PARLIAMENT of CANADA
House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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Clerks of the House of Commons Since 1867

An Order in Council appointee by Letters Patent under the Great Seal, the Clerk has traditionally held office at pleasure.  While many of the Clerk’s functions are defined in the Standing Orders and the Parliament of Canada Act, most of the duties have developed as the House itself has evolved. As a commissioner of oaths, the Clerk is one of the officers who administer the oath of allegiance to newly elected Members. The Clerk is the chief adviser to the Speaker and Members of the House of Commons on procedural matters, and oversees the general administration of the House.  The Clerk has the status of deputy minister and is Secretary to the Board of Internal Economy.

  Name Date of Order-in-Council Appointment Date Appointment Entered in Journals of the House
1. William Burns Lindsay [1] November 2, 1867 November 6, 1867
2. Alfred Patrick [2] January 21, 1873 March 5, 1873
3. John George Bourinot [3] December 1, 1880 December 9, 1880
4. Thomas Barnard Flint [4] November 11, 1902 March 12, 1903
5. William Barton Northrup March 11, 1918 March 18, 1918
6. Arthur Beauchesne [5] January 7, 1925 February 5, 1925
7. Léon J. Raymond [6] August 5, 1949 September 15, 1949
8. Alistair Fraser August 6, 1967 September 25, 1967
9. Charles Beverley Koester September 1, 1979 October 9, 1979
10. Robert Marleau July 2, 1987 September 18, 1987
11. William C. Corbett July 3, 2000 September 18, 2000
12. Audrey O’Brien October 11, 2005 October 27, 2005
[1]
Until his appointment as Clerk of the House of Commons, William Burns Lindsay held the position of Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1862 to 1867.  At Confederation, he became the first Clerk of the House of Commons.
[2]
Until his appointment as Clerk of the House of Commons, Alfred Patrick held the position of Clerk Assistant in the Legislative Assembly of Canada and the House of Commons.
[3]
John George Bourinot was the author of Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in Canada, the first Canadian treatise on parliamentary procedure and an authorative work that had four editions published in 1884, 1892, 1903 and 1916.
[4]
Thomas Barnard Flint was a former Member of Parliament.  He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1891 and was re-elected in 1896 and 1900.His resignation as Member of Parliament and subsequent appointment as Clerk of the House of Commons were announced in the House by the Speaker on March 12, 1903 (Debates, March 12, 1903, pp. 1-2).
[5]
Arthur Beauchesne, a public servant, was appointed Clerk Assistant on February 17, 1916.  He was also the author of Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, an authorative work on parliamentary procedure that had six editions published in 1922, 1927, 1943, 1958, 1978 and 1989.
[6]
Léon J. Raymond was a former Member of Parliament. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1945 and was re-elected in 1949.  His resignation as Member of Parliament and subsequent appointment as Clerk of the House of Commons were announced in the House by the Speaker on September 15, 1949 (Debates, September 15, 1949, pp. 4, 11).


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