The Usher of the Black Rod of the Senate of Canada is the most senior protocol position in parliament, being the personal messenger to the legislature of the sovereign and governor general. He or she is also a floor officer of the Senate responsible for security in that chamber, as well as for protocol, administrative, and logistical details of important events taking place on Parliament Hill,  such as the Speech from the Throne , Royal Assent ceremonies, state funerals , or the investiture of a new governor general.
These individuals are appointed by either one or both houses, to which they report through the speaker of that house. They are sometimes referred to as Agents of Parliament. The Constitution Act, , outlines that the governor general alone is responsible for summoning parliament, though it remains the monarch's prerogative to prorogue and dissolve the legislature, after which the writs for a general federal election are usually dropped by the governor general at Rideau Hall.
Upon completion of the election, the viceroy, on the advice of his or her prime minister, then issues a royal proclamation summoning parliament to assemble. On the date given, new MPs are sworn-in and then are, along with returning MPs, called to the Senate, where they are instructed to elect their speaker and return to the House of Commons to do so before adjourning. The new parliamentary session is marked by the opening of parliament , during which either the monarch, the governor general, or a royal delegate, [n 1] reads the Speech From the Throne.
MPs receive the Royal Summons to these events from the Usher of the Black Rod  after he knocks on the doors of the lower house that have been slammed shut,  to illustrate the Commons' right to deny entry to anyone, including the monarch, but excepting royal messengers.
A parliamentary session lasts until a prorogation, after which, without ceremony, both chambers of the legislature cease all legislative business until the governor general issues another proclamation calling for a new session to begin; except for the election of a speaker for the House of Commons and his or her claiming of that house's privileges, the same procedures for the opening of parliament are again followed.
After a number of such sessions—having ranged from one to seven  —a parliament comes to an end via dissolution , and a general election typically follows. Subject to the governor general's discretion, general elections are held four years after the previous on the third Monday in October or, on the recommendation of the chief electoral officer , the following Tuesday or Monday.
The governor general may dissolve parliament and call a general election outside of these fixed dates, conventionally on the advice of the prime minister, which may be preceded by a successful motion of no confidence. The timing of such dissolutions may be politically motivated. Both houses determine motions by voice vote ; the presiding officer puts the question and, after listening to shouts of "yea" and "nay" from the members, announces which side is victorious.
This decision by the Speaker is final, unless a recorded vote is demanded by members—at least two in the Senate and five in the House of Commons. Members of both houses vote by rising in their places to be counted; the Speaker of the Senate is permitted to vote on a motion or bill—though does so irregularly, in the interest of impartiality—and, if there is no majority, the motion is defeated.
In the Commons, however, the Speaker cannot vote, unless to break a tie, at which time he or she will customarily vote in favour of the status quo. The constitution establishes the quorums to be 15 senators in the upper house and 20 members in the lower house, the Speaker of each body being counted within the tally.
Voting can thus take three possible forms: For example, during the vote on the budget , which was considered a vote of confidence , the Speaker of the House of Commons cast the tie-breaking vote during the second reading , moving in favour of the budget and allowing its passage.
If the vote on the third reading had again been tied, the speaker would have been expected to vote against the bill, bringing down the government. Simultaneous interpretation for both official languages, English and French , is provided at all times during sessions of both houses.
Laws, known in their draft form as bills , may be introduced by any member of either house. However, most bills originate in the House of Commons, of which most are put forward by ministers of the Crown , making them government bills, as opposed to private members' bills or private senators' bills, which are launched by MPs and senators, respectively, who are not in cabinet.
Draft legislation may also be categorised as public bills, if they apply to the general public, or private bills , if they concern a particular person or limited group of people. Each bill then goes through a series of stages in each chamber, beginning with the first reading. It is not, however, until the bill's second reading that the general principles of the proposed law are debated; though rejection is a possibility, such is not common for government bills.
Next, the bill is sent by the house where it is being debated to one of several committees. The Standing Orders outline the general mandate for all committees, allowing them to review: The bill may also be committed to the Committee of the Whole , a body consisting of, as the name suggests, all the members of the chamber in question.
Finally, the bill could be referred to an ad hoc committee established solely to review the piece of legislation in question. Each chamber has their own procedure for dealing with this, with the Senate establishing special committees that function like most other committees, and the House of Commons establishing legislative committees, the chair of the latter being appointed by the speaker of the House of Commons, and is normally one of his deputies.
Whichever committee is used, any amendments proposed by the committee are considered by the whole house in the report stage. Furthermore, additional amendments not proposed by the committee may also be made.
After the report stage or, if the committee made no amendments to the bill, immediately after the committee stage , the final phase of the bill—the third reading —occurs, at which time further amendments are not permitted in the House of Commons, but are allowed in the Senate. If one house passes amendments that the other will not agree to, and the two houses cannot resolve their disagreements, the bill fails.
If, however, it passes the third reading, the bill is sent to the other house of parliament, where it passes through the same stages; amendments made by the second chamber require the assent of the original house in order to stand part of the final bill.
