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Adèle Lessard

Lexique Des Termes Parlementaires En Usage En Belgique, En France Et Au Quebec, National Assembly of Quebec, 1986, 55 p.

The purpose of this glossary is to compare certain terms used in three French language Parliaments Quebec, France and Belgium. The same term may have different or slightly different meanings from one parliament to another. For example the meaning of, "loi constitutionnelle", "ministre d'État", "projet e loi" and many other terms varies according to the jurisdiction. Conversely terms such as, "trône" and "perchoir", "clôture" and 'guillotine"; "mort au feuilleton" and "caducité" mean the same thing according to the Legislature. One can imagine the confusion that could result from misuse of a term.

The glossary includes terms unique to each system, for example, "Conseil de la communauté français" (Belgium), "Congrès du Parlement" (France), "tiers parti" (Quebec), Certain other terms are identified with only one country although it is unclear whether they also exist elsewhere. Among these terms are "orateur" (Belgium, France), recueil des notices et portraits" (France), "décision" (Quebec), "étude des crédits" (Quebec), "projet de loi d'intérêt privé" (Quebec). Moreover it is not self-evident that other terms such as "favoritisme" or "lobby" are used exclusively in Quebec. Unfortunately the authors did not make a more systematic comparison or at least explain the parameters of their study, particularly in areas where linguistic intuition or a knowledge of parliamentary procedure would suggest there should be corresponding terms.

Aside from these shortcomings, the glossary covers the essential terms in the parliamentary process. The organization and arrangement of the data is well done and easy to use. It includes some 372 entries arranged in alphabetical order followed by an index of all terms mentioned in the text. Each entry is accompanied by a clear and concise definition including an indication of the different meanings for each country where the term is used. These are often followed by relevant explanatory notes and cross references.

Mistakes in usage are indicated giving the glossary a normative dimension. Certain terms and entries in the index are in quotation marks but the use of quotes is not always consistent. For example they are used differently in the case of "trombinoscope", "simple député", "Haute assemblée" and "redistribution des sièges". Perhaps the authors could have clarified their practice.

Publication of this glossary was a joint parliamentary project. The authors, Jean-Pierre Bloch (Paris), Claude Remy (Bruxelles) and Gaston Deschênes (Quebec), are members of the legislative staff in their respective parliaments. Perhaps this type of project could be extended to other parliaments where French is an official language.

Adèle Lessard, University of Ottawa, Ottawa

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Vol 9 no 4

Last Updated: 2019-07-15