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Question Period

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HTML Version: Question Period

How well you know your Parliament? Play the game to test your knowledge! To answer a question, select the text you believe is correct from among the options on the right. Once you are finished you can compare your selections to the answers listed below. Note that questions go up in difficultly as the numbers get higher.

Famous Faces

100 points - Who is this person?
bill Canadian $10.00 bill (used with the permission of the Bank of Canada)

see answer


200 points - Who is the subject of this sculpture?
sculpture Copyright Library of Parliament Mone Cheng

see answer


300 points - Which of the following statements about women in Parliament is incorrect?

see answer


400 points - Which of the following Prime Ministers is not matched up with the right accomplishment(s)?

see answer


500 points - Which of the following recognitions was given to a Canadian senator?

see answer

Senate Scene

100 points - To be appointed as a senator you must

see answer


200 points - What is the role of the Senate in Canada?

see answer


300 points - Why is there a throne in the Senate?
throne

see answer


400 points - There are 105 seats in the Senate. How are these divided across Canada?

see answer


500 points - What is the role of the Usher of the Black Rod?

see answer

Centre Stage

100 points - What is the name of the building in this picture?
What is the name of the building in this picture? Copyright Library of Parliament

see answer


200 points - What is this instrument?
bill Copyright Library of Parliament - Janet Brooks

see answer


300 points - A tower stands in front of the Centre Block of Parliament. What is it called and why was it built?
tower Copyright Library of Parliament - Roy Grogan

see answer


400 points - The Parliament buildings are located in Ottawa. Why was Ottawa chosen to be the capital of Canada?

see answer


500 points - Who oversees the carving and sculpture program of Centre Block?

see answer

On "Commons" Ground

100 points - Which term describes all elected representatives who sit in the House of Commons?

see answer


200 points - How does someone become the Prime Minister of Canada?

see answer


300 points - Which of the following is not a role of the Speaker of the House of Commons?

see answer


400 points - This is a picture of the House of Commons Chamber. Identify the items indicated by the numbers on the image:
House of Commons Chamber

see answer


500 points - A bill goes through many stages before it becomes a law. Which steps are missing?
Which steps are missing? Copyright Library of Parliament

see answer

Canadian De"M"ocracy

100 points - What is a Member of the Canadian Cabinet called?

see answer


200 points - What object is pictured here?
What object is pictured here? Copyright Library of Parliament Gordon King

see answer


300 points - What is the term when one party wins more seats in the House of Commons than all other parties combined?

see answer


400 points - What is Canada’s system of government called?

see answer


500 points - Who is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history?

see answer



View Answers

Famous Faces
100 points - Who is this person?
bill Canadian $10.00 bill (used with the permission of the Bank of Canada)

Sir George Étienne Cartier, Father of Confederation and Cabinet Minister in the first Canadian Parliament

Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister during the First World War

Answer: Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s First Prime Minister

Louis Riel, Manitoban politician and leader of two Métis rebellions

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Take Note:

  • Macdonald was Prime Minister of Canada from1867 to 1873 and from 1878 to 1891.
  • Macdonald led 6 majority governments, the most of any Canadian Prime Minister.
  • Between 1867 and 1873, Macdonald saw British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and PEI enter into the Canadian union.
  • Macdonald took a leading role in building a railway to connect the country from east to west.

200 points - Who is the subject of this sculpture?
sculpture Copyright Library of Parliament Mone Cheng

Queen Elizabeth II, the current Queen of Canada

The statue is a stylized representation of Democracy, not a specific person

Answer: Queen Victoria, who reigned at the time of Confederation

The symbol of Canada as a country

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Take Note:

  • Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901.
  • In 1867 Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act, the document which officially made Canada a country.
  • There are over 300 towns, cities and villages in Canada named after Queen Victoria.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is the current Queen of Canada.

300 points - Which of the following statements about women in Parliament is incorrect?

In 1980 Jeanne Sauvé became the first female Speaker of the House of Commons.

The first woman to be the head of a political party in North America was Audrey McLaughlin. She was elected to the House of Commons in 1987.

Kim Campbell was sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Canada in 1993.

Answer: Michaëlle Jean became the first female Governor General when she was appointed in 1984.

