Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians

There’s an item of interest in the federal government’s Weekly Checklist of publications, namely a brief by James R. Robertson, General Counsel, and Erin Virgint of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Division, Criminal Charges and Parliamentarians [PDF], a publication from the Library of Parliament.

The report looks at three areas where criminal charges or convictions might be thought to have an impact: eligibility to run for office, removal from office, and expulsion from Parliament.

The first area is governed by the Parliament of Canada Act and the Canada Elections Act, as well as the Constitution Act, 1867 with respect to eligibility for the Senate. Essentially, you’re ineligible to be a candidate for election if you’re currently imprisoned or have been convicted of “a corrupt or illegal practice” within the previous five years.

Removal from office as an elected member or as a Senator is possible under s.750 of the Criminal Code where the member is convicted of an indictable offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of two years or more.

Expulsion from Parliament is rare indeed, most famously occurring with respect to Louis Riel.

The report is short and a sensible read for anyone wanting to fill those corners of information about how our system of government works.

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