Whether it’s investigating an oil pipeline, scrutinizing government spending or studying social issues, committees help improve law and public policy on behalf of Canadians. They play an important role in the legislative process, and can be a catalyst for change. The work of the Senate’s committees spans many different areas and can often be overlooked or underestimated, but their impact is significant.

Committee News

Congressional committees are often a little mysterious to the public, but they play an essential role in the legislative process. They’re known for their ability to dig deep into controversial topics and often produce reports that can shape the future of legislation and government policy. In this issue of Committee News, we take a look at some of the most recent headlines from committees around the country.

A new House report recommends that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The panel says that for more than three hours before he agreed to intervene, Trump drank Diet Coke, turned on Fox News and put off advice from his advisers. The panel also recommends a range of other changes, including making it more difficult for people to tamper with elections by recommending that federal officials and frontline election workers be protected from spamming, doxing, harassment and threats.

The panel’s findings come on the heels of other high-profile actions that have refocused attention on the U.S.-China relationship, such as the use of a F-22 missile to destroy a Chinese drone that had entered American airspace and, most recently, the arrest of a Chinese tech executive on charges that he stole secrets from U.S. companies. Those events, along with Vice President Joe Biden’s continuing calls for limited dialogue with the Chinese, have put Gallagher’s committee at the forefront of the debate over how to deal with Beijing.

The committees of the Senate are a key part of the legislature’s responsibility to represent the interests and views of their constituents. They conduct extensive research and work closely with the government and the opposition in order to prepare their reports, which are submitted to the full Senate. They have also played a critical role in bringing transparency to the legislative process, by providing access to committee briefs through their websites and encouraging the participation of the public in their work. Committees are also required to follow parliamentary rules and practices when conducting their meetings, and they must adhere to the same general guidelines for televising their proceedings as applies to the broadcasting of Hansard on CPAC. In addition, they must respect the spirit of parliamentary privilege when it comes to recording their deliberations for video streaming or broadcasting. They must not include close-up shots of people or reaction shots, among other things. If this is not possible, the committee must follow the same rules that apply to the recording and broadcasting of meetings of the House of Commons.