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Take Note:

  • Canadian women have been active in Parliament since Agnes Macphail became the first elected female Member of Parliament In 1921.
  • Jeanne Sauvé became a Member of the House of Commons in 1972, the first female Speaker of the House of Commons in 1980, and was appointed the first female Governor General in 1984.
  • In November of 1993 Kim Campbell became Canada’s first female Prime Minister.
  • Michaëlle Jean served as Canada’s 27th Governor General between September 2005 and October 2010.

400 points - Which of the following Prime Ministers is not matched up with the right accomplishment(s)?

Answer: Alexander Mackenzie’s Government introduced the GST, approved the new maple leaf flag and saw the creation of the Yukon Territory.

Lester Bowles Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the creation of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces.

During his time as Prime Minister, Richard Bedford Bennett’s Government oversaw the creation of the Bank of Canada, the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission.

Mackenzie Bowell and John Joseph Caldwell Abbott are the only two Prime Ministers to date who have led the Government from the Senate.

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Take Note:

  • Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie (1873-1878) introduced the secret ballot and created the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier’s Government (1896-1911) created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan out of the Northwest Territories in 1905 and the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910.
  • In 1965 Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson’s Government (1963-1968) approved the current Canadian flag.
  • Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau‘s administration (1968 -1979 and 1980-1984) developed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, established official bilingualism in the federal government, and oversaw Canada’s joining of the G7 in 1976.

500 points - Which of the following recognitions was given to a Canadian senator?

Two of Senator Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie’s scientific accomplishments were recognized as Milestones of Canadian Chemistry in the 20th Century.

Senator Nancy Greene Raine is recognized in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame for her many victories in alpine skiing.

Senator Roméo Dallaire received the Governor General’s Literary Award for his book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, which is about his experiences commanding the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda.

Answer: All of the above.

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Take Note:

  • Senators are usually appointed because they have made a significant contribution to Canadian society. In addition to those mentioned in the question, other notable Senators include:
  • Hockey player Frank Mahovlich, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Social worker Anne C. Cools, who was the first black, female Senator in North America.
Senate Scene

100 points - To be appointed as a senator you must

Be a Canadian citizen and live in the province or territory for which you are appointed.

Be at least 30 years old.

Have real estate worth at least $4,000 net.

Answer: All of the above.

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Take Note:

  • Senators are appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Senators are appointed until the age of 75.
  • People from many different backgrounds have become Senators, including Aboriginal leaders, artists, scientists, nurses, teachers, journalists, business people, doctors, police officers and even hockey players.
  • Having people with such diverse backgrounds in the Senate helps ensure that the interests of all Canadians are represented.

200 points - What is the role of the Senate in Canada?

Review and debate bills proposed by the House of Commons, as well as propose and debate new bills for matters that do not involve money.

Represent minority interests in Canada.

Investigate and create reports on matters of importance to Canadians through special committees.

Answer: All of the above.

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Take Note:

  • In the Chamber, Senators discuss, debate and vote on laws that affect all Canadians.
  • Many bills can be introduced in either the House of Commons or the Senate. However, private bills (proposed laws that are written to help a named individual or company) are almost always introduced in the Senate.
  • Outside the Chamber, most of the Senate’s work is done in committees.
  • To prevent Senators from having to be in two places at once, the Senate does not sit at the same time as committees.

300 points - Why is there a throne in the Senate?
throne Copyright Library of Parliament - McElligott Photography Ltd

The Senate is decorated with royal artifacts.

Answer: The Queen or her representative in Canada, the Governor General, sits on the throne when officially addressing Parliament or when participating in parliamentary business.

Queen Victoria gave the throne in Centre Block to the Senate as a gift in 1867, when Canada became a country. The throne in the Senate of Canada Building (pictured) was built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

The Speaker of the Senate sits on the Throne when overseeing Chamber proceedings.

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Take Note:

  • There are two thrones in the Senate. The larger one is for the Monarch or the Governor General and the other is for his or her consort.
  • The Speaker of the Senate sits in the large chair in front of the thrones.
  • The governing party traditionally sits to the Speaker’s right.
  • Members of the opposition traditionally sit on the Speaker’s left-hand side.

400 points - There are 105 seats in the Senate. How are these divided across Canada?

