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Summary

The Canadian Parliament was established in 1867 following the passage, by the British Parliament, of the British North America Act, also referred to in Canada as the Constitution Act, 1867.  Canada’s Parliament buildings were built between 1859 and 1866 and are located in the seat of the federal government, the City of Ottawa.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government.  The Parliament, which is the federal legislature, is made up of three constitutive parts: the Crown, the Senate, and the House of Commons.  Members of the 338-seat House of Commons are elected through a first-past-the-post electoral system.  Some of the important leadership roles in both houses of Parliament are the speakers, house leaders, and whips.

In order for a bill to become law, a multistage process occurs in each house of Parliament, which includes three readings of a bill, followed by Royal Assent.

I.  Background

The Canadian Parliament was established pursuant to the British North America Act,[1] also called the Constitution Act, 1867, an Act of the British Parliament that created the Dominion of Canada by joining three British colonies in North America—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada—into a Confederation.[2]  On December 11, 1931, the Statute of Westminster,[3] also an Act of the British Parliament, allowed complete legislative self-rule (excluding those subject areas that they elected to have remain subordinate to Britain[4]) for what were then the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Newfoundland.  According to Historica Canada, “[a]fter consultation between Canada’s federal and provincial governments, the repeal, amendment or alteration of the British North America Acts, 1867–1930—Canada’s Constitution—was specifically excepted from the terms of the statute.”[5]  It was not until March 25, 1982, with the British Parliament’s passage of the Canada Act,[6] also called the Constitution Act of 1982, that the power of the UK Parliament to legislate for Canada was officially terminated.[7]

The present-day seat of the federal government, the City of Ottawa, used to be the seat of government of the Province of Canada,[8] and then the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

The seat of government of the Province of Canada alternated for many years.[9]  In 1857, Queen Victoria “was asked to select a permanent capital”[10] and she chose the town of Ottawa.  According to the Parliament of Canada website, “[t]he Centre, East and West blocks of the Parliament Buildings were built between 1859 and 1866 (excluding the Tower and Library).”[11]

On the night of February 3, 1916, a fire broke out in the Centre block’s House of Commons reading room.  According to Historica Canada, “[a]ll that remained the following morning were the building’s exterior walls and the Parliamentary Library.  Rumored to be an act of sabotage, as Canada’s energies were focused on war in Europe, the fire was simply an unfortunate accident and caused great alarm within the federal government.”[12]

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II.  Constitutional Status and Role

Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government.[13]  Canada’s Parliament is a federal legislature “composed of individuals selected to represent the Canadian people.”[14]  It forms the legislative branch of government. The Prime Minister, as head of government, and the Cabinet[15] comprise the executive branch, and Canada’s courts at both the federal and provincial levels[16] make up the judicial branch of government.  The British monarch is the head of state and is represented at the federal level in Canada by the Governor General and at the provincial level by lieutenant governors.[17]

The Parliament of Canada shares its law-making function with ten provincial and three territorial governments.[18]  The legislative powers of the federal Parliament are stipulated by section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867.[19]  Generally, it has jurisdiction to make laws “for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada,”[20] which do not fall within the exclusive legislative authority of the provinces.  More specifically, section 91 enumerates classes of subjects on which the federal Parliament has exclusive authority to legislate, including but not limited to the regulation of trade and commerce, military and defense, marriage and divorce, and criminal law.[21]   

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III.  Structure and Composition

A. Senators and Members

Canada’s federal legislative branch consists of the monarch, the House of Commons, and the Senate.[22]  The Senate and House of Commons constitute Canada’s bicameral Parliament.[23]  The Senate has 105 members[24] who are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister,[25] while the House of Commons has 338 elected members.[26]  Senators are appointed according to four geographical divisions set out in the Constitution Act, 1867.[27]  They must own property and live in the relevant division.[28]  While they were previously appointed for life, senators now serve until the age of 75.[29]

If a political party is able to receive more than half of the total number of seats in the House of Commons it will have a majority government.[30]  If a party “wins half or less than half of the seats in the House of Commons but has a plurality (the most seats)” then a minority government is possible if it is able to command the confidence of the House of Commons.[31]  The governing party must therefore receive the approval from members of other parties or independents in order to govern.[32]  Minority governments are relatively uncommon in Canada due to the adoption of a plurality voting system instead a proportional representation system.  

