The Legislature

Further Readings

Serge, J. &Seidman, J. (2019).Reflecting on Our Past and Embracing our Future:  A Senate Initiative for Canada. Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press. This recently published book consists of experiences and wisdom shared by activists, politicians, and scholars on how the Canadian senate has evolved over the last 50 years. This book discusses some of the issues associated with the role of the senate, attempted senate reforms, and the future of Parliamentary democracy in Canada by reflecting on specific social and economic issues.

Serge. (2003). Protecting Canadian democracy: The Senate You Never Knew. Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press. This book has a historical and comparative perspective to understanding the role of the Canadian Senate. In addition to its comparison and historical development, this book also examines Senate reforms that have taken place over the years and examines the Senate through its constitutional framework and amendment procedures.

Loat, A. & MacMillan, C.M. (2014).Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak out about Canada's failing Democracy. Toronto, ON: Random House Canada. Although this book is written by members of a think tank, it does focus on the experiential side of working in the House of Commons. The authors interviewed former Members of Parliament and wrote about their experience as MPs in a very candid manner.

Rathgeber, B. (2014). Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press. This book is another candid perspective on the doings (and wrongdoings) in Parliament, with a specific focus on the concept and practice of responsible government. It is very relevant to this chapter as it does give an insightful and detailed perspective on the separation between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Russell, P.H. (2008). Two Cheers for Minority Government: The Evolution of Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. Toronto, ON: Emond Montgomery Publications. This book details the pros and cons of being ruled under a minority government in comparison to ineffective majority governments.

Kennedy, S., Chong, M. & Simms, S. (eds.). (2017).Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy. Vancouver, BC: Douglas &MacIntyre. This book evaluates modern day parliamentary reforms and emphasizes the need to change leadership roles and responsibilities at the executive and legislative levels. This cross-partisan book was edited by three Members of Parliament representing different political parties and includes collaboration from various Members of Parliament from different political parties.

Page, K. (2016).Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill. Ottawa, ON: Penguin Group Canada. This book provides a first-hand account on government spending, transparency and accountability through the lens of the first Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page. This book provides a very direct interpretation of what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to budget and the federal government’s spending powers.

Recommended Websites The official website of the auditor general of Canada includes links to auditor general reports, senate expenses, and various other expense and commission reports. The website of the Senate of Canada provides specific information on senators and its members. This is probably one of the most significant websites for this chapter, as it details information about the House of Commons, its members, information on the different levels of government, procedures and questions, as well as information regarding representation. The Speech from the throne is an important aspect of Canadian parliamentary systems as it initiates the beginning of a new parliamentary session. This website includes full text versions of the speech from previous parliamentary sessions dating back to the first Speech from the Throne in 1869. This website is dedicated to documents detailing budget, government expenses, and expenditure plans and estimates. The official website of the Parliament of Canada includes information on parliamentary business, chamber, and current business,as well as information on bills, procedures, petitions, journals, and many other aspects of the Parliament of Canada. This archived website lists and organizes all current and past bills that are going through or were passed before Parliament. The official website of all House of Commons Committees is a great website that also provides additional links to the specific committees. This website is a specific guide to the Canadian House of Commons and includes a who’s who in the House, the role of MPs, an explanation of a typical day in the House of Commons, and many other informative tools regarding the procedures and mechanisms of the House of Commons.

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