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Canadian Documents Gallery

Parliament

Photograph of the Hon. Sir David Lewis MacPherson (1818-1896), Senator and Minister without Portfolio, wearing robes of the Speaker of the Senate, Ottawa, June 1881

The Hon. Sir David Lewis MacPherson (1818-1896), Senator and Minister without Portfolio, wearing robes of the Speaker of the Senate, Ottawa, June 1881
Source ]

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. The Head of State is the Queen of Great Britain, represented in Canada by the Governor General. Established in 1867 under the provisions of the British North America Act, the Parliament of Canada consists of the Sovereign, an appointed Upper House -- the Senate -- and an elective Lower House -- the House of Commons. Canada's present government structure evolved from the system that governed the British colonies of North America before 1867.

Parliament must meet at least once a year and is made up of one or more sessions. A session can last a few days, but not more than five years. With the proroguing of Parliament, which brings to an end a particular session, the order paper is wiped clean of all unfinished business. The opening of a new session of Parliament begins with the Speech from the Throne, in which the government's legislative program for the session is announced.

Speech from the Throne, First Session, First Parliament, November 7, 1867, RG 14, series E-1, volume 1874, file Addresses 1867-68, 11 pages Source ]

Further Research

ARCHIVED - Canada by Design: Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Library and Archives Canada.
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/structures/parliament/index-e.html
(accessed June 13, 2010).

House of Commons fonds. Library and Archives Canada.
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/public_mikan/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem?=eng&rec_nbr=29&rec_nbr_list=29

Library of Parliament fonds. Library and Archives Canada.
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/public_mikan/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayItem?=eng&rec_nbr=25&rec_nbr_list=25

Parliament of Canada.
www.parl.gc.ca/common/index.asp?Language=E&Parl=39&ses=1
(accessed June 13, 2010).

Senate of Canada fonds. Library and Archives Canada.
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/public_mikan/index.php? fuseaction=genitem.displayItem?=eng&rec_nbr=28&rec_nbr_list=28