There are currently three recognized political parties[33] in the House of Commons: the New Democratic Party (NDP) (44 members), the Conservative Party (99 members), and the Liberal Party (184 members).[34]  Two other parties are represented, but do not have the 12 members needed to be a recognized party for the purposes of parliamentary proceedings: BLOC Québécois (10 members) and the Green Party (one member).[35] 

Senators are also usually affiliated with a political party.  There are currently two parties represented in the Senate: the Conservative Party (45 senators) and the Liberal Party (28 senators).  There are also ten independent senators.[36]  Twenty-two seats are currently vacant.  The new Liberal government, elected in October 2015, is establishing a board to recommend candidates to fill the vacancies.[37]

B.  Leadership Roles

Some of the important leadership roles in both houses of Parliament are the speakers, house leaders, and whips.  The Speaker of the House of Commons “presides over the House of Commons and ensures that everyone respects its rules and traditions.”[38]  The Speaker is voted on by a secret ballot by members of the House of Commons after each general election.[39]  According to the Guide to the Canadian House of Commons, “[t]he Speaker represents the Commons in dealings with the Senate and the Crown.  The Speaker is also responsible for the administration of the House and its staff, and has many diplomatic and social duties.”[40]  In the Senate, the Speaker is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.[41]  According to the Parliament of Canada website, “[t]he Speaker’s principal duty is to preside over the Senate’s proceedings, ensure the orderly flow of debate, and interpret parliamentary rules, helping the Senate move through its daily business.”[42]

Every officially recognized party appoints one member to be its house leader.[43]  The house leaders of “all the parties meet regularly to discuss upcoming business in the Commons, how long bills will be debated and when special issues will be discussed.”[44]  The leader of the governing party in the Senate is appointed by the Prime Minister.[45]

Every officially recognized party also has a whip to “ensure that enough party members are in the Chamber for debates and votes.”[46]  The whips also “determine which committees a party member will sit on, assign offices and seats in the House, and discipline members who break party ranks.”[47]  The Senate similarly has party whips “to keep its members up to date on the business and schedule of the Senate and its committees, as well as to ensure the attendance and voting of its members,” and to “work to maximize participation when a vote is called in the Senate Chamber, and ensure full participation in committee meetings.”[48]

C.  Committees

There are several different types of committees that operate in the House of Commons and the Senate,[49] falling into four main categories: standing, special, joint, and committees of the whole.

Standing committees are permanent committees that are established through standing orders.[50]  They typically “correspond broadly to fields of public policy, such as agriculture, banking, fisheries, foreign affairs, energy, Aboriginal affairs, and technology.”[51]  Special committees are created on an ad hoc basis.  They are appointed by an order in council and are authorized to conduct studies on a specific and narrow subject area of interest.  When the study is concluded and a final report is submitted to a House of Parliament, the special committee is dissolved.[52]  Joint committees, which can be special or standing, “include both senators and members of the House of Commons.  These committees are established to examine issues of mutual interest to both Houses of Parliament.”[53]  Committees of the whole are composed of the entire membership of the Senate or House Chamber.

Subcommittees are also established by standing committees for multiple reasons, and “may exist for the duration of a Parliament or may cease to exist when their specific purpose has been accomplished.”[54]

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IV.  Elections

In order to become a Member of Parliament, namely the House of Commons, a person must run for a seat in the federal elections, which are held on the third Monday in October every four years.[55]

