The House of Commons of Canada (French: Chambre des communes) is a part of the Parliament of Canada, along with the Sovereign (represented by the Governor General) and the Senate. The House of Commons is an elected body, of 338 members, who are known as Members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected for a maximum of four years at a time. Each member is elected by one of the country's federal electoral districts which are usually called ridings.
The House of Commons was established in 1867, when the British North America Act 1867 created the Dominion of Canada, and was modelled on the British House of Commons. The House of Commons is sometimes called the "lower house", even though it has more power than the "upper house", the Senate. Both Houses is must agree to new laws but the Senate very rarely rejects bills passed by the Commons (though the Senate does occasionally amend bills). The Government of Canada is responsible only to the House of Commons. The Prime Minister stays in office only as long as he or she has the support of the Lower House.
Unlike the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the powers of the Parliament of Canada are limited, because provincial legislatures have the sole right to pass laws about some things.
Until 1982 only the Parliament of the United Kingdom had the power to change the British North America Act, this was to protect the rights and powers of the provincial legislatures. This was changed by the Canada Act. In Canada the British North America Act is now called the Constitution Act.
A lot of the work of the House of Commons is done by committees which can spend more time investigating a subject than the whole House of Commons could
List of committees
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
- Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
- Agriculture and Agri-Food
- Canadian Heritage
- Citizenship and Immigration
- Environment and Sustainable Development
- Fisheries and Oceans
- Foreign Affairs and International Development
- Government Operations and Estimates
- Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
- Industry, Science and Technology
- International Trade
- Justice and Human Rights
- Liaison Committee
- National Defence
- Natural Resources
- Official Languages
- Procedure and House Affairs
- Public Accounts
- Public Safety and National Security
- Status of Women
- Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
- Veterans Affairs
House of Commons of Canada Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.