Parliament: Canada's Democracy and How It Works. Rev. ed.


120 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-394-22462-0
DDC 320.971




Illustrations by Peter Grau
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual’s
Children’s Literature edition.


This updated version of McTeer’s 1987 guide to “Canada’s
Democracy” leads the reader step by step from a description of the
physical location and design of the Parliament buildings through an
explanation of parliamentary democracy and the two chambers of the
Canadian government, and finishes with a discussion of legislative and
electoral processes and of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A
glossary of parliamentary terms and an index complete the book.

Parliament is a thorough, well-researched, systematic, and readable
book. McTeer packs information into every section and subsection,
effectively utilizing a variety of narrative techniques and graphics. In
addition, she provides multiple resources for further research and
investigation, on topics ranging from the Elections Act to philately. My
only complaint is that McTeer’s writing style is occasionally abrupt
and condescending. For example, she often follows fairly common words in
the text with a definition in parentheses. This practice is both
annoying and unnecessary. Also, comments such as “However, don’t
expect them to actually write your essay for you!” (from the chapter
“Help with Your Homework”) are denigrating to the reader. Readers
should also note that McTeer’s own political views sometimes intrude
subtly into discussions of such topics as the Meech Lake Accord and the
Quebec referendum. In spite of the above criticisms, this book is
unsurpassed as a guide to and source of information on Canadian
government. Highly recommended.


McTeer, Maureen., “Parliament: Canada's Democracy and How It Works. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,