Section 50 of the Constitution Act, 1867 stipulates that general elections of the House of Commons must be held at least once every five years but does not specify any fixed dates.[56]  According to the Parliament of Canada website, “[t]raditionally, under a parliamentary system of government, general elections are called at the discretion of the prime minister, although they may be held at any time if the government loses the confidence of the legislature.”[57]  It was only in 2007 that the Parliament of Canada amended the Canada Elections Act[58] to introduce fixed dates for general elections.  The 2007 amendment stipulates that each general election must be held on the third Monday of October every four years.[59]  According to Eugene Forsey’s How Canadians Govern Themselves, “[i]n practice this means that the expected term of office for a member of Parliament (or of a legislature with a fixed-date law) would normally be four years.  However, the Governor General’s power to dissolve Parliament is not affected by the fixed date legislation.”[60]  

The first fixed-date election was held on October 19, 2015.[61]  The previous general election was held on May 2, 2011,[62] after the Prime Minister advised the Governor General to dissolve the Parliament following the passage of a motion of no-confidence in the government.  The 2011 election was the fourth federal election in seven years.[63]

Each seat in the House of Commons represents one of the country’s 338 constituencies.  A candidate need not receive more than half the votes, just a plurality or the most votes to get elected as a member of Parliament.[64]  According to the Parliament of Canada website,

[s]eats in the House of Commons are distributed roughly in proportion to the population of each province and territory.  In general, the more people in a province or territory, the more Members it has in the House of Commons.  Every province or territory must have at least as many Members in the Commons as it has in the Senate.[65]

By-elections to fill empty seats “are not affected by the introduction of fixed-date elections, and continue to be held between the dates of general elections as required.”[66]

Canada’s general elections are run based on the “single-member plurality” system (also known as the “first-past-the-post” system).[67]  According to Elections Canada,

[i]n every electoral district, the candidate with the highest number of votes wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that electoral district as its member of Parliament.  An absolute majority (more than 50 percent of the votes in the electoral district) is not required for a candidate to be elected.[68]

According to preliminary results from the 2015 general elections, there was a high turnout of 68.49% of registered voters.[69]  The previous 2011 election had a voter turnout of 61.1%.[70]

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V.  Legislative Process

In order for bills to become law in Canada, a long and multistage process occurs in each House of Parliament[71], which includes introduction of a bill, first reading, second reading, committee stage, reporting stage, third reading, and finally Royal Assent.[72]  According to the Compendium, an online guide to House of Commons procedure, “[a]ll bills must go through the same stages of the legislative process, but they do not necessarily follow the same route.”[73]  Three possible paths exist for the approval of legislation:

  • After appropriate notice, a minister or a member may introduce a bill, which will be given a first reading immediately.  The bill is then debated generally at the second reading stage and sent to a committee for clause-by-clause study.
  • A minister may move that a bill be referred to a committee for study before a second reading.
  • A minister or member may propose a motion that a committee be instructed to prepare a bill.  A bill will be presented by the committee and carried through the second reading stage without debate or amendment.[74]

A. Types and Forms of Bills

Generally there are three types of bills: new legislation sponsored by government Cabinet ministers and bills that originate from a member of Parliament, which together are considered “public bills”; and bills that originate on the initiative of private parties, or “private bills.”[75] 

1.  Public Bills

a.  Government Bills

According to the Compendium, “[a] government bill is the text of a legislative initiative that a Minister of the Crown submits to Parliament to be approved, and possibly amended, before becoming law.”[76]  Bills for appropriations, including the raising of public revenue and taxation, must be introduced by the government in the House of Commons.[77]

Important types of financial bills typically introduced by the government include the following:

  • Ways and means bills–which increase or extend the scope of a tax;
  • Appropriation bills–which are introduced in the House following the adoption of Main [planned budgets or appropriations] or Supplementary Estimates [adjusted departmental budgets] or Interim Supply [funds required by the Government to conduct its activities from the beginning of the fiscal year to the final supply day] and authorize the withdrawal of funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund; and
  • Borrowing authority bills–which seek authority to borrow money when public revenues are not adequate to cover government expenditures.[78]

