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The Work of Senate Committees


Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, on September 16, 2010, the Public Policy Forum in partnership with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians hosted a conference to discuss ways of improving the tenor and tone of debate in Parliament. One of the themes was how to improve the work of parliamentary committees. The panelists were Monte Solberg, John Godfrey, Francine Lalonde and Professor Emeritus Ned Franks.

I am pleased to report that in the course of the session, complimentary statements were made about the work of Senate committees. Mr. Godfrey noted the effectiveness of Senate committees and highlighted that they tend to be less partisan than their house counterparts, while also having members who are more experienced and longer serving.

Professor Franks described Senate committees as a model of effective committees and the best working committees in Parliament.

In response to a question from the floor, Mr. Solberg stated that house committees can learn a huge amount from Senate committees, and they should not be afraid to adopt some of our practices and procedures.

As senators, we spend an enormous amount of time in committee with the work that we do, work that is at the core of this institution. It is satisfying to see that the results are recognized and valued, not only by witnesses, stakeholders and governments, but also by members of the other place, past and present, and those who take a keen interest in the workings of Parliament.

All senators are to be congratulated for their work as members of Senate committees, and we must also congratulate our director of committees, our committee clerks, our research analysts and many other staff who support our good work.