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Democracy in the Classroom: A Parliamentary Committee Simulation

Step Six: Conducting the Simulation

(Suggested time — 70 minutes)

From this point forward, the chair will run the meeting according to his/her script and the "Simulation Procedures Order of Business" form. Be prepared to assist the chair in keeping an eye on the allotted time for each section of the simulation and in ensuring fair participation by all students.

Invite the chair to welcome everyone and outline the agenda for the meeting and the goals for the session following the steps outlined in the chair's instructions. The following is the basic outline and timing for the general simulation:

  1. Introductions by Chair (2 minutes)
  2. Presentation by Lead Minister, followed by questions and answers (8 minutes)
  3. Presentations by the four pairs of witnesses. Follow each presentation with questions and answers (25 minutes)
  4. Clause-by-clause examination of the substantive bill (not whereas clauses / title etc.). Only pre-written amendments provided to certain committee members for introduction may be introduced. (30 minutes)
  5. Vote on whether to report the bill back to the Senate or House of Commons, followed by adjournment (5 minutes)

If conducting the elaborated simulation, this is the basic procedure and timing:


The elaborated instructions and script include additional discussion items and procedures for the meeting. Select all or some of the elaborations, and establish time limits for each. Using all the elaborations adds approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes to the simulation.

  1. Introduction by Chair (5 minutes)
  2. Discussion of the witness list by committee members.  Does the list adequately represent a diversity of public views on the issue?  (5 - 7 minutes)
  3. Presentation by Lead Minister and questions from committee members (10 minutes)
  4. Presentations (5 minutes) by four witnesses with questions (5 minutes) from committee members for each witness (40 minutes)
  5. Optional recess to reflect individually or in caucus on information provided by the Lead Minister and witnesses and to plan strategy. If choosing this elaboration, distribute copies of the “Revising Your Views” handout. (20 minutes)
  6. Clause-by-clause examination of substantive clauses in the bill. Amendments are both pre-written or can be generated from the floor. (45 minutes)
  7. Examination of preamble clauses and titles (5 - 10 minutes)
  8. Vote on whether or not to report the bill to the Senate or House of Commons, followed by adjournment (5 minutes)

Simulation Setup Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7