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Taking It to the Hill

The Complete Guide to Appearing Before Parliamentary Committees

David McInnes

Publication Year: 2005

The standing committees of the House of Commons and Senate make it possible for practically any person or group to access the policy-making process and become a lobbyist. This handy and complete guide coaches prospective witnesses to do it right. Targeted primarily at those who have a stake in advancing a cause "on the hill," this guide reveals the lessons and advice of experienced parliamentarians and those who work behind the doors of Parliament. It is a "how-to" for lobbyists and advisors and "must-read" for students of political science and public administration. This refreshed edition has been updated to reflect key developments in procedure and committee practices in an ever-changing parliamentary environment.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Governance Series

Title Page, Copyright

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p. vi-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

"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...

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pp. xi-xxii

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...

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1. The Parliamentary Backdrop

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pp. 1-18

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...

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2. Techniques

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pp. 19-32

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...

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3. Committees 101

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pp. 33-82

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...

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4. Process and Opportunities

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pp. 83-124

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...

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5. The Committee Dynamic:The Key Players

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pp. 125-152

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...

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6. "On Your Mark..."

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pp. 153-210

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...

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The Hearing

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pp. 211-254

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...

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From Here to There

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pp. 255-258

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

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pp. 259-260


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pp. 261-267


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pp. 268-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780776616988
E-ISBN-10: 0776616986
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776606071
Print-ISBN-10: 0776606077

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Governance Series