Lesson Plan: Cleaning House
Write the terms "auditor general"
and "Speaker of the House of Commons" on the board. Discuss with the students
the roles and responsibilities of each person. Following the discussion, you
might share these descriptions with them, or have them visit the Web site of
the Government of Canada to find the descriptions themselves.
Auditor General: An officer of Parliament responsible for the independent examination of the government's accounts. Reports of this examination are tabled in the House several times a year.
Speaker: The member elected by the House (by secret ballot) to preside over its proceedings. In particular, he or she is responsible for maintaining order and decorum. As chair of the board of internal economy, the Speaker oversees the administration of the House. In addition, the Speaker is the spokesperson and representative of the House of Commons in its relations with the Senate, the Crown, and other bodies outside the House of Commons.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Jeanne Sauvé, a Woman of Firsts on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have students review the clip "Cleaning house", including the Did You Know? section. Using the information they have gathered, each student will write a brief report in role as the auditor general of Canada, identifying the spending habits of the administrative side of the House of Commons, and then describing the changes that were made by Jeanne Sauvé.
Working in pairs, students use their reports to create a script for a 30-second news clip commenting on the cuts made by the Speaker. Students may include reaction from employees of the House of Commons as well as an MP. Scripts may be acted out in front of the class.
Revisit and Reflect
Have groups act out their scripts for the class. Discuss together whether Jeanne Sauvé was courageous about "cutting" the administrative spending in the House of Commons and whether she received the appropriate credit for this action.
Students can access the financial statements of their local school board. In partners, students can assess the board's spending and determine whether there are cuts to be made or whether monies should move from one initiative to another. Students must provide a rationale for their suggestions.