By Region: 12 for British Columbia, 12 for Alberta, 12 for Saskatchewan, 12 for Manitoba, 12 for Ontario, 12 for Quebec, 6 for each territory, 9 for the Maritimes and 6 for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Answer: By Region: 24 for the Maritime region, 24 for the Western region, 24 for Ontario, 24 for Quebec, 1 for each territory, and 6 for Newfoundland and Labrador.

By population: British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec each have 15, the 7 other provinces each have 8, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories each have 1 and the Yukon has 2.

Random: based on a draw which happens at the beginning of each new Parliament.

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Take Note:

  • The number of Senators is determined by region while the number of Members of the House of Commons is calculated based on the population of an area.
  • Regions with lower populations may have greater representation in the Senate than in the House of Commons.
  • Quebec is the only region to be further divided by specific senatorial districts.
  • The Constitution allows the Prime Minister to ask the Monarch to appoint 4 or 8 extra Senators to break a deadlock between the Senate and the House of Commons. However, this has only been done once.

500 points - What is the role of the Usher of the Black Rod?

Advises the Speaker on points of procedure.

Records all Senate proceedings in Hansard (the official transcript of parliamentary debates).

Answer: Responsible for security in the Senate Chamber.

Carries the Mace to and from the Senate Chamber during the Senate Speaker’s parade.

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Take Note:

  • The Usher of the Black Rod is appointed by the Governor General.
  • The title Usher of the Black Rod refers to the ebony cane that he or she carries as a symbol of his or her authority.
  • The Usher of the Black Rod has many ceremonial duties such as leading the daily Senate Speaker’s parade to and from the Chamber.
  • He or she also has many managerial and administration responsibilities including running the Senate Page Program.
Centre Stage

100 points - What is the name of the building in this picture?
What is the name of the building in this picture? Copyright Library of Parliament

Answer: Centre Block

Sussex Drive

Westminster Abbey

Rideau Hall

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Take Note:

  • Centre Block is the permanent home for the Senate and the House of Commons Chambers.
  • The original Centre Block was destroyed by a fire in 1916 and had to be rebuilt.
  • Many of the interior walls are made of fossilized Tyndall Limestone from Garson, Manitoba.
  • In this building laws are created that impact all Canadians.

200 points - What is this instrument?
What is this instrument? Copyright Library of Parliament - Janet Brooks

The chimes used to call parliamentarians back to their respective Chamber for a vote.

Answer: A carillon, the musical instrument in Centre Block’s Peace Tower.

A glockenspiel, the percussion instrument played during the opening and closing ceremonies of Parliament.

The bells of Westminster Abbey, played inside the Parliament buildings everyday to remind parliamentarians of the system’s British roots.

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Take Note:

  • The carillon consists of series of bells, attached to a special touch-sensitive keyboard. The keys are attached to large metal clappers that strike the bells.
  • The carillon in the Peace Tower of Centre Block was installed in 1927 and has 53 bells.
  • The largest bell in the Peace Tower Carillon is the Bourdon, which weighs 11 tons (22,400 lbs).
  • In 2008, Dr. Andrea McCrady became the 5th Dominion Carillonneur for Parliament

300 points - A tower stands in front of the Centre Block of Parliament. What is it called and why was it built?
bill Copyright Library of Parliament - Roy Grogan

The Parliament tower, a style of tower typical of Gothic Revival architecture.

The Centennial Tower was added to the building in 1967, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of Canada becoming a country.

Answer: The Peace Tower was built between 1919 and 1927 to commemorate the Armistice of 1918 and the sacrifice made by Canada during the First World War.

The Victoria Tower was built between 1919 and 1927 to commemorate the fire that burned the Parliament buildings to the ground in 1916.

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Take Note:

  • The Peace Tower was originally built to honour Canadians who died in the First World War.
  • In the Tower is the Memorial Chamber, which is dedicated to all citizens who died in service to Canada.
  • The Room of Remembrance in West Block is the temporary home of the Books of Remembrance while Centre Block undergoes rehabilitation. The Books of Remembrance show the names of those who have died in service to Canada.
  • The flag that flies on top of the Peace Tower is changed every day.

400 points - The Parliament buildings are located in Ottawa. Why was Ottawa chosen to be the capital of Canada?

Ottawa was the largest city in Canada at the time.

Parliament used to rotate between Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal and Kingston. When it was decided that a capital and a permanent location for the government was needed they simply stopped the rotation where it was: in Ottawa.

