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Letter from the Speaker

The Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons

The Honourable Peter Milliken, M.P.
Speaker of the House of Commons

Photo: © House of Commons/Bernard Clark

As Speaker of the House of Commons, I am very pleased to present the Report to Canadians 2006, which highlights the work of Members of the House of Commons, and the activities of the House Administration in support of Members and the institution.

The past year was a time of adaptation and change for the House of Commons. For the first time in 25 years, a minority government was in power, and considerable public attention was focused on the Commons Chamber. Members and the House Administration developed new ways of working to ensure that the nation's business would continue to be conducted effectively. The 38th Parliament came to an end with the calling of the general election, a pivotal event in a parliamentary democracy.

Throughout 2005-2006, debate, decision and representation continued to be the foundation of Members' work as they met in the Commons Chamber to discuss legislation. Bills were presented on a wide range of subjects, from energy, health care and Internet technology, to marriage, retirement savings and employment. Members also asked questions of the government, represented constituents' views and brought national issues into the spotlight.

Outside the Chamber, Members studied legislation and issues in greater depth through their work on Commons committees. An important feature of committee work is the opportunity it offers for Canadians to express their views on the subjects under study. This past year, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade launched an e-consultation process (that is, a consultation via the Internet) to obtain public input on Canada's international policy statement.

Helping constituents is an essential part of a Member's activities. Constituents regularly contact Members for information about federal government programs or for assistance in dealing with federal departments. To increase access to information about the House of Commons, new features were added to the Parliament of Canada Web site, which received some 10 million visits in the past year.

On the international stage, Members met with colleagues from other countries to discuss issues of common interest and support democratic institutions. Trade, immigration and international responsibilities were just some of the topics on the agenda as Members and House officials met with representatives from such countries as the Russian Federation, China, and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas.

To support Members in all of these activities, the Administration is grouped into five Service Areas offering specialized expertise in such fields as parliamentary procedure, human and financial resources, technology, law, security, building services and facilities management. Employees work diligently behind the scenes to provide Members with high-quality service and maintain the House of Commons as an institution.

The Report to Canadians provides a look into the activities of Members and the work of the House of Commons Administration. It is one component in the House of Commons' effort to increase the public's understanding of Canada's parliamentary system, and to maintain high standards of public-sector governance. I invite you to read the Report and learn more about the House of Commons by visiting the Parliament of Canada Web site.

Peter Milliken, M.P.
Speaker of the House of Commons