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Government Publications: Canada

Getting Started with Parliamentary Publications

Getting Started

Information about the starting and dissolution date as well as duration of the term, number of writs and governing party. 

Provides the former names of  the federal departments and areas of responsibility. Helpful to track the names of departmental name changes. 

  • Parliament of Canada homepage  offers a wealth of information about the workings of Parliament. 

  • LegisInfo - a database of bills and related information, indexed from 1994 to present although not all pre-2004 documents are available in electronic format.
  • Speech from the Throne:  officially opens every new session of Parliament. The Speech sets out the broad goals and directions of the government and the initiatives it will undertake to accomplish those goals. The Speech is usually given by The Queen’s representative, the Governor General. Until the Speech is delivered, no public business may be conducted by either the Senate or the House of Commons." From Speech of the Throne FAQ 
  • Canada Gazette - is the official newspaper of the Government of Canada. You can learn about new statutes, new and proposed regulations, administrative board decisions and public notices. Find out how government departments, businesses and other Canadian organizations can publish their public notices.

What is the composition of Parliament?

Parliament has three elements.

  1. Head of State. This is the Queen, represented in Canada by the Governor General.
  2. House of Commons - made up of 308 elected members.
  3. Senate - whose members are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
    • The Prime Minister - who is the head of government - is also appointed by the Governor General and is almost always the leader of the majority party in Parliament.

What does Parliament do?

Parliament's primary responsibility is making Canadian law. 

Other Parliamentary duties include debating issues such as the federal budget, taxation and public policy; working in home ridings; participating in committee/investigative work; and traveling around the world to represent Canadian interests abroad.

Why would I want to use Parliamentary publications in my research?

As noted above, the Parliament of Canada introduces Canadian law, debates issues of national importance, sets the federal budget and implements taxes. Parliamentary publications provide a public record for these activities - shining a spotlight on Canadian public policy as well as providing insight into social and political attitudes over time.

Parliamentary Procedures

House of Commons Procedures and Practice / edited by Audrey O'Brien and Marc Bosc 

Standing Orders of the House of Commons including the Conflict of Interest Code for Members. Parliament, House of Commons. 

Rules of the Senate. Senate, House of Commons

Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons, 2005.

New Library of Parliament Research Publications

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