When Canada became a country, Ottawa was selected by throwing a dart at a map, so that no one could claim favoritism.

Answer: Ottawa was on the border between Ontario and Quebec, was far away from the American border, and had a bilingual population.

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Take Note:

  • Ottawa was originally named Bytown, after Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the planner and chief builder of the Rideau Canal.
  • Bytown became Ottawa in 1855.
  • Before a capital was chosen Parliament moved between four cities: Montreal, Quebec City, Kingston, and Toronto.
  • In 1857, Queen Victoria selected Ottawa as the permanent capital of Canada.

500 points - Who oversees the carving and sculpture program of Centre Block?

The Curators of the House of Commons and the Senate

Answer: The Federal Government Sculptor

The Director of the National Gallery of Canada

The Parliamentary Clerks

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Take Note:

  • Carvings are a major part of the Centre Block. Moments in Canadian history, significant people, Canadian flora and fauna, and even mythical beasts can be found throughout the building.
  • Blank blocks were purposefully left in Centre Block for future generations of sculptors.
  • In 2006 Phil White became the 5th Federal Government Sculptor for Parliament.
  • The Federal Government Sculptor doesn’t just create new pieces; he or she also focuses on the restoration and preservation of the existing carvings.
On "Commons" Ground

100 points - Which term describes all elected representatives who sit in the House of Commons?

Associates of the House of Commons

Members of Government

Answer: Members of Parliament

Governing Members

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Take Note:

  • Most members belong to a political party.
  • Members who do not belong to a party are called independents.
  • The party with the most Members in the House of Commons usually forms the Government while the party with the second-largest number forms the Official Opposition.
  • Each Member who sits in the House of Commons represents a riding. There are 338 ridings in Canada.

200 points - How does someone become the Prime Minister of Canada?

By winning an election, where Canadian Citizens choose from a list of potential Prime Ministers on a voting ballot

Answer: By being the leader of the political party that wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons

By being the Member of Parliament who won by the biggest majority in their riding

By applying for the job to the Government of Canada and being the most successful candidate

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Take Note:

  • In Canada the Prime Minister is the Head of Government.
  • The Prime Minister is not the Head of State. This is the role of the Queen who is represented in Canada by the Governor General.
  • The Prime Minister is usually an elected Member of the House of Commons. However, two Prime Ministers have led the Government from the Senate: Mackenzie Bowell and John Joseph Caldwell Abbott.
  • If the Prime Minister does not get elected in his/her riding he or she can compete in a by-election in order to win a seat.

300 points - Which of the following is not a role of the Speaker of the House of Commons?

Acts as Spokesperson for the House to the Senate and the Crown

Oversees the proceedings of the House of Commons

Oversees the administration of the House of Commons

Answer: Acts as the Queen’s representative in Canada

Answer: Acts as the Queen’s representative in Canada

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Take Note:

  • The Speaker of the House of Commons is selected by his or her peers by secret ballot at the start of each new Parliament.
  • In the House of Commons, Members must address the Speaker rather than speaking to each other directly.
  • The Speaker has the power to discipline Members by "naming" them (this means they are no longer addressed as the Honourable Member for their riding) and by expelling them from the Chamber for the rest of the day.
  • The Speaker only participates in a vote in the House of Commons to break a tie.

400 points - This is a picture of the House of Commons Chamber. Identify the items indicated by the numbers on the image:
House of Commons Chamber

Answer: 1 = Speaker’s Chair, 2 = Prime Minister’s chair, 3 = Chair of the Leader of the Opposition, 4 = Clerks Table

1 = Government Leader’s chair, 2 = Clerks Bench, 3 = Gallery, 4 = Pages Table

1 = Speaker’s chair, 2 = Procedural Clerk’s chair, 3 = Prime Minister’s Chair, 4 = Hansard Desk

1 = The Governor General’s Throne, 2 = Chair of the Leader of the Opposition, 3 = Prime Minister’s chair, 4 = The Press Table

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Take Note:

  • The House of Commons Chamber is located in West Block on Parliament Hill.
  • Block was renovated to accommodate the interim House of Commons while Centre Block undergoes rehabilitation.
  • Proceedings in the House of Commons have been televised since 1977.
  • The upper level of the Chamber has galleries for diplomats, Members’ guests, the press and the public to watch the proceedings in person.

