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Introduction

The Speaker of the Senate of Canada takes great pleasure in welcoming you to these chambers. When the Speaker is not presiding over regular sittings of the Senate or representing Parliament abroad, these quarters are the centre of the Speaker’s professional activity. This is where legislation is reviewed, speeches are prepared, and meetings are held with parliamentarians, corporate delegations, and public servants from all across our country. On occasion, the Speaker offers study sessions on Canada’s Constitution to senior-level students — our country’s leaders in waiting.

Photo of the Speaker's Chambers

There is also a ceremonial function associated with the role of Speaker. In this respect, the Speaker has the honour of greeting people from all around the world and sharing some interesting yet little-known aspects of Senate life. Among the guests are diplomats, academics, people from diverse cultural communities, and government officials. The Speaker is also proud to host the men and women of the military, veterans, members of Canada's First Nations, and visitors from across Canada.

The Speaker’s chambers have long served as a stately setting for conducting parliamentary business. They echo the deliberations of men and women who served as guiding forces throughout a century and a half of Canada’s history. At the same time, they are warm and inviting. This warmth comes in part from the various woods found throughout the chambers and the deep carvings1. Among the many points of interest in these quarters are the heraldic emblems that adorn the walls and provide accent for the historical furnishings. There is a fascinating tale to be told about these armorial bearings, the art form from which they have evolved, and the unique language created to describe them.

1 This guide is a companion booklet to Words of Wisdom in the Senate Speaker's Chambers. The latter is a guide to Latin inscriptions carved into the woodwork of the Speaker's chambers and drawn from the works of renowned Roman authors.

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