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Federal Government

Parliament Hill (NHSC chart)

The Parliament of Canada is the legislative branch of the Government of Canada.

The parliament of Canada’s web site is at www.parl.gc.ca. It contains a wealth of information about how Parliament operates and the current activities of Parliament, including legislation under consideration.

For general information about Parliament, visit the “About Parliament” section of the site.

Parliament has three components:

  • The Sovereign. The Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada. Those are two separate titles. The Queen delegates virtually all of her powers with regard to Canada to the Governor General of Canada.The Governor General’s web site is at: www.gg.ca
  • The Senate. The Senate is the upper of two “houses” of Parliament. Traditionally the Senate is considered to be a “body of sober second thought.” According to the Senate Web site, its purposes are to, “bolster representation of groups often underrepresented in Parliament …  provide Parliament with a second chance to consider bills before they are passed … [and] pass bills, propose amendments to them or vote to defeat them.”A portal into the Senate’s section of Parliament’s web site is located at: sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/home-e.htm.
  • The House of Commons. The House of Commons is the lower of the two houses of Parliament. The Members of Parliament (MPs) that we elect are members of the House of Commons, not the Senate.Most bills that eventually become laws of the land are introduced in the House of Commons and then debated in both the House and the Senate. Considering and debating proposed bills composes a large part of an MP’s job. MPs are also responsible for representing their constituents in Parliament and dealing with constituency issues.

    There is no obvious Web portal that combines all House of Commons information on Parliament’s web site, but HoC information is easily accessible from the home page of Parliament’s site.

ParlVU

ParlVU is a service provided by the Government of Canada that streams live and archived video and audio of House of Commons proceedings, televised committees, and the audio of all public committees over the Internet. It is located at: parlvu.parl.gc.ca.

Elections Canada

Elections are fundamental to every democracy. Elections Canada is an independent, non-partisan agency that is responsible for conducting federal elections and referenda in Canada. The Elections Canada web site (elections.ca) provides information for voters, candidates and political parties. The site also contains the results of past elections, live results after the polls close on Election Day, a database of political party and candidate fundraising and spending activity, and news.

The Constitution of Canada

The Canadian Constitution defines many aspects of how Parliament and our democracy function, along with the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. It also enshrines the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You can find constitutional documents at: laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/Const_index.html