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Encyclopedia > House Leader

In Canada each political party with representation in the House of Commons has a House Leader who is a front bench MP and an expert in parliamentary procedure. The House Leader is in charge of the party's day-to-day business in the Canadian House of Commons and usually conducts negotiations with other parties on the conduct of Bills and debates.

They also argue Points of Order before the Speaker of the House. The House Leader is not the same as the party leader but, for Opposition parties is the leader's senior deputy. The Government House Leader is a senior cabinet minister who navigates the government's business in the House. This system is replicated in the various provincial legislatures. The position of House Leader is especially important during periods of minority government where no one party has control of the House and bills can only be passed with the agreement of several parties.

The Prime Minister of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition originally had these responsibilities. In 1944, however, as a result of the increasing burdens placed on government by the Second World War, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King delegated these responsibilities to another member of the Canadian Cabinet. In 1946 the position of Government House Leader was formally recognized.

The position of Opposition House Leader evolved in the 1950s as each Opposition party began to designate a particular MP to question the Government House Leader on upcoming House business. The title of Opposition House Leader became official in 1963 and in 1974 a special annual indemnity was attached to the position of House Leader in each of the opposition parties.

Notable Canadian House Leaders include Stanley Knowles of the NDP and its predecessor the CCF, Allan MacEachen and Herb Gray of the Liberal Party of Canada and Erik Nielsen of the Progressive Conservatives

  Results from FactBites:
All Quiet On the House Side (washingtonpost.com) (767 words)
GOP leaders who set the agenda and floor schedule say they achieved most of their top priorities last year -- including enactment of a Medicare prescription drug bill and the third round of President Bush's tax cuts -- and are content to rest on their laurels through the election.
While other House priorities are stuck in the Senate, House Republicans believe they have the best of all worlds: They can take credit for the enacted legislation and blame Senate Democrats for bottling up the rest of their agenda.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted that senators held three committee hearings on the prison abuses before House leaders summoned Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to the Armed Services Committee last Friday -- a day the Senate was meeting but the House was not.
  More results at FactBites »



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