The business of committees

The Hill is buzzing with activity this week.

House of Commons committee membership lists are being finalized, and Chairs and Vice-Chairs being elected!

(Pause for reaction)


(Wait, are you actually *yawning?*)

Okay, granted, this may seem like particularly process-nerdy, North-of-the-Queensway, inside baseball stuff.

Like, OMG, what does that have to do with Canadians’ daily lives?

Committee business is, in fact, incredibly important. And, in minority Parliaments like good ol’ #43 (the current one, Canada’s 43rd), committees’ work is even more important.

That’s because the government of the day doesn’t have dominance of committee processes it once did. (Gone, too, is the control. Ahem – LavScam.)

Committees study departmental spending, legislation, and other issues related to their mandate – in much greater detail than is possible in the House itself.

They produce reports that go to the House, and can – in a minority setting – force the government’s hand.

Some committees are already working on:

  • the new NAFTA pact (International Trade);
  • the coronavirus (Health);
  • and pre-budget consultations (Finance).

Given the results of last November’s election, each Commons committee will have 12 members. Most will have 6 Liberal MPs, 4 Conservative MPs, and one member each from the Bloc Québecois and the NDP.

But four oversight committees will be Opposition-controlled; the government will have fewer members than the Opposition parties. And those could get very interesting, hyper-political, and even nasty. (How quickly may influence the timing of the next election. À suivre.)

Regardless, for organizations large and small, minority parliaments can spell opportunity.

The opposition has more power; the government needs to secure support from at least one other party to get things done (and survive votes of confidence).

Parliamentarians of all stripes will be looking to advance ideas and policies that have broad support.

Committee agendas can be influenced differently.

Meetings and advocacy take on greater importance.

Understanding nuance, procedure, and (small- vs. large-p) political positioning is critical.

That’s where we can help.

If your organization and field of work is on a committee’s radar, let’s chat.

We can help you navigate the process, decide how and where best to pull the levers of power, prep you for big meetings and appearances, and ensure you make the most of the limelight.

That, after all, is the business of committee business. It’s how things get done. And if they catch you yawning, someone else is always right behind you to make the most of their opportunity moment.

We’ve got your back. Get in touch today.

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