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Message from the
Clerk

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

The 2011–2012 fiscal year of the House of Commons began on April 1 and concluded on March 31. That period spanned two Parliaments—the dissolution of the 40th ahead of the national election on May 2, and the beginning of the 41st just a month later.

For the House Administration, facilitating the transition between the two Parliaments was a major focus, ensuring not only that Members were equipped to carry out their duties by the start of the new session but also that the right foundation and supports were in place for the successful conduct of that session over the next several years.

With roughly one-third of Members newly elected, and many coming to Parliament for the first time, the transition was significant. That it was carried out smoothly in a matter of weeks speaks volumes about the strength of our team—many volunteered their time to perform extra functions outside of their usual day-to-day roles. I am particularly proud of the fact that we accomplished the task without bringing in external resources; our core staff executed the work with dedication and focus.

As the title of this report indicates, our work did not end with the start of the new session. The House Administration continues to actively support Members in their daily business.

In my role as Clerk, I report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and advise him—and all Members of Parliament—on the interpretation of parliamentary rules, precedents and practices. I also work closely with my management team to develop the House Administration’s overall strategy on a wide range of issues, from the security of the Parliamentary Precinct to the effective stewardship of public resources to the engagement of our workforce.

Over the past year, we continued to collaborate with our partners in the Senate, at the Library of Parliament and at Public Works and Government Services Canada on the Long Term Vision and Plan—a complex undertaking to renovate and rehabilitate the important heritage buildings of the Parliamentary Precinct. We also continued to refine and streamline our own internal processes, looking closely at everything from security and technology implementation to postal services and recruitment strategies.

As always, it continues to be a privilege and an honour to guide the activities of the House Administration as it provides support to Canada’s Members of Parliament. It is my hope that this report sheds some light on the many ways in which we supported the House and its Members—before, during and after the election.

Audrey O’Brien
Clerk of the House of Commons