Government bills may also address “matters of public interest,” and in such cases are permitted to include financial provisions.[79]

b.  Private Members’ Bills

Private members’ bills are introduced by members of Parliament who are not Cabinet ministers.[80]  These bills cannot include “financial provisions” or authorization for the expenditure of public funds unless the “Member has sought and been granted a Royal Recommendation.”[81]  According to the Compendium, “[m]ost private Members’ bills are initiated in the House of Commons, but some originate in the Senate.  Debate on private Member’s bills takes place during the daily hour set aside for ‘Private Members’ Business’.”[82]

2.  Private Bills

Private bills are used to “exempt a person or group of persons, including a corporation from the application of a statute.”[83]  Private bills cannot be introduced by a minister, “and must be based on a petition signed by those interested in promoting it.”[84]

According to the Compendium, “[m]ost private bills are introduced in the Senate, but occasionally, they are introduced in the House of Commons.  Private bills before the House are dealt with as Private Members’ Business.”[85]  This is because they can only be moved by members who are not part of the ministerial cabinet.[86]

3.  Characteristic of Bills According to Purpose

House of Commons Procedure and Practice lists “other drafting characteristics” of bills, which depend on the purpose of the legislation:

  • New legislation: Bills resulting from policy decisions or, in some cases, to implement treaties, conventions or agreements, to accept recommendations arising out of a report of a Task Force or Royal Commission of Inquiry, to carry out administrative measures, or to deal with emergencies.
  • Major revisions of existing Acts: Bills to revise an Act because it contains a sunset clause (providing that it must be revised after a certain period of time) or because of changing economic or social standards or circumstances.
  • Amendments to existing Acts: Bills to amend existing Acts.  The amendments may be either of a substantive or of a housekeeping nature.
  • Statute law amendment bills: Initiatives to eliminate anomalies, inconsistencies, archaisms or errors in existing legislation and to deal with other matters of a non‑controversial and uncomplicated nature.
  • Ways and means bills: Initiatives based on ways and means motions, the purpose of which is to create a new income tax or other taxes, to continue a tax which is expiring, to increase a tax or to extend the scope of a tax.  These bills are governed by specific provisions of the Standing Orders. Only a Minister may introduce a ways and means bill.
  • Appropriation bills: Initiatives introduced in the House in response to the adoption of main or supplementary estimates or interim supply.  These bills are also governed by specific provisions of the Standing Orders.  Only a Minister may introduce an appropriation bill.
  • Borrowing authority bills: Initiatives to seek authority to raise money when public revenues are not adequate to cover government expenditures.
  • Pro forma bills: A pro forma bill is introduced by the Prime Minister at the beginning of each session.  It affirms the right of the House to conduct its proceedings and to legislate, regardless of the reasons stated in the Speech from the Throne for convening the House.  The bill is entitled An Act Respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office; it is numbered C–1 but is not usually printed.  It is given first reading, but not second reading.
  • Draft bills: This expression is used to refer to the draft form of bills that have not yet been introduced in either House.  Occasionally, the House may have the draft of a government bill sent to a committee for examination.  As the bill has not yet been given first reading, the committee may examine the proposed legislation without being constrained by the rules of the legislative process, and may recommend changes.  The government can then take the committee’s report into consideration when finalizing the draft of the bill.
  • Omnibus bills: Although this expression is commonly used, there is no precise definition of an omnibus bill. In general, an omnibus bill seeks to amend, repeal or enact several Acts, and is characterized by the fact that it is made up of a number of related but separate initiatives.  An omnibus bill has “one basic principle or purpose which ties together all the proposed enactments and thereby renders the Bill intelligible for parliamentary purposes”.  One of the reasons cited for introducing an omnibus bill is to bring together in a single bill all the legislative amendments arising from a single policy decision in order to facilitate parliamentary debate.[87]

B.  Overview of the Process

A federal bill must pass three readings in both the House of Commons and the Senate before it is passed into law.[88]  Legislation is typically initiated in the House of Commons, but it can originate in the Senate as well.[89]

1.  Introduction and First Reading

The first reading is perceived largely as a formality.  A written notice of forty-eight hours is required before a public bill can be introduced in the House.[90]  According to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, once the notice period has elapsed, the bill sponsor, whether a member or minister, takes the following steps:

