commons of Canada_cell_1_16_4

Elections House of Commons of Canada_section_3

General elections occur whenever parliament is dissolved by the governor general on the monarch's behalf. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_48

The timing of the dissolution has historically been chosen by the prime minister. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_49

The Constitution Act, 1867, provides that a parliament last no longer than five years. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_50

Canadian election law requires that elections must be held on the third Monday in October in the fourth year after the last election, subject to the discretion of the Crown. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_51

Campaigns must be at least 36 days long. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_52

Candidates are usually nominated by political parties. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_53

A candidate can run independently, although it is rare for such a candidate to win. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_54

Most successful independent candidates have been incumbents who were expelled from their political parties (for example, John Nunziata in 1997, André Arthur in 2006 or Jody Wilson-Raybould in 2019) or who failed to win their parties' nomination (for example, Chuck Cadman in 2004). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_55

Most Canadian candidates are chosen in meetings called by their party's local association. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_56

In practice, the candidate who signs up the most local party members generally wins the nomination. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_57

To run for a seat in the house, candidates must file nomination papers bearing the signatures of at least 50 or 100 constituents (depending on the size of the electoral district). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_58

Each electoral district returns one member using the first-past-the-post electoral system, under which the candidate with a plurality of votes wins. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_59

To vote, one must be a citizen of Canada and at least eighteen years of age. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_60

Declining the ballot, which is possible in several provinces, is not an option under current federal regulations. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_61

Once elected, a member of Parliament normally continues to serve until the next dissolution of parliament. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_62

If a member dies, resigns, or ceases to be qualified, his or her seat falls vacant. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_63

It is also possible for the House of Commons to expel a member, but this power is only exercised when the member has engaged in serious misconduct or criminal activity. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_64

Formerly, MPs appointed to the cabinet were expected to resign their seats, though this practice ceased in 1931. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_65

In each case, a vacancy may be filled by a by-election in the appropriate electoral district. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_66

The first-past-the-post system is used in by-elections, as in general elections. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_67

Perquisites House of Commons of Canada_section_4

The term member of Parliament is usually used only to refer to members of the House of Commons, even though the Senate is also a part of Parliament. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_68

Members of the House of Commons may use the post-nominal letters "MP". House of Commons of Canada_sentence_69

The annual salary of each member of Parliament, as of April 2020, is $182,600; members may receive additional salaries in right of other offices they hold (for instance, the Speakership). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_70

MPs rank immediately below senators in the order of precedence. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_71

Qualifications House of Commons of Canada_section_5

Under the Constitution Act, 1867, Parliament is empowered to determine the qualifications of members of the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_72

The present qualifications are outlined in the Canada Elections Act, which was passed in 2000. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_73

Under the Act, an individual must be an eligible voter, as of the day on which he or she is nominated, to stand as a candidate. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_74

Thus, minors and individuals who are not citizens of Canada are not allowed to become candidates. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_75

The Canada Elections Act also bars prisoners from standing for election (although they may vote). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_76

Moreover, individuals found guilty of election-related crimes are prohibited from becoming members for five years (in some cases, seven years) after conviction. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_77

The Act also prohibits certain officials from standing for the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_78

These officers include members of provincial and territorial legislatures (although this was not always the case), sheriffs, crown attorneys, most judges, and election officers. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_79

The chief electoral officer and assistant chief electoral officer (the heads of Elections Canada, the federal agency responsible for conducting elections) are prohibited not only from standing as candidates but also from voting. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_80

Finally, under the Constitution Act, 1867, a member of the Senate may not also become a member of the House of Commons and MPs must give up their seats when appointed to the Senate or the bench. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_81

Officers and symbols House of Commons of Canada_section_6

The House of Commons elects a presiding officer, known as the speaker, at the beginning of each new parliamentary term, and also whenever a vacancy arises. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_82

Formerly, the prime minister determined who would serve as speaker. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_83

Although the House voted on the matter, the voting constituted a mere formality. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_84

