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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

 
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In order to bring a proposal before the House and obtain a decision on it, a motion is necessary.[4] A motion is a proposal moved by one Member in accordance with well‑established rules that the House do something, order something done or express an opinion with regard to some matter.[5] A motion initiates a discussion and gives rise to the question to be decided by the House.[6] This is the process followed by the House when transacting business.

While there may be many items on the Order Paper awaiting the consideration of the House, only one motion may be debated in the House at any one time.[7] Once a motion has been proposed to the House by the Chair, the House is formally seized of it. The motion may then be debated, amended, superseded, adopted, negatived, or withdrawn.[8]

A motion is adopted if it receives the support of the majority of the Members present in the House at the time the decision on it is made. Every motion, once adopted, becomes either an order or a resolution of the House. Through its orders, the House regulates its proceedings or gives instructions to its Members or officers, or to one of its committees. A resolution of the House is a declaration of opinion or purpose;[9] it does not require that any action be taken, nor is it binding. The House has frequently brought forth resolutions in order to show support for an action or outlook.[10]

A motion must be drafted in such a way that, should it be adopted by the House, “it may at once become the resolution … or order which it purports to be”.[11] For example, it is usual for the text of a motion to begin with the word “That”. While examples may be found of motions with preambles, this is generally considered out of keeping with usual practice.[12] It is customary for motions to be expressed in the affirmative. A motion should not contain any objectionable or irregular wording. It should be neither argumentative nor in the style of a speech.[13]

*   Debatable and Non-debatable Motions

Before 1913, the rules provided for a limited number of matters to be decided without debate; however, the general practice until then had been that all motions were debatable, barring the existence of some rule or practice to the contrary.[14] In 1913, the Standing Orders were amended to specify that all motions were to be decided without debate or amendment unless specifically recognized as debatable in the text of the rule.[15] The Standing Orders therefore list those motions which are debatable and state that all others, unless otherwise provided for in the Standing Orders, are to be decided without debate or amendment.[16]

Debatable motions generally include:

*       motions requiring written notice;

*       all Orders of the Day, with the exception of concurrence in (but not consideration of) a ways and means motion;

*       motions taken up during Routine Proceedings under the rubric “Motions”; and

*       motions to adjourn the House for the purpose of initiating emergency debates.

As a general rule, every question that is debatable is amendable. Exceptions include motions to adjourn the House for the purpose of an emergency debate, to designate the date and time of a take-note debate, to refer a government bill to a committee before second reading and “That this question be now put” (the “previous question”).

Motions decided without debate or amendment tend to be concerned more with the ordering of business of the House or with the manner in which it is conducted than with the substance of that business. They include (but are not limited to) motions:

*       that the House do now adjourn;

*       to proceed to the Orders of the Day;

*       that the House proceed to another order of business;

*       that the debate be now adjourned;

*       that the question be postponed to a specific day;

*       to go into a Committee of the Whole at the next sitting;

*       that a Member be now heard; and

*       to continue or extend a sitting.[17]

Classification of Motions

There is no single way of classifying motions.[18] Generally, they may be grouped into those motions which are self‑contained and require notice and those which are dependent on some other proceeding or motion and do not require notice. Those in the first group are substantive motions and those in the second group are either subsidiary (or ancillary) or privileged motions (see Figure 12.1, Classification of Motions).

 

Image depicting, in a series of boxes linked by lines, the classification of motions into those that require notice and are independent (such as substantive motions), and those that do not require notice and dependent on another motion or proceeding (such as subsidiary or privileged motions). Privileged motions are also then further divided into amendments and superseding motions (including the previous question and dilatory motions).

*   Substantive Motions

Substantive motions are independent proposals which are complete in themselves, and are neither incidental to nor dependent upon any proceeding already before the House. As self-contained items of business for consideration and decision, each is used to elicit an opinion or action of the House. They are amendable and must be phrased in such a way as to enable the House to express agreement or disagreement with what is proposed. Such motions normally require written notice before they can be moved in the House. They include, for example, private Members’ motions, opposition motions on supply days and government motions.

