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Chapter 7

POLS 2300 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Parliamentary Privilege, Byrsonima Crassifolia, Provincial Rights Party

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

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Consists of:
1. Crown
2. Senate (Upper level of legislature --> appointed)
3. House of Commons (Lower level of legislature --> elected)
1.Policy making functions
-Passage of legislation
2. Representational functions
-Express interests and opinions of electorate
-Deal with problems of constituents
3. System-maintenance functions
-Contribute to the work and legitimacy of other parts of the political
system and the state
Life Cycle
Sessions: Working periods when government is open for business
(# depends on gov’t of the day, but required to meet at least once a year)
3 major events:
1. Speech from the throne
-GG summons MP’s and senators of parliament at the request of the PM
-Members of both houses come together in the senate chamber
-The speech (read by the GG) outlines the governments proposed
legislative program for the forthcoming session
*First speech tends to be reiteration of campaign promises
Adjournment: Break taken by the house during a session
-Speech occupies the first few days, then it is debated (can take several
2. Presentation of the budget
-Delivered by the minister of finance
-States where the revenue will come from to carry out the govt’s plans
-4 day budget debate follows the presentation
*Gives opposition a chance to defeat the gov’t
Chapter Seven

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3. Presentation of estimates
-Governments spending proposals for the next fiscal year
*Other than these main functions, sessions are used to prepare bills to
become law
Prorogation: Closing a session of parliament
Dissolution: End of a parliamentary session
-Brings on an election
House of Commons: Functions
-Reflect ideas and wishes of Canadians while leading and educating them
-Provides government authority to govern
-Supervises the work of the cabinet
-Passes laws, impose taxes and authorizes expenditures
-Adopts resolutions
-Allows groups to debate on issues passed by the current government
-Keeps the government accountable
-Provides alternative government (opposition)
Backbenchers: Those on the government side that aren’t ministers, or
those on the opposition side not designated as party critics
-Main job is to support party leadership
Rules of the House
Standing Orders: Rules of the house, permanent and impartial
-Verbal confrontations during debate constrained by the fact that no
member can speak without being recognized by the speaker
-Once recognized every MP has the right to speak for a specific length of
time without interruption as long as it’s relevant
Parliamentary Privilege: House rule that enables MP’s to express
themselves freely without intimidation
Organization and Officers
Speaker of the House
-Impartial arbitrator elected by the whole house
-Doesn’t vote unless their is a tie, then votes in favor of the gov’t of the day
-In charge of the administration
Chapter Seven
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