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Home The House of Commons Report to Canadians 2005 Overview: The Year in the House of Commons The House of Commons Report to Canadians 2005 The House of Commons Report to Canadians 2005
Letter from the Speaker
Overview: The Year in the House of Commons
Overview
Chamber Activities
Committee Work
Serving Constituents
International Activities
Behind the Scenes: The House of Commons Administration
Conclusion
Financial Report
Members of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Heritage
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Serving Constituents

The Community Connection
How Members Serve Their Ridings

While Members of Parliament have many responsibilities, there is none they are more passionate about than serving their constituents. Members represent the views of constituents, serve the interests of constituents, and interact with government officials on behalf of constituents.

To ensure that Members remain connected to the communities they serve, their offices on Parliament Hill and in their home ridings are equipped with high-speed Internet links, enabling the creation of always-accessible "virtual offices".

Some 150 Members have constructed personal Web sites providing Canadians with a broad array of information including notices of emerging policy matters and activities. Many Members also operate tollfree telephone lines to help constituents resolve problems.

Members also communicate by post, distributing printed materials to households on current issues, and any Canadian can write to a Member of Parliament free of charge, without postage.

Petitioning the House of Commons
Petitions are used to draw Parliament's attention to issues of public interest or concern -and often to request action in response. During the 2004-2005 fiscal year, 909 petitions were presented in the House of Commons, on topics ranging from pornography to the definition of marriage and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. According to the rules of the House, the government tables responses to petitions.

Reaching Out
Canadians are provided with a window on the House of Commons and the work of Members through television and the Parliament of Canada Web site. In 1977, the House of Commons became the first legislature in the world to televise its proceedings. Twenty-eight years later, more than one million Canadians each week view televised Chamber proceedings via CPAC -Canada's Public Affairs Channel. During the period of this report, some 1,500 hours of Chamber proceedings were broadcast on CPAC.

Pages at work © House of Commons  

PHOTO: © HOUSE OF COMMONS


Launched in 1995, the Parliament of Canada Web site houses a wealth of information provided by the Senate, the House of Commons, and the Library of Parliament. In
2004-2005, the site registered 12,430,623 visits, up more than two million over the previous year.

Building on this proud tradition, in 2004, the House of Commons made all its proceedings available online through ParlVU -a Web portal that provides Canadians with access to live proceedings of the House. In addition to Chamber activities, ParlVU provides streamed audio and video coverage of all public committee meetings.

An Informative Partnership
The Library of Parliament is a close partner of the House of Commons in the provision of information and research to Members and outreach to Canadians. It provides accurate and timely information to parliamentarians and to the public by telephone, TTY line, fax, email, Web information request forms, and in person at the Parliament of Canada Information Centre. The Library's research staff analyze current issues, policy matters and legislation for parliamentarians in both Houses so that they can best represent Canadians' interests. Lawyers, social scientists, economists and natural scientists from the Library are assigned to parliamentary committees to provide subject-matter expertise. They also prepare legislative summaries of bills introduced in the House of Commons, which are available on the Parliament of Canada Web site. Through its programs for the public, the Library distributed more than 260,000 brochures, booklets, fact sheets, and information kits to Canadians during the
2004-2005 fiscal year.

  Parliamentary Heritage: Celebrating our Right to Vote
Stone carving in the House of Commons Chamber-'The Vote' © House of Commons
The British North America Act Series is a set of 12 high relief sculptures carved from Indiana limestone. The sculptures are located prominently on the east and west walls of the House of Commons Chamber and were installed between 1978 and 1985. They illustrate, in symbolic and narrative form, 12 themes associated with the federal and provincial roles and responsibilities outlined in the Constitution. In "the Vote" panel, the centermost relief, a simple "X" represents the most common symbol made by voters when marking their election ballots and selecting Members to represent them in Parliament. Faces nearby symbolize Canadian men and women from a number of different races-the living embodiment of Canadians' right to vote.

Stone carving in the House of Commons Chamber-'The Vote' © House of Commons


Answering the Call

The Library of Parliament is an essential partner in providing timely and accurate information on Parliament. In 2004-2005, the Library answered 58,995 requests for information and distributed 265,702 documents to Members and the public. The Library's Information Service can be reached toll-free at: 1-866-599-4999.

Public Programs

In cooperation with the House of Commons and other partners, the Library offers services and programs for the public including: education programs and products; print and electronic publications about Parliament; guided tours of the Centre Block and the East Block; small interpretive exhibits; and Parliament Hill's on-site and e-commerce boutique.

Pages and Guides

Every year, students from across Canada learn about Parliament by serving Members and the public as House of Commons pages and parliamentary guides. With the launch of a new Page Program Web site in 2004-2005, both page and guide candidates can now access applications online.

       
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