*   Subsidiary Motions

Subsidiary motions, also known as ancillary motions, are procedural in nature; each is dependent on an existing order of the House, and is used to move forward a question then before the House.[19] For example, motions for the second and third readings of bills, and motions to commit (i.e., to refer a matter to a Committee of the Whole or to another committee) are subsidiary motions which are debatable and amendable.[20] Like privileged motions, they may be moved without notice.[21]

*   Privileged Motions

A privileged motion (not to be confused with a motion based on a question of privilege) differs from a substantive motion in that it arises from and is dependent on the subject under debate. A privileged motion may be moved without notice when a debatable motion is before the House; the privileged motion then takes precedence over the original motion under debate. Privileged motions can either be amendments or superseding motions. Both types seek to set aside the question under consideration and may be moved only when that question is under debate.

Amendments

A motion in amendment arises out of debate and is proposed either to modify the original motion in order to make it more acceptable to the House or to present a different proposition as an alternative to the original. It requires no notice[22] and is submitted in writing to the Chair. The provision that a motion must be in writing ensures that, if the motion is in order, it is proposed to the House exactly as worded by the mover. No amendment may be moved during the questions and comments period provided for after each Member’s speech on the main motion. After an amendment has been moved, seconded and evaluated as to its procedural acceptability, the Chair proposes it to the House.[23] Debate on the main motion is set aside and the amendment is debated until it has been decided, whereupon debate resumes on the main motion and other amendments may be proposed.

Just as the text of a main motion may be amended, an amendment may itself be amended. A subamendment is an amendment proposed to an amendment. In most cases, there is no limit to the number of amendments which may be moved; however, only one amendment and one subamendment may be before the House at any one time.[24]

An amendment must be relevant to the motion it seeks to amend. It must not stray from the main motion but aim to refine its meaning and intent.[25] An amendment should take the form of a motion to:

*       leave out certain words in order to add other words;

*       leave out certain words; or

*       insert or add other words to the main motion.

An amendment should be so framed that, if agreed to, it will leave the main motion intelligible and internally consistent.[26]

An amendment is out of order procedurally, if:

*       it is irrelevant to the main motion[27] (i.e., it deals with a matter foreign to the main motion, exceeds its scope,[28] or introduces a new proposition which should properly be the subject of a substantive motion with notice[29]);

*       it raises a question substantially the same as one which the House has decided in the same session or conflicts with an amendment already agreed to;[30]

*       it is completely contrary to the main motion and would produce the same result as the defeat of the main motion;[31]

*       any part of the amendment is out of order;[32] or

*       it originates with the mover of the main motion.[33]

When an amendment is being debated, its mover may not move an amendment to his or her own amendment. If the Member wishes to modify the amendment, he or she must seek the consent of the House to withdraw the original amendment and propose a new one.[34]

Amendments to certain items of business are subject to additional restrictions. For example, only one amendment and one subamendment may be moved to a motion proposed in the Budget debate or to a motion proposed under an Order of the Day for the consideration of the Business of Supply on an allotted day. In the latter case, such an amendment may only be moved with the consent of the motion’s sponsor, as is the case with private Members’ motions and motions for second reading of private Members’ bills.[35] Further, a motion to refer a government bill to committee before second reading is not subject to amendment.[36]

*   Subamendments

Most of what applies to amendments applies equally to subamendments. Each subamendment must be strictly relevant to (and not at variance with the sense of) the corresponding amendment and must seek to modify the amendment, and not the original question;[37] it cannot enlarge upon the amendment, introduce new matters foreign to it or differ in substance from the amendment.[38] A subamendment cannot strike out all of the words in an amendment thereby nullifying it; the Speaker has ruled that the proper course in such a case would be for the House to defeat the amendment.[39] Debate on a subamendment is restricted to the words added to or omitted from the original motion by the amendment. Since subamendments cannot be further amended, a Member wishing to change one under debate must wait until it is defeated and then propose a new subamendment.

