Learn the basics of how a bill passes into law in Canada. Why? Because laws affect citizens and because citizens can influence what laws are made. YOU are a citizen.
Parliament is where new laws are developed and created. The Senate and House of Commons propose, debate, study, and pass Bills for new laws every day. In fact, sometimes some laws have been passed that don’t make a whole lot of sense… but they could be just old and outdated… Watch Stupid Canadian Laws (just for fun).
How does the actual law-making process happen? And by the way, email your homework to Ms. Moore at email@example.com when you are done.
First, take a read through Our Country, Our Parliament or any other website about Canadian government, and answer the following questions. You can also take a read through this page, too!
- What is a bill?
- How many times is a bill read out in the House of Commons?
- How many times is a bill read out in the Senate?
- What is a bill called if it is NOT introduced by a person in the Cabinet?
- In the House of Commons, before the first reading of a bill, would ANYONE ever have discussed or debated its contents? Who?
- After which reading of the bill would it be best for media to notify the public about any controversial legislation? (Hint: At which stage would politicians and media outlets have enough information to share with the public?)
- After which reading is the bill debated in public?
- How could citizens make their ideas/support/opposition about a bill known to government (list TWO different ways)?
- If a bill is accepted after the third reading, where does it go next?
- What does the Governor General have to do to make a bill into law?
For a very, very detailed look at how a bill becomes a law, check out House of Commons Procedure and Practice on The Legislative Process.
If it interests you, as a university student you can apply to become a Page in the House of Commons and watch related government discussion and debate every day! Read more about the Page Program.
But back on the topic of legislating laws in Canada…. next, watch this video. Or watch both.
Video 1: How does a Bill Become Law?
Video 2: How a Bill Becomes Law
Lastly, use page 29 and 30 from the hand-out called Process of Passing a Bill (and your knowledge from the videos and use the first image above) to put the statements below into the right order. Write the numbers out in the correct order in full on a separate piece of paper next to the number and add your name and hand-into Ms. Moore. Here is a hint: it starts with a parliamentarian having a good idea…what he or she would like to see as a law.
PASSING A BILL ON PARLIAMENT HILL: PROCESS
Are you ready to propose your good idea to your elected representative?
And by the way, email your homework to Ms. Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org when you are done.