[He or She] notifies the Chair of his or her intention to proceed during Routine Proceedings when the rubric “Introduction of Government Bills” (if the sponsor is a Minister) or “Introduction of Private Members’ Bills” is called.  Leave to introduce a bill is granted automatically, and the motion is deemed carried, without debate, amendment or question put.  A Minister seldom provides any explanation when requesting leave to introduce a bill, but may do so.  On the other hand, a private Member normally provides a brief explanation of the bill he or she is introducing in the House.[91]

2.  Second Reading

The second reading stage “gives Members an opportunity to debate the general scope of the bill.”[92]  According to the Compendium, “[u]nless a bill has been referred to committee prior to second reading, debate at this stage must focus on the principle of the bill and, accordingly, the text of the bill may not be amended before being read a second time and referred to committee.”[93]  Though traditionally seen as the most important stage, more recently it is seen as less significant.  A passage of a motion for second reading of a Bill implies that the “House had given preliminary consideration to the bill, without any commitment to its final passage, and had authorized its reference to a committee for detailed scrutiny and possible amendment.”[94]  The motion for second reading can be amended.  Three types of amendments are allowed:

  • a three months’ or six months’ hoist, which seeks to postpone consideration of the bill for three or six months;
  • a reasoned amendment, which requests that the House not give second reading to a bill for a specific reason; or
  • a motion to refer the subject matter of the bill to a committee.[95]

3.  Committee

During the committee stage[96], members have the opportunity to examine and review the clauses of a bill in detail[97] and to approve or modify it.[98]  According to House of Commons Procedure and Practice,

[i]t is at this stage that they have their first opportunity to propose amendments to its text.  It is also at this stage that witnesses may be invited to present their views and to answer Members’ questions.  A bill is referred to a standing, special or legislative committee for consideration, normally after second reading in the House, but sometimes before second reading.  While any bill based on a supply motion must be referred to a Committee of the Whole, any bill may be referred to a Committee of the Whole by unanimous consent, typically after having passed through more than one stage of the legislative process in a single sitting.  The House may also adopt a special order to refer a bill to a Committee of the Whole.[99]

Most bills are referred to the standing committee whose “mandate most closely corresponds to the bill’s subject matter.”  However, the House may consider referring a bill to a legislative committee, “a distinct type of committee created solely to undertake the consideration of legislation.”[100]

4.  Reporting and Third Reading

During the reporting stage the committee submits its report, which may recommend that the bill be accepted as it was in its first reading, or with amendments, or that it not be advanced further.  During report stage debate, members, “particularly those who were not members of the committee,”[101] can propose further amendments to the bill.  Written notice is necessary and discussion of the bill “focuses on the amendments and not on the bill as a whole.”[102] 

According to the Compendium, if no amendments are proposed during the reporting stage and the bill is adopted as is, then there is no debate and “. . . it may go immediately to third reading for adoption.  A bill that has been reported by a Committee of the Whole, with or without amendment, must be put to a vote immediately at report stage and may proceed to third reading the same day.”[103]

The third reading is regarded as the final stage through which a bill must pass in the House of Commons and “debate at this stage of the legislative process focuses on the final form of the bill.”[104] It is a stage where Members must determine whether the bill should be adopted by the House.[105] When the motion for third reading has carried, the Clerk of the House certifies that the bill has passed[106] and the Bill is then sent to the Senate for approval. Defeat of a motion for third reading will result in the withdrawal of the bill.[107]

5.  Repeated in Other House

The legislative process of the Senate is very similar to the one in the House of Commons, described above.[108]  However, it should be noted that the Senate cannot “initiate money bills (i.e. bills imposing taxes or providing for the collection or spending of public money).”[109]  The Senate Fact Sheet summarizes the relationship between the Senate and House of Commons in the legislative process as follows:

If the bill was introduced in the Senate, it is sent to the House of Commons, which will examine it in a similar three-reading process.  If the bill was introduced in the House of Commons and was not amended in the Senate, it is now ready for Royal Assent.

