||Parliament of Canada - Parlement du Canada
|Structure of parliament
|Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments)
House of Commons
|Nature of the mandate
||· Free representation
|Start of the mandate
||· When the senators are appointed (see Art. 24 of the Constitutional Law, 1867, codified as at 01.04.1996). However, senators may not take up their seats until they have sworn the oath of allegiance and submitted their statement of qualifications (Art. 128 of the Constitutional Law, 1867).
|Validation of mandates
||· No validation
|End of the mandate
||· When senators reach the age of 75 (the Senate cannot be dissolved)
|Can MPs resign?
||· Yes, of their own free will (Art. 30 of the Constitutional Law, 1867)
· Procedure (see Art. 30 of the Constitutional Law, 1867): resignations are addressed by letter to the Governor General.
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the agreement of the Senate is not required.
|Can MPs lose their mandate ?
|| (a) Definitive exclusion from Parliament by the latter: Art. 31 of the Constitutional Law, 1867 provides that a senator's seat may fall vacant in the following cases:
- Non-attendance of Senate sittings for two consecutive sittings
- Allegiance to a foreign power
- Conviction for treason, a felony or an infamous crime
- Failure to meet the property or domicile requirement
It is for the Senate to decide on such questions (Art. 33 of the Constitutional Law, 1867).
|STATUS OF MEMBERS
|Rank in hierarchy
||· Within Parliament: Senators enjoy the same status.
· Outside Parliament: the official order of precedence ranks the President of the Senate in the 4th position and senators in the 19th position (version of 04.11.1993).
|Indemnities, facilities and services
||· Official passport (neither diplomatic nor duty)
· Basic salary: CAN$ 64,800/month + Additional allowance: CAN$ 10,100/month
· Tax exemption for the additional allowance
· Pension scheme: the pension is calculated on the basis of the average sessional allowance received during the six best years of service, multiplied by 3/100 for each year of service conferring pension entitlements, up to 25 years.
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat/Assistants: office, basic sum for outfitting the office and a budget of CAN$ 90,000/year for secretariat staff and researchers, service contracts, and additional office equipment
(b) Security guards: the Senate has its own protection service (no individual service).
(c) Postal and telephone services: free postage throughout Canada for ordinary mail and free phone calls according to the limits set by Senate policy
(d) Travel and transport: free travel inside Canada within the limits set by Senate policy; limited moving expenses
|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 Senate 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 senators and votes cast within Parliament. Words spoken by senators 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 in Parliament during the exercise of the mandate.
|Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability
||· The concept exists. The privileges, immunities and powers granted to the Senate 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 and covers all offences but only protects senators 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, all searches of senators' offices on the premises of Parliament require prior authorisation from the President of the Senate.
· No derogations are foreseen.
· Parliamentary inviolability prevents senators from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal while Parliament is in session, also in cases where senators are 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. As it does not in general cover prosecution, it does not cover judicial proceedings instituted against senators before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted:
- Competent authority: the Senate
- Senators have an opportunity to be heard. Their only means of appeal is before the Senate itself.
· The Senate 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 Senate.
· The Senate cannot suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members.
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, only the judicial or penitentiary authorities can authorise the senators concerned to attend sittings of Parliament.
|EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
||· (a) Briefing, for senators appointed for the first time, on their parliamentary and legal rights, immunities and privileges, as well as on their salary and their rights on the administrative level
(b) Personalised training upon request
· Training is provided by:
(a) The Clerk and senior managerial staff
(b) Procedural Research service established within the Journals office in Legislative Services
· Handbooks of parliamentary procedure:
- The Senator's Handbook
- Companion to the Rules of the Canadian Senate (1994)
- Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms (1991)
- Parliamentary Privilege in Canada (Maingot, 1987)
|Participation in the work of the Parliament
||· It is not compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings or committee meetings except by order given by the Senate to one or more of its members or an order given by the whips.
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation:
- Order of the Senate: probably a charge of contempt of the Senate
- Order of the whip: any penalty is decided by the party
· Body competent to judge such cases/to impose penalties:
- Order of the Senate: the Senate
- Order of the whip: the party
||· The rules governing discipline within the Senate are contained, inter alia, in Rules 18(1) to (4) and 51 to 55 of the Rules of the Senate and in customary law.
· Disciplinary measures foreseen (see for example Rules 18(1) to (4) and 51 to 55 of the Rules of the Senate):
- Call to order
- Public reprimand
- Order to leave the sitting
- Order to present apologies
- Suspension from Parliament
- Exclusion from Parliament (only according to Art. 31 and 33 of the Constitutional Law, 1867; see Can senators lose their mandate?)
· Specific cases
- Contempt of the Senate: all possible penalties
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the President and/or the Senate (suspension, exclusion, contempt)
|Code (rules) of conduct
||· This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system but there are some relevant provisions (notably Art. 14 to 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act, Art. 118 to 122 of the Criminal Code).
· Penalties foreseen for violation of these rules:
- In case of violation of Art. 14 of the Parliament of Canada Act (ban on being a party to contracts involving public funds), senators are liable to a penalty of CAN$ 200 for each day of infraction (Art. 14(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act). Senators who infringe Art. 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act (ban on trading of favours) are liable to a penalty of CAN$ 1,000 to 4,000.
- The penalties foreseen by the Criminal Code range from fines to prison terms.
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the Senate or the judicial authorities. The Senate may apply disciplinary measures to enforce compliance with its decisions (see Discipline).
· Procedure: senators may appeal the decisions of a judicial authority to a higher instance, including before the Supreme Court of Canada. Decisions by the President of the Senate and those of the Senate may only be appealed before the Senate itself.
|Relations between MPs and pressure group
||· Law on the registering of lobbyists: lobbyists are obliged to provide certain details via a questionnaire.