House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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Experience has shown that smaller and more flexible committees, when entrusted with interesting matters, can have a very positive impact on the development of our parliamentary system, upgrade the role of Members of Parliament, sharpen their interest and ultimately enable this institution to produce much more enlightened measures that better meet the wishes of the Canadian people.

Yvon Pinard, President of the Privy Council
(Debates, November 29, 1982, p. 21071)


s with other large deliberative assemblies, the House of Commons has taken advantage of the greater flexibility available in committees to carry out functions which can be better performed in smaller groups. These include the examination of witnesses and the detailed consideration of legislation, estimates and technical matters. Committee work provides detailed information to parliamentarians on issues of concern to the electorate and often provokes important public debate. In addition, because committees interact directly with the public, they provide an immediate and visible conduit between elected representatives and Canadians. With respect to their formal proceedings, committees are microcosms and extensions of the House, limited in their powers by the authority delegated to them. This chapter will examine the history, the rules of procedure and the business conducted by committees of the House of Commons.

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