Câmara dos Comuns / House of Commons
Ottawa, a capital do Canadá.
A Câmara dos Comuns do Canadá (em inglês Canadian House of Commons; em francês Chambre des Communes du Canada) é uma parte do Parlamento do Canadá, que também inclui o chefe do Estado do Canadá (o monarca do Reino Unido, representado pelo governador-geral) e pelo Senado do Canadá. Todos os 308 membros que compõem a Câmara dos Comuns são eleitos democraticamente, que são conhecidos como "Membros do Parlamento". Os membros são eleitos a termos que possuem um limite máximo de cinco anos, ou até que o parlamento seja dissolvido. Cada membro é um representante escolhido de um dos 308 atuais distritos eleitorais do Canadá.
A Câmara dos Comuns foi estabelecida em 1867, quando o Ato da América do Norte Britânica de 1867 criou o Dominion of Canada (o nome oficial do Canadá), baseado na Câmara dos Comuns do Reino Unido. Em prática, a Câmara dos Comuns, ou Câmara Inferior (Lower House) é muito mais poderosa do que o Senado, a Câmara Superior (Upper House), e é facilmente o ramo dominante do Parlamento. Embora a aprovação de ambas as Câmaras sejam necessárias para a aprovação de leis, o Senado raramente rejeita leis que foram aprovadas pela Câmara dos Comuns. Além disso, o Governo do Canadá está nas mãos da Câmara dos Comuns - o primeiro-ministro do Canadá apenas permanece em ofício quando possui o suporte da maioria dos membros da Câmara dos Comuns. O Senado não possui tal influência, e não exerce tal poder no governo do país.
A palavra "Comuns" é derivada do inglês Commons, que por sua vez, é derivado da palavra francesa Communes - que significa "comunas", "localidades". O Canadá é a única nação, além do Reino Unido, a usar o termo "Câmara dos Comuns" para a Câmara Inferior do Parlamento. As sessões da Câmara dos Comuns do Canadá são realizadas na Parliament Hill (Morro do Parlamento), em Ottawa, Ontário.
Ottawa, Canadian capital
The western wing of the building contains the House of Commons chamber, along with its antechamber and lobbies for the government and opposition, on the east and west sides of the main commons space, the doors to which are all of white oak trimmed with hand-wrought iron.
The chamber is 21 metres long, 16 metres wide, has seats for 320 members of parliament and 580 persons in the upper gallery that runs around the second level of the room. The overall colour scheme is in green, reflecting the colour used in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom since at least 1663, and visible in the carpeting, bench upholstery, draperies, paint within the gilded honeycomb cork plaster work of the cove, and the stretched linen canvas over the ceiling. That canvas, sitting 14.7 m above the commons floor, and designed in 1920 by the New York decorating firm Mack, Jenney and Tyler, is painted with the heraldic symbols of the Canadian, provincial, and territorial coats of arms, with medallions at the intersections of diagonal stencilled bands in an argyle pattern. Running below this, and above the cove, is a continuous gold leaf cornice created in 1919 by Enrico Filiberto Cerracchio, which displays a row of gilt figures, broken at the peak of each pointed arch by cherubs holding a cartouche, and behind all of which runs a painted grapevine with Tudor roses.
On the floor, the opposing members' benches are spaced 3.96 m apart on either side of the room, a measurement said to be equivalent to two swords' length, and harkens back to when English members of parliament carried swords into the chamber. Directly between, on the axis of the chamber, is the speaker's chair, which is an exact replica of that found in the British House of Commons, and is topped by a carved wood canopy bearing a rendition of the Royal coat of arms of Canada sculpted in wood from the roof of the Westminster Hall, which was built in 1397; the whole was a gift from the British branch of what is today the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The chair has since been augmented with a hydraulic lift, lighting, writing surfaces, and, at the foot of the chair, a television screen and computer screen, to aid the Speaker in monitoring the process of the house. Behind the chair is a door that gives the speaker access to the speaker's corridor, which links the commons chamber to the speaker's chambers, and which is lined with portraits of past speakers of the House of Commons.
In the east and west walls of the commons chamber are 12 windows topped by pointed arches with hood moulds terminated by pendant drops. The glazing within is stained glass, commissioned as a Centennial Project in 1967 by then Speaker of the House of Commons Lucien Lamoureux. Each window contains approximately 2,000 pieces of hand-blown glass created in Ottawa by Russell C. Goodman using medieval techniques, and arranged in a Decorated Gothic style pattern designed by R. Eleanor Milne. Divided into four sections by stone mullions, the upper parts contain geometrical tracery and provincial and territorial floral emblems amongst ferns; in the tracery at the head of the windows are symbols extracted from the coats of arms of the provinces and territories.
As with other areas of the Centre Block, the commons walls are enriched with shafts, blind tracery, friezes, and a sculpture programme. The room was the last space in the building to be carved, with sculptural work only beginning in the late 1950s, and continuing intermittently for the following two decades; approximately 225 blocks of varying sizes still remain uncarved. Amongst the work done are three series of stone works: The British North America Act, a set of 12 high reliefs on the east and west walls of the chamber, carved between 1978 and 1985, and illustrating through symbols and narrative themes associated with the federal and provincial responsibilities laid out in the British North America Act; Evolution of Life, a series of 14 sculptures within the spandrels of the peir-arches at the north and south ends of the House of Commons, depicting Canada's palaeontological past and the evolution of humanity through philosophy, science, and the imagination; and Speakers and Clerks, comprising four heads carved on the jambs of the two doors on either side of the Speaker's chair, depicting the speakers and clerks of the House of Commons at the time of the opening of both parliament buildings, in 1867 and 1920, respectively.