House of Commons
House of Commons
-Canadian Government is based on the rule of law, the laws are created and legitimised. Parliament
placed at the centre of the institutional complex that constitutes the Canadian state.
-The HOC has been called "the grand inquest of the nation" where all citizens are represented.
-PM is part of the HOC, not the Senate. The HOC has the job of holding the government to account.
-Why is it that some argue that the HOC does not hold our political government in check, or responsible
for their actions?
-What are the rules about changing the rules? (see slides. All from the Constitution Act of 1982)(All 3 are
1. S.44: Provinces have no role?!?
2. S.41(b): Federal government approval and each provincial in the assembly.
3. S.42(1)(a): 7/50 rule= at least 2/3rds of the provinces having at least 50% of the population.
-At what point do you go from having just the federal government involved to also involving the
-Representation by Population:
#provincial seats/#of all provincial seats=Provincial population/total provincial population
-General feeling that it is impossible to stick to pure proportional representation. Since 1867 we have
always compromised this principle.
-Senatorial Clause(1915): No provinces can have fewer seats in the HOC than they have number of
senators in the Senate.
-Grandfather clause: Quebec is a winner. Because as the population of Quebec drops it still will always
have at least 75 seats.
Bill C-20 (Fair Representation Act)
-Changes previous rules for calculating the size of the HOC. Harper government chose to change the
fundamental formula while keeping the senate floor rule and grandfather clause. Did this because the
old rules do not help the provinces growing in population.
-Representation Rule: Protects QC. Qc gets +3 seats not because of population increase but because of
this new representation rule. Says if prior to this allocation, you were over represented according to the
formula, you will be brought up to make sure that you are close to this number.
-In Table, Electoral quotient is a SET #
House of Commons Lecture 2 -Know the grandfather rule, fair representation rule and the senatorial clause...And know their impact
-If we want to change the electoral system, we can. It is difficult, but not impossible. Some argue it is
unconventional, but it is NOT entrenched law.
-Does the electoral system encourage voters to act strategically, since this is not a REAL democracy.
-Most common: 1 electoral division and a single representative.
-Plurality rule: The person who gets the most seats wins the seat. A person can win 100% of the seat
with even less than 50% of the vote (because of how the vote spreads across other groups). Most
-Majority Rule: Must get more than 50% of the votes. In some places, you can vote more than once (ex
France) to determine winner. I.e. voters show up once, vote. Then top two go into a second vote to see
who wins. The other method involves ra