Since 1986, however, the House has elected speakers by secret ballot. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_85

The speaker is assisted by a deputy speaker, who also holds the title of chair of Committees of the Whole. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_86

Two other deputies—the deputy chair of Committees of the Whole and the assistant deputy chair of Committees of the Whole—also preside. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_87

The duties of presiding over the House are divided between the four officers aforementioned; however, the speaker usually presides over Question Period and over the most important debates. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_88

The speaker controls debates by calling on members to speak. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_89

If a member believes that a rule (or standing order) has been breached, they may raise a "point of order", on which the speaker makes a ruling that is not subject to any debate or appeal. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_90

The speaker may also discipline members who fail to observe the rules of the House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_91

When presiding, the speaker must remain impartial. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_92

The speaker also oversees the administration of the House and is chair of the Board of Internal Economy, the governing body for the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_93

The current speaker of the House of Commons is Anthony Rota. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_94

The member of the Government responsible for steering legislation through the House is leader of the Government in the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_95

The government house leader (as he or she is more commonly known) is a member of Parliament selected by the prime minister and holds cabinet rank. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_96

The leader manages the schedule of the House of Commons and attempts to secure the Opposition's support for the Government's legislative agenda. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_97

Officers of the House who are not members include the clerk of the House of Commons, the deputy clerk, the law clerk and parliamentary counsel, and several other clerks. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_98

These officers advise the speaker and members on the rules and procedure of the House in addition to exercising senior management functions within the House administration. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_99

Another important officer is the sergeant-at-arms, whose duties include the maintenance of order and security on the House's premises and inside the buildings of the parliamentary precinct. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_100

(The Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol Parliament Hill but are not allowed into the buildings unless asked by the speaker). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_101

The sergeant-at-arms also carries the ceremonial mace, a symbol of the authority of the Crown and the House of Commons, into the House each sitting. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_102

The House is also staffed by parliamentary pages, who carry messages to the members in the chamber and otherwise provide assistance to the House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_103

The Commons' mace has the shape of a medieval mace which was used as a weapon, but in brass and ornate in detail and symbolism. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_104

At its bulbous head is a replica of the Imperial State Crown; the choice of this crown for the Commons' mace differentiates it from the Senate's mace, which has St. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_105 Edward's Crown at its apex. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_106

The Commons mace is placed upon the table in front of the speaker for the duration of the sitting with the crown pointing towards the prime minister and the other cabinet ministers, who advise the monarch and governor general and are accountable to this chamber (in the Senate chamber, the mace points towards the throne, where the queen has the right to sit herself). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_107

Carved above the speaker's chair is the royal arms of the United Kingdom. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_108

This chair was a gift from the United Kingdom Branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association in 1921, to replace the chair that was destroyed by the fire of 1916, and was a replica of the chair in the British House of Commons at the time. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_109

These arms at its apex were considered the royal arms for general purposes throughout the British Empire at the time. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_110

Since 1931, however, Canada has been an independent country and the Canadian coat of arms are now understood to be the royal arms of the monarch. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_111

Escutcheons of the same original royal arms can be found on each side of the speaker's chair held by a lion and a unicorn. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_112

In response to a campaign by Bruce Hicks for the Canadianization of symbols of royal authority and to advance the identity of parliamentary institutions, a proposal that was supported by speakers of the House of Commons John Fraser and Gilbert Parent, a Commons committee was eventually struck following a motion by MP Derek Lee, before which Hicks and Robert Watt, the first chief herald of Canada, was called as the only two expert witnesses, though Senator Serge Joyal joined the committee on behalf of the Senate. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_113

Commons' speaker Peter Milliken then asked the governor general to authorize such a symbol. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_114

In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons and the House of Lords use the royal badge of the portcullis, in green and red respectively, to represent those institutions and to distinguish them from the government, the courts and the monarch. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_115

The Canadian Heraldic Authority on April 15, 2008, granted the House of Commons, as an institution, a badge consisting of the chamber's mace (as described above) behind the escutcheon of the shield of the royal arms of Canada (representing the monarch, in whose name the House of Commons deliberates). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_116