If a bill introduced [sic] in the House of Commons and was amended in the Senate, a message about the amendments is sent to the Commons, asking for their agreement.  If the Senate and the House of Commons do not agree on the contents of a bill, they may propose amendments until they reach agreement.  Once the two Houses agree on a final version, the bill is granted Royal Assent by the Queen or one of her Canadian representatives (usually the Governor General or a deputy), making it law.[110]

6.  Royal Assent

Royal Assent is a process by which a representative of the Crown approves an identical bill to one that has been passed by both houses of Parliament.  According to a Senate Procedural Note,

[t]he legislative process by which a bill becomes part of the law of the land requires the participation and approval of the three components of Parliament: the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons.  Royal Assent and the accompanying ceremony, where all three institutions are present, are the visible manifestation of the Crown sanctioning the work of Parliament.[111]

Royal Assent is the last stage that a bill must complete before officially becoming an Act of Parliament and part of Canada’s laws.  Royal Assent can be given by “the Governor General or either a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada or the Secretary to the Governor General, acting as deputy of the Governor General.”[112]  Royal Assent may be given in two ways: by ceremony, or by written declaration.  If it is conveyed through a ceremony, “Royal Assent is accorded in the Senate Chamber in the presence of members of the House and Senate.”[113]  Prior to the passage of the Royal Assent Act of 2002,[114] this was the only means to signify approval, but since 2002 it may be signified by a written declaration.[115]

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Prepared by Tariq Ahmad
Foreign Law Specialist
January 2016


[2] Id.

[4] Id. § 7.

[5] Statute of Westminster, Historica Canada: Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia. ca/en/article/statute-of-westminster/, archived at https://perma.cc/24Q5-EMUS

[7] Id. § 2.

[8] In 1841, Lower Canada, now known as Quebec, and Upper Canada, now known as Ontario, joined to form the Province of Canada.

[9] The Parliament Buildings,Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/about/parliament/publications/ parliamentbuildings/parlblgs-e.asp (last updated Dec. 2006), archived at https://perma.cc/Q27S-JLQY

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Parliament Buildings, Historica Canada: Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/ en/article/parliament-buildings/, archived at https://perma.cc/C8UN-PM2C.

[13] Parliamentary Institutions, in House of Commons Procedure and Practice (Robert Marleau & Camille Montpetit eds., 2000), http://www.parl.gc.ca/marleaumontpetit/DocumentViewer.aspx?Sec=Ch01&Seq= 2&Language=E, archived at https://perma.cc/P8S5-URLE

[14] Id.

[15] Lorraine Snyder & Dustin Martin, The Constitution and Canada’s Branches of Government, Centre for Constitutional Studies (Apr. 2, 2015), http://ualawccsprod.srv.ualberta.ca/ccs/index.php/constitutional-issues/democratic-governance/818-the-constitution-and-canada-s-branches-of-government, archived at https://perma.cc/K8UY-DBMX

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Parliamentary Institutions, supra note 13.

[19] Constitution Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Victoria, c. 3 (U.K.), § 91, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const//page-4.html#docCont, archived at https://perma.cc/K6NM-UYE2

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Snyder & Martin, supra note 15.

[23] Id.

[24] Constitution Act, 1867, § 21.

[25] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: The Canadian Parliament, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/about/parliament/guidetohoc/index-e.htm (last updated Dec. 2011), archived at https://perma.cc/LJU9-ZZXZ.

[26] Id.  Section 37 of the Constitution Act, 1867 stipulates that the House of Commons has 308 members, which was expanded to 338 on December 16, 2011, pursuant to the Fair Representation Act, S.C. 2011, c. 26, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/annualstatutes/2011_26/FullText.html, archived at https://perma.cc/N2PM-BNW9.

[27] Constitution Act, 1867, § 22.

[28] Id. § 23.

[29] Id. § 29(2).

[30] Glossary of Parliamentary Terms for Younger Students, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/ About/Parliament/Education/GlossaryElementary/index.asp?Language=E (last updated Feb. 2005), archived at https://perma.cc/E9XG-QB8J.

[31] Minority Government, The Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/ article/minority-government/ (last visited Dec. 8, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/Q4A9-S5NM.

