Created in 2001 as part of the Parliament of Canada Act.
The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons have appointed Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer for a two-year term as Canada’s ninth Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
Many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States have appointed official poets laureate to help expand the understanding and appreciation for written poetry. Canada has also recognized this through the creation of this position.
Nominated candidates must meet eligibility and selection criteria. In order to give equal representation to Canada’s two official languages, Poets Laureate are selected alternately from each official language community. Literary artists working in oral traditions are also eligible. The Parliament of Canada recognizes the diversity of Canada’s literary scene and encourages the participation of poets from all communities.
The Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons select the Poet Laureate from a list of nominees determined by the Selection Committee which includes:
- the Commissioner of Official Languages
- the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
- the Chair, Canada Countil for the Arts and,
- the Parliamentary Librarian as chair
The Poet Laureate receives an annual stipend of $20,000 as well as a budget for travel, programming and administrative expenses.
The Poet Laureate may create work in either official language, and the poetry may be translated or adapted into other languages.
The intellectual property of all work published remains with the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
The Library of Parliament is the steward for the Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
*The Poet determines his or her specific activities within these parameters.