POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Canadian House of Commons

The Canadian House of Commons is the lower chamber of the Canadian Parliament and possesses the following characteristics:

  • 338 Members of Parliament (MPs)
  • Each MP represents a single riding (constituency)
  • The number of seats per province and territory is roughly in proportion to their population
  • MPs may serve limited legislative terms of up to 5 years
  • However, Governments typically call new elections within 4 years
  • MPs elected by a plurality (also known as first past the post)
  • The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party within the Commons - currently the Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau

The main role of the House of Commons is passing legislation along with the Senate. The lower chamber, however, possesses the sole authority to originate taxation bills and bills which appropriate public funds. Whilst in theory all other bills may be introduced in either the Commons or the Senate, in practice they mostly originate in the House of Commons.

See also: Legislature, Legislative Term

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