Procedure House of Commons of Canada_section_7

Like the Senate, the House of Commons meets on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_117

The Commons Chamber is modestly decorated in green, in contrast with the more lavishly furnished red Senate Chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_118

The arrangement is similar to the design of the Chamber of the British House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_119

The seats are evenly divided between both sides of the Chamber, three sword-lengths apart (about three metres). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_120

The speaker's chair (which can be adjusted for height) is at the north end of the Chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_121

In front of it is the Table of the House, on which rests the ceremonial mace. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_122

Various "table officers"—clerks and other officials—sit at the table, ready to advise the speaker on procedure when necessary. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_123

Members of the Government sit on the benches on the speaker's right, while members of the Opposition occupy the benches on the speaker's left. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_124

Government ministers sit around the prime minister, who is traditionally assigned the 11th seat in the front row on the speaker's right-hand side. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_125

The leader of the Official Opposition sits directly across from the prime minister and is surrounded by a Shadow Cabinet or critics for the government portfolios. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_126

The remaining party leaders sit in the front rows. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_127

Other members of Parliament who do not hold any kind of special responsibilities are known as "backbenchers". House of Commons of Canada_sentence_128

The House usually sits Monday to Friday from late January to mid-June and from mid-September to mid-December according to an established calendar, though it can modify the calendar if additional or fewer sittings are required. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_129

During these periods, the House generally rises for one week per month to allow members to work in their constituencies. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_130

Sittings of the House are open to the public. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_131

Proceedings are broadcast over cable and satellite television and over live streaming video on the Internet by CPAC owned by a consortium of Canadian cable companies. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_132

They are also recorded in text form in print and online in Hansard, the official report of parliamentary debates. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_133

The Constitution Act, 1867 establishes a quorum of twenty members (including the member presiding) for the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_134

Any member may request a count of the members to ascertain the presence of a quorum; if however, the speaker feels that at least twenty members are clearly in the Chamber, he or she may deny the request. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_135

If a count does occur, and reveals that fewer than twenty members are present, the speaker orders bells to be rung, so that other members on the parliamentary precincts may come to the Chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_136

If, after a second count, a quorum is still not present, the speaker must adjourn the House until the next sitting day. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_137

During debates, members may only speak if called upon by the speaker (or, as is most often the case, the deputy presiding). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_138

The speaker is responsible for ensuring that members of all parties have an opportunity to be heard. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_139

The speaker also determines who is to speak if two or more members rise simultaneously, but his or her decision may be altered by the House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_140

Motions must be moved by one member and seconded by another before debate may begin. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_141

Some motions, however, are non-debatable. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_142

Speeches may be made in either of Canada's official languages (English and French), and it is customary for bilingual members of parliament to respond to these in the same language they were made in. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_143

It is common for bilingual MPs to switch between languages during speeches. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_144

Members must address their speeches to the presiding officer, not the House, using the words "Mr. Speaker" (French: Monsieur le Président) or "Madam Speaker" (French: Madame la Présidente). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_145

Other members must be referred to in the third person. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_146

Traditionally, members do not refer to each other by name, but by constituency or cabinet post, using forms such as "the honourable member for [electoral district]" or "the minister of..." Members' names are routinely used only during roll call votes, in which members stand and are named to have their vote recorded; at that point they are referred to by title (Ms. or mister for Anglophones and madame, mademoiselle, or monsieur for Francophones) and last name, except where members have the same or similar last names, at which point they would be listed by their name and riding ("M. Massé, Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia; Mr. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_147

Masse, Windsor West....) House of Commons of Canada_sentence_148

No member may speak more than once on the same question (except that the mover of a motion is entitled to make one speech at the beginning of the debate and another at the end). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_149

Moreover, tediously repetitive or irrelevant remarks are prohibited, as are written remarks read into the record (although this behaviour is creeping into the modern debate). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_150

