Taking It to the Hill
The Complete Guide to Appearing Before Parliamentary Committees
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Governance Series
Title Page, Copyright
TABLE OF CONTENTS
"From here to there and there to here, funny things are everywhere." With those words, I concluded the first edition of this book published in 1999. And, while apologizing to Dr. Seuss for borrowing the phrase from his book One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, it nevertheless offered a not-too-subtle metaphor for politics. Politics are everywhere on Parliament Hill. A...
Appearing before a parliamentary committee is like meeting your in-laws for the first time. Now is not the time to make a bad impression. What you say, how you say it and even how you look counts. By targeting parliamentary committees, this guide assists you to make a positive impression and achieve your public policy objectives...
1. The Parliamentary Backdrop
Standing committees are basically masters of their domain.l But, whoever controls the House essentially rules the Hill, including its standing committees. Put another way, committees lean against a backdrop where the parliamentary agenda is largely prescribed, party discipline rules members' lives, the bureaucracy's guiding hand on policy development is everywhere...
Every committee appearance is unique. The issue. The mix of witnesses and members. The parliamentary agenda. Public opinion. The media's interest. Each appearance requires a tailored response. Props help, too. These techniques shed light on some enduring lessons about taking your message to the Hill...
3. Committees 101
House of Commons and Senate committees have considerable operating scope. In a sense, and adapting a line from the movie Forrest Gump, committees are what committees do because their sphere of activity is so broad. While the latitude is there, standing committees are still creatures of Parliament. This is the reality check. Even despite recent committee...
4. Process and Opportunities
While the parliamentary system can be criticized, Canadians should know that understanding the system presents opportunities to get heard and, perhaps, influence policy. It's more than digesting what's said on paper. It's what's done in practice that is essential...
5. The Committee Dynamic:The Key Players
Committees have "personalities"---a cocktail of member personalities, interactions and political agendas. They can be congenial, well tuned, and clearly work as a team. "Over time, it became part of the culture of the committee that because people involved in agriculture get up early in the morning to work the fields, et cetera, so too do members...
6. "On Your Mark..."
There is a shopping list of decisions to make before actually sitting down at the committee table, such as deciding whether in fact to go, who will represent your group, the length of your brief, etc. The most important involves crafting your message. Is it compelling? If it lacks focus, if...
It is a sobering thought that the overall quality of written submissions delivered to parliamentary committees rates about a C .1 Some do a superb job. For others, members grit their teeth and politely bear it. Going before a committee is not an "appearance." It is a "performance." You should aim for nothing less than an...
From Here to There
Ottawa is a flurry of standing committee activity, departmental consultations, caucus work, and private one-on-one meetings between Canadians and parliamentarians. While there are many ways to channel concerns to government, this book makes one part of the public policy process more transparent: the...
List of Standing Committees