Icon The Senate

The Senate

“There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled The Senate, and the House of Commons.” (Constitution Act, 1867, section 17)

Chamber doorsChamber from above

The Senate is an essential part of Canada’s Parliament, along with the House of Commons, and the monarch (represented by the Governor General).


History

At the Quebec Conference 150 years ago, the founders of Confederation agreed that a national Parliament should be responsible for making Canadian laws. They wanted to be sure that everything decided in Parliament was given thoughtful consideration by not one, but two houses. As such, they created an appointed upper house for the regions called the Senate, and an elected lower house—the House of Commons. The founders gave the Senate legislative powers similar to those of the House of Commons, but anticipated a very different role for it. The Senate was to be, in the words of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, a body of “sober second thought” that would curb the “democratic excesses” of the elected House of Commons and provide regional representation.

ChairsToday, the Senate consists of 105 women and men from varied professional, cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds and from every province and territory. Their duties are to examine and revise legislation, investigate national issues and represent regional, provincial and minority interests on behalf of Canadians.

(Source: Parliament of Canada)

Click here to listen to a live broadcasting of the Senate.