The speaker may order a member making such remarks to cease speaking. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_151

The Standing Orders of the House of Commons prescribe time limits for speeches. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_152

The limits depend on the nature of the motion but are most commonly between ten and twenty minutes. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_153

However, under certain circumstances, the prime minister, the Opposition leader, and others are entitled to make longer speeches. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_154

The debate may be further restricted by the passage of "time allocation" motions. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_155

Alternatively, the House may end debate more quickly by passing a motion for "closure". House of Commons of Canada_sentence_156

When the debate concludes, the motion in question is put to a vote. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_157

The House first votes by voice vote; the presiding officer puts the question, and members respond either "yea" (in favour of the motion) or "nay" (against the motion). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_158

The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote, but five or more members may challenge his or her assessment, thereby forcing a recorded vote (known as a division, although, in fact, the House does not divide for votes the way the British House of Commons does). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_159

First, members in favour of the motion rise, so that the clerks may record their names and votes. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_160

Then, the same procedure is repeated for members who oppose the motion. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_161

There are no formal means for recording an abstention, though a member may informally abstain by remaining seated during the division. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_162

If there is an equality of votes, the speaker has a casting vote. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_163

The outcome of most votes is largely known beforehand since political parties normally instruct members on how to vote. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_164

A party normally entrusts some members of Parliament, known as whips, with the task of ensuring that all party members vote as desired. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_165

Members of Parliament do not tend to vote against such instructions since those who do so are unlikely to reach higher political ranks in their parties. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_166

Errant members may be deselected as official party candidates during future elections, and, in serious cases, may be expelled from their parties outright. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_167

Thus, the independence of members of Parliament tends to be extremely low, and "backbench rebellions" by members discontent with their party's policies are rare. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_168

In some circumstances, however, parties announce "free votes", allowing members to vote as they please. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_169

This may be done on moral issues and is routine on private members' bills. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_170

Committees House of Commons of Canada_section_8

Main article: Standing committee (Canada) House of Commons of Canada_sentence_171

The Parliament of Canada uses committees for a variety of purposes. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_172

Committees consider bills in detail and may make amendments. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_173

Other committees scrutinize various Government agencies and ministries. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_174

Potentially, the largest of the Commons committees are the Committees of the Whole, which, as the name suggests, consist of all the members of the House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_175

A Committee of the Whole meets in the Chamber of the House but proceeds under slightly modified rules of debate. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_176

(For example, a member may make more than one speech on a motion in a Committee of the Whole, but not during a normal session of the House.) House of Commons of Canada_sentence_177

Instead of the speaker, the chair, deputy chair, or assistant deputy chair presides. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_178

The House resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole to discuss appropriation bills, and sometimes for other legislation. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_179

The House of Commons also has several standing committees, each of which has responsibility for a particular area of government (for example, finance or transport). House of Commons of Canada_sentence_180

These committees oversee the relevant government departments, may hold hearings and collect evidence on governmental operations and review departmental spending plans. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_181

Standing committees may also consider and amend bills. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_182

Standing committees consist of between sixteen and eighteen members each, and elect their chairs. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_183

Some bills are considered by legislative committees, each of which consists of up to fifteen members. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_184

The membership of each legislative committee roughly reflects the strength of the parties in the whole House. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_185

A legislative committee is appointed on an ad hoc basis to study and amend a specific bill. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_186

Also, the chair of a legislative committee is not elected by the members of the committee but is instead appointed by the speaker, normally from among his deputies. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_187

Most bills, however, are referred to as standing committees rather than legislative committees. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_188

The House may also create ad hoc committees to study matters other than bills. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_189

Such committees are known as special committees. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_190

Each such body, like a legislative committee, may consist of no more than fifteen members. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_191

Other committees include joint committees, which include both members of the House of Commons and senators; such committees may hold hearings and oversee government, but do not revise legislation. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_192