Once the bill is passed in identical form by both houses, it is presented for Royal Assent ; in theory, the governor general has three options: If the governor general does grant Royal Assent, the monarch may, within two years, disallow the bill, thus annulling the law in question. In the federal sphere, no bill has ever been denied royal approval. In conformity with the British model, only the House of Commons may originate bills for the imposition of taxes or for the appropriation of Crown funds.
Otherwise, the theoretical power of both houses over bills is equal, with the assent of each being required for passage. In practice, however, the House of Commons is dominant, with the Senate rarely exercising its powers in a way that opposes the will of the democratically elected house. The Canadian government consists of the monarch, predominantly represented by his or her governor general, in council , which is a collection of ministers of the Crown appointed by the governor general to direct the use of executive powers.
Per the tenets of responsible government , these individuals are almost always drawn from parliament, and are predominantly from the House of Commons, the only body to which ministers are held accountable, typically during Question Period , wherein ministers are obliged to answer questions posed by members of the opposition.
Hence, the person who can command the confidence of the lower chamber—usually the leader of the party with the most seats therein—is typically appointed as prime minister.
Should that person not hold a seat in the House of Commons, he or she will, by convention, seek election to one at the earliest possible opportunity; frequently, in such situations, a junior Member of Parliament who holds a safe seat will resign to allow the prime minister to run for that riding in a by-election. If no party holds a majority, it is customary for the governor general to summon a minority government or coalition government , depending on which the commons will support.
The lower house may attempt to bring down the government by either rejecting a motion of confidence —generally initiated by a minister to reinforce the Cabinet's support in the commons—or by passing a motion of no confidence—introduced by the opposition to display its distrust of the Cabinet. Important bills that form part of the government's agenda will usually be considered matters of confidence; the budget is always a matter of confidence. Where a government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged to either resign allowing the governor general to appoint the Leader of the Opposition to the office or seek the dissolution of parliament and the call of a general election.
A precedent, however, was set in , when the government of Lester B. Pearson unexpectedly lost a confidence vote but was allowed to remain in power with the mutual consent of the leaders of the other parties. In practice, the House of Commons' scrutiny of the government is quite weak in comparison to the equivalent chamber in other countries using the Westminster system. With the plurality voting system used in parliamentary elections tending to provide the governing party with a large majority and a party system that gives leaders strict control over their caucus to the point that MPs may be expelled from their parties for voting against the instructions of party leaders , there is often limited need to compromise with other parties.
Additionally, Canada has fewer MPs, a higher turnover rate of MPs after each election, and an Americanised system for selecting political party leaders, leaving them accountable to the party membership rather than caucus, as is the case in the United Kingdom;  John Robson of the National Post opined that Canada's parliament had become a body akin to the American Electoral College , "its sole and ceremonial role to confirm the executive in power.
In contrast, a minority government is more volatile, and is more likely to fall due to loss of confidence. The last prime ministers to lose confidence votes were Stephen Harper in , Paul Martin in and Joe Clark in , all involving minority governments.
Parliament possesses a number of privileges, collectively and accordingly known as parliamentary privilege , each house being the guardian and administrator of its own set of rights. Parliament itself determines the extent of parliamentary privilege, each house overseeing its own affairs, but the constitution bars it from conferring any "exceeding those at the passing of such an Act held, enjoyed, and exercised by the [British House of] Commons The foremost dispensation held by both houses of Parliament is that of freedom of speech in debate; nothing said within the chambers may be questioned by any court or other institution outside of Parliament.
In particular, a member of either house cannot be sued for slander based on words uttered in the course of parliamentary proceedings, the only restraint on debate being set by the standing orders of each house.
Further, MPs and senators are immune to arrest in civil but not criminal cases, from jury service and attendance in courts as witnesses. They may, however, be disciplined by their colleagues for breach of the rules, including contempt of parliament —disobedience of its authority; for example, giving false testimony before a parliamentary committee—and breaches of its own privileges.
The Canadian Heraldic Authority , on 15 April , granted the Parliament of Canada, as an institution, a heraldic achievement composed of symbols of the three elements of parliament: To this was added the Quebec Act , by which the power to make ordinances was granted to a governor-in-council , both the governor and council being appointed by the British monarch in Westminster, on the advice of his or her ministers there.
In , the Province of Quebec was divided into Upper and Lower Canada , each with an elected legislative assembly , an appointed legislative council , and a governor, mirroring the parliamentary structure in Britain. In , the British government united the two Canadas into the Province of Canada , with a single legislature composed of, again, an assembly, council, and governor general; the 84 members of the lower chamber were equally divided among the two former provinces, though Lower Canada had a higher population.
The governor still held significant personal influence over Canadian affairs until , when responsible government was implemented in Canada. The actual site of parliament shifted on a regular basis: From to , it sat in Kingston , where the present Kingston General Hospital now stands; from until the fire that destroyed the building , the legislature was in Montreal ; and, after a few years of alternating between Toronto and Quebec City , the legislature was finally moved to Ottawa in , Queen Victoria having chosen that city as Canada's capital [ citation needed ] in Though the form of the new federal legislature was again nearly identical to the parliament of the United Kingdom, the decision to retain this model was made with heavy influence from the just-concluded American Civil War , which indicated to many Canadians the faults of the American federal system, with its relatively powerful states and a less powerful federal government.