Superseding Motions

A superseding motion is one which is moved for the purpose of superseding (or replacing) the question before the House. There are two types of superseding motions: the previous question[40] and several subtypes known collectively as dilatory motions. While the text of an amendment is dependent on that of the main motion, the text of a superseding motion is predetermined and the motion is proposed with the intention of setting aside further discussion of whatever question is before the House.

Superseding motions can be moved without notice when any other debatable motion is before the House. The Member moving a superseding motion can do so only after having been recognized by the Speaker in the course of debate. It is not in order for such a motion to be moved when the Member has been recognized on a point of order or during the period provided for questions and comments.[41] With the exception of the previous question, superseding motions are not debatable and cannot be applied to one another.

*   The Previous Question

When debate on a motion concludes (i.e., no Member not already having done so wishes to speak, or the House has ordered debate to conclude), the question is put by the Chair, enabling the House to agree or disagree with the proposition before it. The act of putting the question assumes that the House has finished debate and wants to make a decision. Normally, this is implicit in the process, as seen when the Chair asks if the House is “ready for the question”; it can, however, be tested by asking the House to make a formal decision as to whether or not the question should be put. In such a case, a decision is required prior to the one on the main motion. This is achieved by proposing, “That this question be now put”, a motion known as the previous question.[42]

The previous question has been used irregularly since Confederation. There are only four recorded instances of its use in the nineteenth century.[43] In 1913, a noteworthy event occurred in relation to the previous question when the government, seeking means to bring an end to the lengthy debate on its Naval Aid Bill, moved a motion introducing three new Standing Orders―including the closure rule―and then eliminated any possibility of amendment by moving the previous question immediately thereafter.[44] The new rules were adopted after days of acrimonious debate[45] and the immediate effect of this was the application of the closure rule to the debate on the Naval Aid Bill.[46] In the late 1920s, and afterwards in the 1940s and early 1950s, the previous question was used fairly regularly. Following an almost 19‑year lapse in which it was not used at all,[47] it came again into frequent use in the 1980s and 1990s and remains in regular use.[48]

The motion, “That this question be now put”, has two uses:

*       to supersede the question under debate since, if it is negatived, thus resolving that the question be not now put, the Speaker is bound not to put the main question at that time, and the House proceeds to its next item of business; and

*       to limit debate since, until it is decided, it precludes any amendment to the main motion.[49] If it is adopted, thus resolving that the original question be now put, it compels the House to proceed immediately to a decision on the main question.[50]

The previous question has been applied to many substantive motions before the House. For example, it has been moved to the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne,[51] to the various stages of a bill,[52] to motions for concurrence in reports from committees,[53] to motions of instruction to standing committees,[54] and to motions sponsored by private Members[55] and the government.[56]

The previous question cannot be proposed by the mover of the main motion; nor can it be moved by a Member who has been recognized on a point of order. It can only be moved by a Member recognized to speak in the regular course of debate. The previous question is a debatable superseding motion which is given priority once it is proposed during debate.[57] The same time limits applicable to speeches and questions and comments during debate on the main motion apply to the debate on the previous question. It cannot be proposed while an amendment to the main question is being considered, but once the amendment is disposed of by the House and debate resumes on the main motion itself, amended or not, the previous question can then be moved.[58] While the previous question is debatable, it is not amendable[59] and can be withdrawn only by unanimous consent.[60] The previous question cannot be moved in a Committee of the Whole or in any committee of the House.[61]

A unique feature of the previous question is that it does nothing to hinder debate on the original motion.[62] What is relevant to the previous question is also relevant to the original motion. Nonetheless, after the previous question has been moved, it constitutes a new question before the House and Members may participate in debate even if they have already spoken to the main motion or to any amendment which has been disposed of.[63] Since the previous question is not a substantive motion, its mover is not granted the right to speak a second time in reply.[64]

Debate on the previous question may be superseded by a motion to adjourn the debate, a motion to adjourn the House or a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day;[65] however, such motions are not in order once the House has adopted the motion for the previous question.[66] If debate on the previous question is adjourned or interrupted by the adjournment of the House or otherwise, debate on the previous question and the original motion ceases and both are retained on the Order Paper.[67] In some of these cases, the main motion and previous question were again brought before the House and decided; in others, there was no further debate or decision and the motions lapsed when the session ended.[68]

