Before a sitting commences, a ceremonial
procession known as the Speaker’s Parade makes its way from the Speaker’s
chambers along the Hall of Honour to the House of Commons Chamber. The
procession is led by the Sergeant‑at‑Arms, or his or her deputy,
bearing the Mace, followed by the Speaker, a page carrying the daily prayer,
the Clerk of the House and other Table Officers. As the Parade enters the
Chamber, Members rise while the Speaker makes his or her way to the Chair. The
Sergeant‑at‑Arms pauses at the end of the Table until the Speaker
has taken the Chair, then places the Mace on the Table, bows and takes a seat
at the Bar of the House. Once satisfied that a quorum is present, the Speaker
reads the prayer and opens the sitting.
In the absence of the Speaker, the
Presiding Officer for the sitting takes the Speaker’s place in the Parade.
Once the Presiding Officer has entered the Chamber, the Clerk will inform the
House of the unavoidable absence of the Speaker and the Presiding Officer will
then take the Chair as Speaker. When a quorum is present, the Chair Occupant
will then read the prayer
and open the sitting.
At the end of a sitting, the Speaker or the
Presiding Officer adjourns the House and then exits the Chamber, this time
through the doors at the rear of the Chair, preceded by the Sergeant‑at‑Arms,
or his or her deputy, bearing the Mace.
 On Wednesdays,
Members sing the national anthem at the opening of the sitting. For further
information on this practice, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 43(1);
Standing Order 8(1). The Presiding Officer would be either the Deputy Speaker,
the Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole or the Assistant Deputy Chair of
Committees of the Whole.
For further information on the prayer, see Chapter 10, “The Daily