Act of Parliament
a bill that has been passed by both the House of Commons and the Senate, has received Royal Assent and has been proclaimed
the ending of a sitting of the Senate or the House of Commons, which may be set to last from a few minutes to several months
a list of the items of business to be dealt with during the sitting of the Senate, the House of Commons or a committee
a change proposed to a motion, a bill or a committee report
a parliamentarian who is neither a minister nor a parliamentary secretary nor an opposition critic
a Parliament that has two separate legislative chambers (the House of Commons, sometimes referred to as the "Lower House", and the Senate, or "Upper House") where both houses, generally have equal privileges and powers but each is far from being a duplicate of the other
a proposed law submitted to Parliament for its approval, originating with the Government, a private senator or MP, or a committee, and relating to public or private interests
the executive of the Government, consisting of those senators and MPs appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister
a group composed of all Senators and MPs of a given party
the officer in charge of a meeting (in the Senate or the House of Commons, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker or the Acting Speaker; in a committee, the Committee Chair, Vice-Chair or Acting Chair)
the hall in which the Senate or the House of Commons meets to conduct its business
a body of senators, MPs, or senators and MPs selected to consider such matters (including bills) that Parliament may empower it to examine
any voting district entitled to have one MP represent it in the House of Commons (During debate, an MP is identified by the name of his or her constituency, not by his or her own name.) (Synonyms: electoral district, riding)
a member of a constituency
(1) Her Majesty the Queen (represented in Canada by the Governor General), in her role as the head of state; (2) the executive branch of government, in its role of representing the Queen by acting through her agents (the members of Cabinet)
dissenting opinion
a brief item, added to a standing committee report, that contains opinions or recommendations (proposed by one or more members of the committee) that are contrary to, or in addition to, the contents of the report
federal system
a country where powers are shared between two levels of government (in the case of Canada, federal and provincial)
general election
an election during which MPs are selected for every riding in Canada by votes cast by secret ballot and where the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes in a riding becomes that riding's MP in the House of Commons
in Canada, the Cabinet (headed by the Prime Minister), which has the authority from the Crown to make decisions
government bill
any bill introduced by a minister
government business
any bill or motion introduced in the Senate or the House of Commons by the Government
Government Orders
(1) items of business introduced by the Government, and placed on the agenda of the Senate or House of Commons; (2) a period set aside each day for dealing with Government Orders
the printed, word-for-word record of the proceedings in the Senate and the House of Commons, published after each sitting, and named after the British family originally responsible for the writing of the proceedings of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom (Synonym: the Debates)
either the Senate or the House of Commons
House of Commons
the elected part of the Parliament of Canada (currently made up of 338 MPs)
in camera meeting
a meeting from which the public is excluded
a procedure in the Senate whereby senators, after giving two days' notice, call the attention of the Senate to a matter of particular interest or importance
the minutes of the meetings of the Senate and the House of Commons (also called "Votes and Proceedings" in unbound format)
the laws established by, or on the authority of, Parliament
a governing body empowered to make laws
a large, heavy and richly-ornamented staff that is the symbol of the authority of the House. When the Speaker takes the chair, the Mace is placed on the table by the Mace Bearer (in the Senate) or the Sergeant-at-Arms (in the House of Commons) to signify that the House is in session
member of Parliament (MP)
one of 338 parliamentarians (based on 338 constituencies, each entitled to one seat in the House of Commons) elected by popular vote at least once every five years to sit in the House of Commons and whose duties include representing constituents' concerns, serving on committees, proposing legislation, participating in Commons debates, and discussing and amending bills (“Member of Parliament” officially refers to both senators and MPs, but it is commonly used in reference to the parliamentarians in the House of Commons.)
a proposal made in Parliament by one parliamentarian requesting the House do something or order something done, or expressing an opinion about some matter
Official Opposition
the party (or coalition of parties) that holds the second-largest number of seats in the House of Commons and has certain advantages over other parties in opposition (When the term "Opposition" appears with the first letter capitalized, it refers to the Official Opposition.)
See Official Opposition
opposition party
a political party that is neither the Government party nor part of a coalition of parties that forms the Government
opposition critic
an MP, belonging to a party in opposition, responsible for presenting his or her party's policies in a given area, and commenting on the Government's policies in that area (See shadow cabinet)
oral question period
a daily, 45-minute period in the House of Commons, 30 minutes in the Senate, during which oral questions may be addressed to ministers and committee chairs (Synonyms: oral questions, Question Period)
Order Paper
an agenda (list of items of business) for the day
other business
a bill or motion sponsored by a private senator, referred to as “private members’ business” in the House of Commons (A period is devoted to this business each sitting day.)
