||Parliament of Canada - Parlement du Canada
|Structure of parliament
||House of Commons
|Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments)
|Nature of the mandate
||· Free representation (see also Art. 23 (1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons)
|Start of the mandate
||· When the MP is appointed, i.e. when the teller signs an MP's election report (Art. 50 of the Constitutional Law, 1867, codified as at 01.04.1996). However, an MP may not occupy his seat until he has taken the oath of allegiance (Art. 128 of the Constitutional Law, 1867).
|Validation of mandates
||· No validation
|End of the mandate
||· On the day when the legal term of the House ends or on the day of early dissolution (Art. 50 of the Constitutional Law, 1867). In both cases, MPs remain in office for salary purposes until the day of the election (Art. 69 of the Parliament of Canada Act.). The Administrative Rules and Regulations of the Board of Internal Economy provide that MPs shall continue to serve their constituents during the electoral period.
|Can MPs resign?
||· Yes, of their own free will (Art. 25 (1) of the Parliament of Canada Act)
· Procedure (Art. 25 to 27 of the Parliament of Canada Act)
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the Speaker of the House of Commons
|Can MPs lose their mandate?
||(a) Definitive exclusion from Parliament by the latter:
- Exclusion usually comes after an MP has been found guilty of a crime by a court. However, an official decision by the House of Commons is also needed to expel the MP from that body.
- The House may also definitively expel an MP for insulting Parliament, misconduct or other reasons (see also Code of Conduct). Procedure.
(b) Loss of mandate for incompatibility:
- Election of an MP to a provincial legislature (Art. 23 of the Parliament of Canada Act)
- Public duties and offices (Art. 32 and 35 of the Parliament of Canada Act)
- Parties to public contracts (Art. 34 and 35 of the Parliament of Canada Act). See also Code of Conduct.
- Trading of favours (Art. 41 of the Parliament of Canada Act). See also Code of Conduct.
|STATUS OF MEMBERS
|Rank in hierarchy
||· Within Parliament: MPs enjoy equal status.
· Outside Parliament: the official order of precedence ranks the Speaker of the House of Commons in the 5th position, the Leader of the Opposition in the 8th position and Members of the House of Commons in the 20th position (version of 04.11.1993).
|Indemnities, facilities and services
||· Special passport (neither diplomatic nor official)
· Basic salary: CAN$ 64,400/month (as at 01.01.1991)
+ Additional allowance: for certain special functions
+ Expense allowance: CAN$ 21,300/year to CAN$ 28,200/year (depending on size of electoral district)
· Tax exemption for the expense allowance
· Pension scheme according to the 1952 Members of Parliament Retiring Allowance Act, last amended in 1995 (most important provisions)
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat/assistants: on Parliament Hill, furnished office and office supplies. "Office budget" for secretariat and assistants, etc., calculated on the basis of type of electoral district
(b) Official housing: see (e) Travel and transport
(c) Official car for the Speaker of the House and party leaders
(d) Postal and telephone services: for the office on Parliament Hill, free postage, telephone calls within Canada and almost everywhere in the US, e-mail. MPs' postage privileges are maintained for 10 days following (early) dissolution of Parliament.
(e) Travel and transport primarily on the basis of a points system
|Obligation to declare personal assets
|Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability
||· The concept exists, and is called "freedom of speech". The privileges, immunities and powers granted to the House of Commons are those of the British House of Commons (see Art. 18 of the Constitutional Law, 1867 and Art. 4 of the Parliament of Canada Act).
· Parliamentary non-accountability is limited to words spoken or written by MPs and votes cast within Parliament. Words spoken by MPs outside Parliament which refer to an action exercised in Parliament may come under another form of privilege.
· Derogations: insulting Parliament (see Discipline)
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and offers, after the expiry of the mandate, protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
|Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability
||· The concept exists. The privileges, immunities and powers granted to the House of Commons are those of the British House of Commons (see Art. 18 of the Constitutional Law, 1867 and Art. 4 of the Parliament of Canada Act).