The British North America Act limited the powers of the provinces, providing that all subjects not explicitly delegated to them by that document remain within the authority of the federal parliament, while simultaneously giving the provinces unique powers in certain agreed-upon areas of funding.
Full legislative autonomy was granted by the Statute of Westminster, , passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Though the statute allowed the Parliament of Canada to repeal or amend previously British laws as they applied to Canada, it did not permit the amendment of Canada's constitution, including the British North America Acts.
Hence, whenever a constitutional amendment was sought by the Canadian parliament, the enactment of a British law became necessary, though Canada's consent was required.
The Parliament of Canada was granted limited power to amend the constitution by a British Act of Parliament in , but it was not permitted to affect the powers of provincial governments, the official positions of the English and French languages, rights of any class of persons with respect to schools, or the maximum five-year term of the legislature.
The Canadian House of Commons and Senate last requested the Parliament of the United Kingdom to enact a constitutional amendment in , in the form of the Canada Act , which included the Constitution Act, Most amendments require the consent of the Senate, the House of Commons, and the legislative assemblies of two-thirds of the provinces representing a majority of the population; the unanimous consent of provincial legislative assemblies is required for certain amendments, including those affecting the sovereign, the governor general, the provincial lieutenant governors , the official status of the English and French languages, the Supreme Court of Canada , and the amending formulas themselves.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Elizabeth II Since 6 February Julie Payette Since 2 October Speaker of the Senate. George Furey , Non-affiliated Since 3 December Speaker of the House of Commons.
Geoff Regan , Liberal Since 3 December Justin Trudeau Since 4 November House of Commons political groups. House of Commons voting system. House of Commons last election. The Parliament of Victoria is a bicameral legislature, meaning that it consists of two legislative chambers or houses, the Upper House or Legislative Council and the Lower House or Legislative Assembly. Each house has a number of committees that investigate proposed laws in detail before they are considered by the whole house.
Some of the committee work is carried out by the Joint Committees which consist of members from all sides of politics and from both chambers. Like the Parliament, the committees cease to exist when the Parliament is dissolved by the governor, and need to be recreated after each general election. This means that often the names and jurisdiction of the committees are changed. A proposed law or bill can be introduced into either house, but in practice most are introduced into the Legislative Assembly.
Any bill, with the exception of bills appropriating money for the ordinary annual services of government, must be passed by both Houses before being presented to the Governor, who will sign the Bill into law on behalf of the Queen. Ordinary appropriation bills need only be passed by the Legislative Assembly before being presented to the Governor for royal assent. Today the Houses of Parliament consist of eighty-eight Members of the Legislative Assembly elected in single-member electorates, known as districts , and forty Members of the Legislative Council elected from eight multi-member electorates, known as regions , each of which returns five members.
Each electoral region contains eleven electoral districts. All members of both houses are elected for fixed four year terms.
General elections are held on the last Saturday in November every four years with the Parliament expiring on the Tuesday twenty-five days before the election. Parliament can be dissolved earlier by the Governor, and a general election called, in two exceptional circumstances: Anyone enrolled to vote in Victoria can stand for election as a candidate for either House, except for: It is also not permitted to be a member of both houses or a candidate for election to both houses of Parliament.
Ministers and former ministers are entitled to the style " The Honourable " abbreviated to "The Hon" although some choose not to use it. He or she is an elected member of the Parliament and is chosen by the members of the Legislative Assembly to chair their meetings and represent the assembly as a whole at official functions. Both the Speaker and the President have important powers in controlling debate in their respective chambers, including the ability to punish members who step out of line or disobey their orders.
The presiding officers also have powers to summon witnesses to the chamber to assist in the legislative role of Parliament. These members are not within the control of the house in the same way that the President and Speaker are, they are appointed by the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition respectively. Each party represented in each house appoint a member in each house as their Party Whip.
Among the Governor's vice-regal duties are the opening of Parliament and the signing of acts that are passed by the Victorian Parliament. The leader of the political party or coalition with a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly is invited by the Governor of Victoria to form a government.
The leader of that party is appointed Premier of Victoria and other senior members are appointed ministers with various portfolio responsibilities. The leader of the largest party in opposition becomes the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is Matthew Guy , who was elected as the leader of the Liberal Party on 4 December after their election defeat, replacing former Premier Denis Napthine.
The Greens are led by Samantha Ratnam. Prior to only Ministers and Office holders were provided with a salary. This in effect meant that members had to be wealthy enough to support themselves before seeking election to Parliament. In the Victorian Parliament provided for the reimbursing of members in relation to their expenses in attending Parliament, in effect the first salary for Members of the Victorian Parliament.
At first passed as temporary measure, it later became permanent. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Elizabeth II Since 6 February Linda Dessau Since 1 July Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Colin Brooks , Labor Since 7 March President of the Legislative Council. Bruce Atkinson , Liberal Since 21 December Legislative Assembly political groups. Legislative Council political groups. History of Victoria and History of Australia.