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The House of Commons: Report to Canadians 2011

Message from the Clerk

Photo of Audrey O’Brien, Clerk of the House of Commons

It was a privilege to continue my work last year as Clerk of the House of Commons, guiding the activities of the House Administration as it provided support to Canada’s elected Members of Parliament.

The House of Commons is, as this report aptly states, “Our House”—meaning a place for all Canadians. Those of us who work within it are honoured to be entrusted with the care and operation of such an important national institution, and we take our responsibilities very seriously.

These are busy times at the House of Commons. The Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) is a much-needed and complex undertaking that involves not only our organization but also several of our partners: the Senate of Canada, the Library of Parliament and Public Works and Government Services Canada. All of the partners worked closely together to ensure that the first phase of renovation under the plan unfolds seamlessly, with as little disruption to Members and the business of Parliament as possible. Throughout the year’s LTVP activities, the House Administration carried out its regular duties with vigour and dedication.

According to the Parliament of Canada Act, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the Chair of the Board of Internal Economy and the Clerk is its Secretary. As Clerk, I report to the Speaker and advise the Speaker, his deputies, and all Members on interpretations of parliamentary rules, precedents and practices. Whenthe House is sitting and the Speaker is in the Chair, I am in the Chamber as well.

Beyond the Chamber, my role as head of the House Administration is to develop strategy and oversee the organization’s performance. With the members of my management team, I deal with issues ranging from security of the Parliamentary Precinct to technology infrastructure to stewardship of public resources to talent recruitment and management and leadership development of staff. Some of the major activities of the House Administration this past year involved preparing for a potential general election and an influx of new Members, refining and testing our emergency preparedness systems, and hosting of prominent international visitors such as the G8 Speakers last June.

I am proud to serve as part of this institution and invite all Canadians to read this report and discover the ways in which this truly is, for everyone, “Our House.”

Audrey O’Brien
Clerk of the House of Commons

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