· It applies only to civil proceedings, covers all offences but only protects MPs from arrest and from being held in preventive custody, not from the opening of judicial proceedings against them and from their homes being searched. However, any searches of an MP's office on the premises of Parliament are subject to prior authorisation from the Speaker of the House of Commons.
· No derogations are foreseen.
· Parliamentary inviolability prevents MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal while Parliament is in session, and in cases where an MP is a party to proceedings as plaintiff or defendant or the accused.
· Protection is provided from 40 days before the start of the session up to 40 days after its prolongation or the early dissolution of Parliament. As it does not in general cover proceedings, it does not cover judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted:
- Competent authority to decide accordingly: the House of Commons
- MPs can be heard. Their only means of appeal is before the House of Commons itself.
· The House of Commons cannot subject the prosecution and/or detention to certain conditions. However, the courts, out of deference for the institution, are often prepared to collaborate to ensure that their proceedings do not coincide with sittings of the House of Commons.
· The House of Commons cannot suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members.
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned can only be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament by the judicial or penitentiary authorities.
|EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
||· There is a training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs.
· It is provided by the Clerk of the House with the collaboration of the Parliamentary Library. The various political parties also offer information meetings on the work and role of MPs.
· Handbooks of parliamentary procedure:
- The Précis of Procedure
- Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms (1991)
- Annotated Standing Orders of the House of Commons
|Participation in the work of the Parliament
||· It is not compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings or committee meetings. However, the sum of CAN$ 60/day is deducted from the sessional allowance and the expense allowances for each day, over and above 21, that MPs fail to attend sittings of the House.
||· The Standing Orders only set out in general terms the powers available to the Speaker to maintain order and decorum in the House (see Art. 10 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons). In practice, the Speaker has broad powers relating to both questions such as dress codes during deliberations and rules governing debate. See also Art. 11 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.
· Disciplinary measures foreseen:
- Call to order
- Naming with an order to leave the sitting (Art. 11 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons) or with any other measure taken by the House
- Exclusion from Parliament
- Reprimand, admonition, suspension, imprisonment, etc.
· Specific cases:
- Insulting Parliament: all possible penalties
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties:
- Call to order, naming and order to leave the sitting (Art. 11 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons): the Speaker
- Suspension from Parliament, exclusion from Parliament, reprimand, admonition, imprisonment, etc.: the House of Commons
- Specific cases (insulting Parliament): the Speaker of the House of Commons (see Procedure, contempt of Parliament)
- For naming and order to leave the sitting see Art. 11 of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons
- Suspension from Parliament
- Exclusion from Parliament: this usually occurs once a file on the conviction has been deposited with the Board or following the submission of a committee report.
|Code (rules) of conduct
||· This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system but there are some relevant provisions (Art. 34 and 41 of the Parliament of Canada Act, Art. 121 and 122 of the Criminal Code).
· Penalties foreseen for violation of these rules:
- In case of violation of Art. 34 of the Parliament of Canada Act (ban on being a party to public contracts), MPs lose their mandate and are liable to a penalty of CAN$ 200 for each day they continue to sit or vote (Art. 35 and 36 of the Parliament of Canada Act).
- MPs who contravene Art. 41 of the Parliament of Canada Act (ban on trading of favours) are liable to a fine of CAN$ 500 to 2,000. They also have their mandate revoked and may not hold office in the federal public administration for a period of 5 years after they have been found guilty (Art. 41 (2) of the Parliament of Canada Act).
- In case of violations of the Criminal Code, Art. 750 of the Criminal Code stipulates that any person holding public office who is found guilty of a criminal act and sentenced accordingly to two years' imprisonment or more shall be unable to stand for election, to sit or to vote as a Member of Parliament until he has served the sentence imposed upon him.
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the House of Commons itself or the courts. As the competence of the House over its Members is exclusive, an official decision of the House is required in the final instance to deprive an MP of his mandate following a violation of the Criminal Code.
· Procedure: MPs may, as a means of appeal, have themselves heard during the deliberations held by Parliament or before the court.
|Relations between MPs and pressure group
||· There are no legal provisions in this field.