Camp, Ottawa (Canada), 10 January 2020: Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla addressed the Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments of Commonwealth countries at the Special Plenary Session on the theme ‘Inclusive Parliaments: The Role of the Speaker in Supporting Emerging Procedures and Practices Embracing the Changing Face and Needs of Parliament’ at the 25th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) at Ottawa. Shri Birla further observed that capacity-building of lawmakers is necessary for strengthening democracy. In this direction, he has recently initiated a practice of holding briefing sessions on important legislative business before the House to improve the awareness of Members on such issues, thereby facilitating good debate and discussion in the House.
Observing that the future of a country has been rightly said to be determined by its Parliament, Shri Birla said that Parliaments play an important role in making policies for the better future of countries, by keeping pace with the changing world order while at the same time ensuring that its invaluable traditions remain intact. Shri Birla further said that in a parliamentary democracy, the Speakers and Presiding Officers are the custodians of democracy and participative governance and their decisions have a lot of bearing in ensuring equal participation and representation of people.
Shri Birla stated that over the years in India, many Hon’ble Speakers had laid down rules, regulations and directions that have significantly contributed to the growth of our parliamentary procedures and practices. The Speaker of the House not only enforces the correct interpretation and proper application of the rules and regulations but by his sage counsel, tact and persuasive skills also ensures that voices of all sections of the House are heard with an open mind.
Shri Birla also informed that he has made efforts to bring in certain changes in the existing rules of procedure and conduct of business during the current 17th Lok Sabha. In the two sessions held so far, maximum number of Members were provided the opportunity to participate in the business of the House and many young Members and political parties having only one Member have thereby benefitted. At the same time, more than 2000 matters of urgent public importance were raised in the House by the Members.
After the conclusion of the Conference, Shri Birla held a meeting with HE Mr Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House of Commons of Canadian Parliament and congratulated him for successfully hosting the 25th CSPOC. The two leaders acknowledged the growing India-Canada bilateral ties and the potential for further expanding mutual trade and investments. They noted with satisfaction the increasing cooperation in the education sector and the growing number of students from India in Canadian institutions. Underlining the important role that parliamentary relations can play in enhancing the friendly relations between the two countries, they agreed that inter-parliamentary friendship groups of MPs in both the Parliaments should be constituted at the earliest. Shri Birla further said that interactions between Indian and Canadian Parliamentarians would help to deepen the economic and political relations between the two countries.