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Our Country, Our Parliament

Learn About Parliament

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Section 2: Canada's System of Government

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  • Booklet: Section 2 Download the PDF
  • Combined Section 2 activity handouts: Canada's System of Government Download the PDF
  • Handout: Road to the Senate Download the PDF
  • Handout: Road to the House of Commons Download the PDF
  • Activity 6: Road to the Senate

    Objectives

    Instruction Levels

    Graphic for activity 4Materials

    Web Links

    Teacher Notes
    After students have read about the Senate in Our Country, Our Parliament (pages 14 and 24–25), review the process for nomination to the Senate. (They are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.) Some Senators have a background in politics, but many others have never been a Member of Parliament or associated with politics at any level. What are other skills and experiences that are relevant to a Senator’s role?

    Assign each student a Senator or allow students to select Senators of interest to them. Use the Parliament of Canada website to select a number of current or former Senators from which students may choose. The website contains biographical information on every Senator, including their parliamentary experience, their non-parliamentary work history, and details about where they are from. Additional information may be obtained through Senators’ personal websites, which are linked from the Parliament of Canada site. Distribute the Road to the Senate handout and have your students complete it. Then, ask students to write a short, persuasive piece explaining what qualities and experience their Senator brings to the Senate and why they believe the Senator was appointed. The students’ job is to highlight their Senator’s accomplishments and to give at least three reasons why he or she is a good fit for the job of Senator. Taking into account the level of your students, be sure to be specific about expectations for the presentation (e.g. length).

    After they have written their piece, have your students present their Senator to the class and hand in a good copy of their presentation.

    Keep a record on the board of where in Canada the Senators come from and of their accomplishments.

    The written work should contain the following:

    When presenting their Senator, students should be able to do the following:

    Assessment Tool
    Road to the Senate: Senator's Role Persuasive Checklist (T).

    Extend This Activity
    One of the Senate’s most important roles is protecting regional, provincial and minority interests. As a result, the founders of Confederation assigned each region the same number of seats in order to guarantee them an equal voice in the Senate. Since then, seats have been added as new provinces and territories have entered Confederation. Today, the Senate has 105 seats.  Have students colour a map to show the number of Senators from each province and territory or, for more advanced students, draw a circle graph to represent the information.

    Activity 7: Road to the House of Commons

    Objectives

    Instruction Levels

    Graphic for activity 4

    Materials

    Web Links

    Teacher Notes
    Have students read and discuss pages 17–22 of Our Country, Our Parliament. Use the Word Builder, Talk About It! and Think About It! sections with your class, as appropriate. Brainstorm with your students some of the methods candidates for the House of Commons use to get voters to choose them. If you have political posters, signs or election materials from any party or election, bring them into the classroom for the students to see.

    Assign each student a sitting MP or allow students to select an MP of interest to them (if there is a federal election underway, assign candidates running locally). Use the Parliament of Canada’s website to select a number of MPs from which students may choose. The website contains biographical information on every MP, including their parliamentary experience, their non-parliamentary work history, and details about where they are from. Additional information may be obtained through MPs’ personal websites, which are linked from the Parliament of Canada site. Explain that for the purposes of this exercise, students do not have to agree with the MP’s opinions; their job is to highlight their MP’s accomplishments and to explain why he or she is a good fit for the job of MP using a campaign sign, and a television or radio campaign commercial.

    The campaign sign should contain the following:

    The television or radio campaign commercial should contain:

    Students may draw their campaign sign freehand, searching magazines, newspapers or the Internet for a photo of their MP, or use a computer to create text and images.

    When presenting their campaign signs and commercials, students should be able to persuade their classmates that their MP is well suited for Parliament.

    To engage students in active listening during the presentations, ask follow-up questions of the class. Here are some examples:

    Assessment Tool
    Road to the House of Commons: Member of Parliament Campaign Checklist (S).

    Extend This Activity
    Conduct a vote after an appropriate number of presentations to see which MP students would elect. Take the opportunity to review the requirements for and the process of voting. Record results on the board for visual reinforcement. Lead a discussion to encourage students to share why they voted the way they did (e.g. "Why do you think so many people voted for Candidate A?"). Allow students to share their personal feelings and values with each other and to discuss the value of having a diversity of opinions.

    © Library of Parliament | Revised: 2009-09