‘I invite anyone interested in the Senate’s work to come take a look’

by Aaron Wherry

On behalf of the other place, Senator David Tkachuk responds to CP’s suggestion that the business of the Senate is not properly accessible.

The Senate is the only legislative house in Canada that has kept and published attendance records since 1867. This is hardly an effort to hide this information, as two individuals quoted in the article maintain … Senate Debates and Journals are available online going back to 1996 …

We have recently undertaken a major redesign of our committee websites specifically to make them easier to find, navigate and search. I invite anyone interested in the Senate’s work to come take a look. We have been making every effort to invite as many people as possible to learn more about what Senate committees are doing. This includes a very well received Twitter account, @SenateCA/@SenatCA, through which we inform Canadians interested in certain subject matters or in the parliamentary process of what our committees are doing.

Senate debates are collected here, though, unlike the House of Commons debates, there is not a search function.




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‘I invite anyone interested in the Senate’s work to come take a look’

  1. Commented elsewhere that the Library of Parliament does keep (or, at least, have kept in the past) an index to the Senate debates which isn’t available online – must be noted, though, that the LoP is a distinct entity from the Senate.
    You could theoretically compile how often a Senator was physically in the Senate by looking at the Journals for each day (which begin with ‘members convened’ and ‘members in attendance to business’ – i.e. those who were there and those who are excused on public business) however, it’s often the case that the attendance registers are corrected after the fact where Senators are in attendance to public business other than committees (ideally they tell the clerk they’ll be away in advance, but that’s not always practical). The Journals also don’t say when Senators are away due to illness, and can be deceptive because it doesn’t matter whether a Senator is in the chamber for 30 seconds or the full sitting – they’ll still be marked as being ‘convened’.
    It probably wouldn’t shock anyone to learn that when you call Senate communications to inquire about a Senator’s attendance, their next call will undoubtedly be to the office of the Senator you inquired about to give them a heads up.

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