500 points - A bill goes through many stages before it becomes a law. Which steps are missing?
Which steps are missing? Copyright Library of Parliament

Answer: (4) Report Stage, (6) Bill goes through the same steps in the Senate and is passed, (8) Royal Assent

(4) Report Stage, (6) Royal Assent, (8) Publishing of Bill

(4) Second Committee stage, (6) Bill goes through the same steps in the Senate and is passed, (8) Royal Assent

(4) Bill passes to Senate, (6) Fourth Reading, (8) Royal Assent

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Take Note:

  • Law making involves all three branches of Parliament: The Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons.
  • To become a law, a bill must be passed in both Chambers and given Royal Assent by the Queen or her Canadian representative, the Governor General.
  • Bills that deal with spending money or taxation must start in the House of Commons but all other types of bills can be introduced in either Chamber.
  • Each bill is given a number. If the bill starts in the House of Commons then that number is preceded by the letter "C" (ex: C-1) and if it starts in the Senate the letter "S" is used (ex: S-1).
Canadian De"M"ocracy

100 points - What is a Member of the Canadian Cabinet called?

Her Majesty’s Cabinet

Minister-in-Charge

Mr/Madame Speaker

Answer: Cabinet Minister

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Take Note:

  • Cabinet is made up of a selection of Members of Parliament and Senators who are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Most members of Cabinet are in charge of a specific policy area such as transportation or defence. This responsibility is known as a portfolio.
  • The portfolio is often used to identify the person responsible for that area. For example, the person assigned to transportation would become the Minister of Transportation.
  • Some ministers are appointed without a portfolio. These ministers carry out special assignments as needed.

200 points - What object is pictured here?
What object is pictured here? Copyright Library of Parliament Gordon King

The Senate Mallet

Answer: The Mace of the Senate

The Speaker’s Mortar

The Queen’s Medieval Hammer

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Take Note:

  • The Senate and the House of Commons each have a Mace.
  • In either Chamber, the Mace of that Chamber must be placed in its proper position in front of the Speaker before a sitting can begin.
  • In the Senate the Mace is carried in and out of the Chamber by the Mace bearer; in the House of Commons this is the responsibility of the Sergeant-at-Arms.
  • The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for House of Commons security and building services. He or she preserves order in the Chamber as directed by the Speaker. The Sergeant-at-Arms also carries the Mace and precedes the Speaker when he or she enters or leaves the Chamber.

300 points - What is the term when one party wins more seats in the House of Commons than all other parties combined?

Minority Government

Monarchy Government

Ministry Government

Answer: Majority Government

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Take Note:

  • A minority government occurs when one party wins the most seats in an election, but does not win more seats than all of the other parties combined.
  • A majority government occurs when one party wins over 50% of the seats in the House of Commons during an election.
  • The political party with the most Members elected to the House of Commons usually forms the Government.

400 points - What is Canada’s system of government called?

Answer: Constitutional Monarchy

Absolute Monarchy

Monarchy

Meritocracy

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Take Note:

  • A constitutional monarchy is a system of government in which all branches are led by a Monarch, but is founded on democratic principles and ruled by a Constitution.
  • In a constitutional monarchy, the Monarch cannot make decisions that go against the Constitution of the country. They are advised by parliamentary officials, such as the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and the House of Commons.
  • The Monarchy represents continuity and ensures the continued existence of the state regardless of the decisions made by parliamentarians at any given time.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s Monarch. Her representative in Canada is the Governor General.

500 points - Who is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history?

Alexander Mackenzie

Answer: William Lyon Mackenzie King

Arthur Meighen

John A. Macdonald

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Take Note:

  • William Lyon Mackenzie King was Prime Minister from 1921-1926, 1926- 1930, and 1935-1948. In total he was Prime Minster for 21 years, 5 months and 1 day.
  • The longest continuous serving Prime Minister was Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s 7th Prime Minister, who served for 15 years, 2 months and 26 days between 1896 and 1911.
  • The shortest-serving Prime Minister was Sir Charles Tupper who served for 2 months and 10 days in 1896.
  • Canada’s youngest Prime Minister was Joe Clark, who became Prime Minister at the age of 39 in 1974.