THE HOUSE OF COMMONS STONE _________________________
This sculpture, known as a “haut-relief”, graces the House of Commons Chamber and was co-designed by Eleanor Milne and Maurice Joanisse and carved by Maurice Joanisse. The base stone – which portrays an election campaign – was designed and carved by Maurice Joanisse. The entire haut-relief was installed on the west wall of the Chamber in 1985.
The artwork symbolizes the elected House of Commons. On top is a mythical figure – a Janus – who is addressing the present as well as looking back in time and forward to the future. The two figures in tilted oval frames represent the Leader of the Opposition on the right; and on the left, the leader of the governing party who is, of course, the Prime Minister. On the left and right hand sides of the image are twenty elected representatives composing a quorum – the minimum number of Members required to constitute a meeting of the House. In the centre towards the bottom of the image sits the Speaker, the spokesperson and presiding officer of the House; at the top stands the Sergeant‑at‑Arms with the Mace in hand prepared to maintain order. In the centre of the image stands the Clerk, the custodian of the records of the institution, and adviser to all Members, and in particular, the Speaker.
The House of Commons Stone is one of a series of twelve haut-reliefs depicting, in a symbolic and story form, the federal roles and responsibilities arising out of the British North America Act. They are all found in the Commons Chamber.