[32] Id.

[33] “A political party must have at least 12 Members in the House of Commons to be a ‘recognized party’ for the purposes of parliamentary proceedings.”  Party Standings in the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/parliamentarians/en/partystandings (last updated Dec. 2011), archived at https://perma. cc/9525-BHND.

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Canada’s Senators, Parliament of Canada, http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/canada-senators-e.htm (last visited Jan. 4, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/8J9C-Q8SR

[37] Gloria Galloway, Liberals to Set Up Advisory Board for Senate Nominees, but B.C. Won’t Take Part, The Globe and Mail (Dec. 3, 2015), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/liberals-setting-up-advisory-board-to-fill-empty-senate-seats/article27577333/, archived at https://perma.cc/7UU5-C43M.

[38] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: Who’s Who in the House, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl. gc.ca/about/parliament/guidetohoc/who-e.htm (last updated Dec. 2011), archived at https://perma.cc/5Y7V-HKJS.

[39] Id.

[40] Id.

[41] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: Key Roles in the Senate, Parliament of Canada, http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/ publications/factsheets/fs-keyroles-e.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/9PNP-ZUMX.  

[42] Id.

[43] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: Who’s Who in the House, supra note 38.

[44] Id.

[45] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: Key Roles in the Senate, supra note 41.

[46] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: Who’s Who in the House, supra note 38.

[47] Id.

[48] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: Key Roles in the Senate, supra note 41.

[49] For a list of Committees in the House of Commons, see Committees: House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/Home, archived at https://perma.cc/Z5R5-38G5.  For the Senate see Senate Committees, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/sencommitteebusiness/?Language=E, archived at https://perma.cc/QEK7-U9VQ

[50] Committees, Compendium: House of Commons Procedure Online, Parliament of Canada, http://www. parl.gc.ca/About/House/Compendium/web-content/c_g_committees-e.htm (last updated Feb. 2010), archived at https://perma.cc/86UY-DKL9

[51] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: Senate Committees, Parliament of Canada (2012), http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/ publications/factsheets/fs-committees-e.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/3RYJ-7Z4D.  

[52] Guide to Government Publications Canada – Committees and Commissions, McMaster University Libraries, https://library.mcmaster.ca/govpubs/guides/committees_commissions.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/3RZV-3FXD.

[53] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: Senate Committees, supra note 41.

[54] Committees, supra note 50.

[55] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: The Canadian Parliament, supra note 25.

[56] Constitution Act, 1867, § 50.

[57] Fixed-Date Elections in Canada, PARLINFO, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/ provinceterritory/ProvincialFixedElections.aspx (last updated Jan. 12, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/4ZZT-ML3Q.

[58] Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/E-2.01.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/ 3424-F694.

[59] An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act S.C. 2007, c. 10, § 56.1(2), http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/ annualstatutes/2007_10/page-1.html, archived at https://perma.cc/4N74-SRHN.

[61] October 19, 2015, Election Results, Elections Canada, http://enr.elections.ca/National.aspx?lang=e, archived at https://perma.cc/26BL-RL7T.

[62] Past Elections, Elections Canada, http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=ele&dir=pas&document= index&lang=e (last visited Dec. 8, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/VZD8-XWG8.

[63] Canadian Government Collapses in No-Confidence Vote, The Guardian (Mar. 25, 2011), http://www.the guardian.com/world/2011/mar/26/canadian-government-no-confidence-vote, archived at https://perma.cc/XN6J-9CZ6.

[64] Guide to the Canadian House of Commons: The Canadian Parliament, supra note 25.

[65] Id.

[66] Fixed-Date Elections in Canada, supra note 57.

[67] The Electoral System of Canada, Elections Canada, http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?dir=ces&document= part1&lang=e&section=res (last visited Dec. 8, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/4WQ3-LP5S.

[68] Id.