House of Commons of Canada_unordered_list_0

Legislative functions House of Commons of Canada_section_9

Further information: Act of Parliament House of Commons of Canada_sentence_193

Although legislation may be introduced in either chamber, most bills originate in the House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_194

In conformity with the British model, the Lower House alone is authorized to originate bills imposing taxes or appropriating public funds. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_195

This restriction on the power of the Senate is not merely a matter of convention, but is explicitly stated in the Constitution Act, 1867. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_196

Otherwise, the power of the two Houses of Parliament is theoretically equal; the approval of each is necessary for a bill's passage. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_197

In practice, however, the House of Commons is the dominant chamber of Parliament, with the Senate very rarely exercising its powers in a way that opposes the will of the democratically elected chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_198

The last major bill defeated in the Senate came in 2010, when a bill passed by the Commons concerning climate change was rejected in the Senate. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_199

A clause in the Constitution Act, 1867 permits the governor general (with the approval of the monarch) to appoint up to eight extra senators to resolve a deadlock between the two houses. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_200

The clause was invoked only once, in 1990, when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney advised the appointment of an additional eight senators to secure the Senate's approval for the Goods and Services Tax. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_201

Relationship with Her Majesty's Government House of Commons of Canada_section_10

Current composition House of Commons of Canada_section_11

See also: List of House members of the 43rd Parliament of Canada and List of federal by-elections in Canada House of Commons of Canada_sentence_202

House of Commons of Canada_table_general_2

PartyHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_2_0_0 SeatsHouse of Commons of Canada_header_cell_2_0_2 %House of Commons of Canada_header_cell_2_0_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_1_0 LiberalHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_1_1 155House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_1_2 46.2House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_1_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_2_0 ConservativeHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_2_1 121House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_2_2 35.8House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_2_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_3_0 Bloc QuébécoisHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_3_1 32House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_3_2 9.5House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_3_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_4_0 New DemocraticHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_4_1 24House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_4_2 7.1House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_4_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_5_0 GreenHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_5_1 3House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_5_2 0.9House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_5_3
House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_6_0 IndependentHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_6_1 3House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_6_2 0.6House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_6_3
TotalHouse of Commons of Canada_cell_2_7_0 338House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_7_2 100%House of Commons of Canada_cell_2_7_3

House of Commons of Canada_description_list_1

Chamber design House of Commons of Canada_section_12

The current and original Canadian House of Commons chamber was influenced by the British House of Commons rectangular layout and that of the original St. Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_203

The difference from the British layout is with the use of individual chairs and tables for members, absent in the British Commons' design. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_204

With the exception of the legislatures in Nunavut (circular seating), the Northwest Territories (circular seating), and Manitoba (U-shaped seating), all other Canadian provincial legislatures share the common design of the Canadian House of Commons. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_205

Public Works and Government Services Canada undertook work during the 41st Parliament to determine how the seating arrangement could be modified to accommodate the additional 30 seats added in the 2015 election. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_206

Ultimately, new "theatre" seats were designed, with five seats in a row at one desk, the seats pulling down for use. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_207

Such seat sets now comprise almost the entire length of the last two rows on each side of the chamber. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_208

Renovations House of Commons of Canada_section_13

The current chamber is currently undergoing an estimated decade-long restoration and renovation, which began in December 2018. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_209

Parliamentarians have relocated to the courtyard of the 159-year-old West Block which also underwent seven years of renovations and repairs to get ready for the move. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_210

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the closing of the Centre Block on December 12, 2018. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_211

The final sittings of both the House of Commons and the Senate in Centre Block took place on December 13, 2018. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_212

See also House of Commons of Canada_section_14

House of Commons of Canada_description_list_2

House of Commons of Canada_unordered_list_3

House of Commons of Canada_description_list_4

House of Commons of Canada_unordered_list_5

Offices House of Commons of Canada_section_15

Off Parliament Hill MPs have some offices at Justice Building or Confederation Building down Wellington Street near the Supreme Court of Canada. House of Commons of Canada_sentence_213

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: of Commons of Canada.