(1) the law-making branch of Government, composed of the Queen (represented by the Governor General), the Senate and the House of Commons; (2) the period during which the Parliament of Canada exercises its powers, extending from the time when senators and MPs are first summoned after an election to dissolution (the ending of Parliament)
a member of the Senate or the House of Commons (See Senator or MP)
parliamentary procedure
the rules by which the Senate and the House of Commons conduct their business and from which the Speaker bases his or her decisions
parliamentary secretary
a member of the Government party named for a period of one year to assist a minister as the minister directs. A parliamentary secretary may table documents or answer questions on the minister's behalf, but may not present government bills
parliamentary system of government
a system of government in which the Cabinet is appointed from among parliamentarians of the governing party and in which the Cabinet holds power, but in order to keep it, its major decisions must be supported by the majority of the House of Commons
a request made by Canadian residents to Parliament for some action, which can only be presented by a senator or an MP and may be presented during Routine Proceedings at any sitting, or, in the House of Commons, may be filed with the Clerk
political party
a group of people sharing a set of goals and a particular ideology or way of thinking and who puts forward candidates for election to Parliament
the federal department for which a minister is responsible
Prime Minister
the leader of the Government (ordinarily the leader of the party having the greatest number of seats in the House of Commons), who is appointed by the Governor General and who selects the other members of the Cabinet and, along with them, is responsible to the House for the administration of public affairs
principle (of a bill)
the objective or related objectives that a bill seeks to achieve, which is adopted at its second reading
private member
strictly speaking, any parliamentarian who is not a minister (Sometimes, deputy leaders (Senate), house leaders (House of Commons), party whips, opposition critics and parliamentary secretaries are not considered private members.)
private member's bill
a bill sponsored by a parliamentarian who is not part of the Cabinet
private member's business
a bill or motion sponsored by a private member, referred to as “other business” in the Senate (Note: A period is devoted to this business each sitting day.)
the actions taken by the Senate, House of Commons or a committee, including, most importantly, the decisions that are taken
an official notice or order given by the Crown (For example, a session of Parliament begins with a Throne Speech followed by a proclamation summoning Parliament to meet.)
the formal termination of a session of Parliament by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, bringing all parliamentary business to an end, abolishing all pending legislation, and halting all committee work until the opening of the next session
put the question
to put a motion to a vote (in the House by the Speaker), ending any further debate or amendment
Question Period
See oral question period
reading of a bill
one of three stages (introduction, second and third) in the passage of a bill, each with its own individual function
a motion adopted by the House in order to make a declaration of opinion or purpose (A resolution does not require that any action be taken.)
See constituency
routine proceedings
business of a basic nature, for which a daily period is set aside in the House to address such items as tabling documents, presenting petitions, introducing bills and, in the House of Commons, statements by ministers
Royal Assent
the approval, given by a representative of the Crown (usually by a deputy of the Governor General), of a bill passed by the House of Commons and Senate, which is performed in the Senate Chamber in the presence of MPs and Senators and which makes the bill into an Act of Parliament (Since 2002, Royal Assent may now be done in writing without ceremony.)
rules of the Senate
the collection of the permanent written rules adopted by the Senate for its proceedings
the House of the Parliament of Canada that consists of 105 senators, appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, which possesses almost all of the same powers as the House of Commons
one of 105 parliamentarians appointed to the Senate by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, whose duties include examining and revising legislation, investigating national issues and representing regional, provincial and minority interests, introducing their own bills and sitting on committees in order to examine specific social and economic issues in detail, and who - unless they die, resign, are disqualified, or their seat is declared vacant - hold office until they retire at age 75 (Senators must be at least 30 years of age, reside in the province for which they have been summoned, and have real and personal property worth $4,000, in excess of any debts and liabilities.)
session of Parliament
one of the basic periods into which a Parliament is divided, beginning with a Throne Speech and ending by prorogation, which is decided by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (Each Parliament includes one or more sessions, which may be of any length.)
shadow cabinet
the group of parliamentarians in each opposition party, especially the Official Opposition, chosen to act as party critics for each of the ministerial portfolios
shadow minister
the MP of an opposition party assigned the task of acting as the party's critic for a specific government ministry
sitting of Parliament
(1) a meeting of the Senate or the House of Commons within a session, which may last for only a matter of minutes or may extend over several calendar days, and which ends with adjournment for the day (2) a reference to the sittings of the Senate or the House of Commons during a particular period (for example, the Autumn sitting, from September to the Christmas adjournment)
special committee
a group of senators, MPs, or senators and MPs, appointed to study a particular matter (Once a special committee has made its final report, the committee is dissolved.)
Speech from the Throne
a speech normally delivered by the Governor General (although it may be read by the Queen) in the Senate Chamber in the presence of parliamentarians from both chambers at the opening of a session of Parliament, outlining the Government's plans for the session
standing committee
a permanent committee that studies matters referred to it, or other matters within its area of responsibility
Standing Orders
the collection of permanent written rules adopted by the House for its proceedings
tabling of documents
the first item called by the Speaker under routine proceedings, when ministers and parliamentary secretaries have the opportunity to table reports or responses to petitions, committee reports and other documents
Throne Speech
See Speech from the Throne
the formal expression of opinion necessary to reach a decision, given either orally or by the Senators or MPs standing in their places
a parliamentarian responsible for keeping other MPs of the same party informed about House business and ensuring the attendance of the party’s MPs in the House, especially when a vote is expected (Each party normally has a chief whip and one or more deputy whips.)

For further parliamentary terms, refer to the Glossary of Parliamentary Procedure on the parliamentary website.