[69] October 19, 2015 Election Results, Elections Canada, http://enr.elections.ca/National.aspx, archived at https://perma.cc/86W7-8R96

[70] Voter Turnout at Federal Elections and Referendums, Elections Canada, http://www.elections.ca/content. aspx?dir=turn&document=index&lang=e&section=ele, archived at https://perma.cc/2TYU-6D2W.

[71] The written rules that regulate the proceedings of the House of Commons are known as Standing Orders of the House of Commons (Oct. 2015), http://www.parl.gc.ca/about/house/standingorders/toc-e.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/4UN3-W3H7.  Senate proceedings are governed by the Rules of the Senate, http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/Rules/senrules_00-e.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/KW9U-WVXR.

[72] How a Government Bill Becomes Law – Canada,Queen’s University Library, http://library.queensu. ca/gov/bills_federal (last updated Aug. 27, 2014), archived at https://perma.cc/25KM-6BWD

[73] Legislative Process, Compendium: House of Commons Procedure Online, Parliament of Canada, http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/Compendium/web-content/c_g_legislativeprocess-e.htm (last updated Feb. 2010), archived at https://perma.cc/VU5D-3DJZ.

[74] Id.

[75] Bills: The Origin of New Legislation, Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research, http://legalresearch.org/ statutory/federal-statutes/bills, archived at https://perma.cc/LCA7-4HJU

[76] Types of Bills, Compendium: House of Commons Procedure Online, Parliament of Canada, http://www. parl.gc.ca/About/House/Compendium/web-content/c_d_typesbills-e.htm (last updated Feb. 2010), archived at https://perma.cc/P5LP-DTDC

[77] Id.

[78] Id.

[79] Id.

[80] Id.

[81] Id.

[82] Id.

[83] Types of Bills, supra note 76. 

[84] Id.

[85] Id.

[87] Id.

[88] See Chapter IX of Standing Orders of the House of Commons for rules on the legislative process by which Public bills are passed in the House of Commons. Standing Order 71 stipulates that “[e]very bill shall receive three several readings, on different days, previously to being passed. On urgent or extraordinary occasions, a bill may be read twice or thrice, or advanced two or more stages in one day.”  Rules on the legislative process of passing Public Bills in the Senate are provisioned under Chapter 10 of the Rules of the Senate.

[89] Bills: The Origin of New Legislation, supra note 75.

[90] Standing Orders of the House of Commons (Oct. 2015), Standing Order 54(1).

[91] Stages in the Legislative Process, House of Commons Procedure and Practice (2d ed. 2009), http://www.parl.gc.ca/procedure-book-livre/document.aspx?sbdid=da2ac62f-bb39-4e5f-9f7d-90ba3496d0a6&sb pidx=6, archived at https://perma.cc/PP7C-ZXSW.

[92] Legislative Process, supra note 73. 

[93] Id.

[94] Stages in the Legislative Process, supra note 91.

[95] Legislative Process, supra note 73.

[96] Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Standing Order 71(1)–(2).

[97] Stages in the Legislative Process, supra note 91.

[98] Legislative Process, supra note 73.

[99] Stages in the Legislative Process, supra note 91.

[100] Legislative Process, supra note 73.

[101] Id.

[102] Id.

[103] Id.; See also Standing Orders of the House of Commons,Standing Order 76.1(11).

[104] Id.

[105] Id.

[106] Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Standing Order 72.

[107] Legislative Process, supra note 73.

[108] Id.

[109] Senate of Canada Fact Sheet: The Senate and Legislation, Parliament of Canada,http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/ publications/factsheets/fs-legislation-e.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/K9P6-YASF.

[110] Id.

[111] Senate Procedural Notes No. 6, Royal Assent, Parliament of Canada (Sept. 2012), http://www.parl.gc.ca/ About/senate/proceduralNotes/pdf/Procedural-Note-6.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/K74C-CU5N.

[112] Id.

[113] Royal Assent, The Governor General of Canada, http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=13989 (last updated Dec. 14, 2010), archived at https://perma.cc/K83H-2BRQ.

[114] Royal Assent Act S.C. 2002, c. 15, § 2, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/R-8.6/page-1.html, archived at https://perma.cc/64C6-2SG6

[115] Id.