When debate on the motion for the previous question has been concluded, the question is put to the House.[69] Members moving the previous question have, when a recorded division was held, voted in favour, against or not at all.[70] If the previous question is resolved in the affirmative, the Chair immediately, without further debate or amendment, puts the question on the original motion.[71] If it is negatived,[72] resolving that the question be not now put, the Speaker must not put the main question at that time; the main motion having been superseded, the House proceeds to its next item of business, and the main motion is removed from the Order Paper.

A recorded division on the previous question may be deferred.[73] However, when a deferred division on the previous question is held and the motion is adopted, the question is put immediately on the main motion and the latter vote cannot be further deferred.[74]

*   Dilatory Motions

Dilatory motions are superseding motions intended to dispose of the original question before the House either for the time being or permanently. Although dilatory motions are often moved for the express purpose of causing delay, they may also be used to advance the business of the House. Thus, dilatory motions are used both by the government and the opposition.

Dilatory motions can only be moved by a Member who has been recognized by the Chair in the regular course of debate, and not on a point of order.[75] Dilatory motions include motions:[76]

*       to proceed to the Orders of the Day;

*       to proceed to another order of business;

*       to postpone consideration of a question until a later date;

*       to adjourn the House;[77] and

*       to adjourn the debate.

The Standing Orders indicate that dilatory motions are receivable “when a question is under debate”;[78] however, they have also been moved when there was no question under debate during Routine Proceedings.[79] The Chair has found in order motions that the House proceed to the next item under Routine Proceedings,[80] and that the House proceed to the Orders of the Day.[81] However, a motion to move to an item under Routine Proceedings, other than the next one in the sequence, was ruled out of order on the grounds that the House should proceed from item to item in the usual order.[82] Unlike the previous question, dilatory motions may be proposed while an amendment to a motion is under debate.[83]

When a dilatory motion is moved and seconded, the Chair must be provided with its text in writing.[84] Dilatory motions do not require notice, are not debatable or amendable and, if in order, are put by the Chair immediately. Until 1913, dilatory motions were debatable and the consideration of the superseded question would be delayed by the debate and decision on the dilatory motion.[85] When a dilatory motion is now moved, a recorded division is usually demanded and the bells ring for a maximum of 30 minutes to summon the Members, thus delaying debate on other matters before the House. Obviously, when a motion to adjourn the House is adopted, the time remaining in the sitting day is also lost.

A motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day or to proceed to another order of business, while classed as a dilatory motion, is often used by the government during Routine Proceedings to counteract dilatory tactics or to advance the business of the House. A motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day, if adopted, supersedes whatever is then before the House and causes the House to proceed immediately to the Orders of the Day, skipping over any intervening matters on the agenda.[86]

Motions to Proceed to the Orders of the Day

The motion “That the House do now proceed to the Orders of the Day” may be moved by any Member prior to the calling of Orders of the Day; however, once the House has reached this point, moving the motion would be redundant.[87] The Chair has ruled that a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is in order during Routine Proceedings[88] which, in recent practice, is the only time that it has been proposed.[89] If the motion is adopted, the item of Routine Proceedings then before the House (and all further items under Routine Proceedings) and requests for emergency debates are superseded and stood over until the next sitting while the House moves immediately to the Orders of the Day.[90] No point of order may be entertained once the Speaker has put the question to the House.[91] Furthermore, if a motion is being debated at the time a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is moved and adopted, it is dropped from the Order Paper. If the motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is defeated, the House continues with the business before it at the time the motion was moved. This motion has been moved by both the government and the opposition either as a dilatory tactic or to counter dilatory tactics.[92]

Motions to Proceed to Another Order of Business

A motion “That the House proceed to (name of another order)”, if adopted, supersedes whatever business is then before the House. The House proceeds immediately to the consideration of the order named in the motion. If a motion to proceed to another order is defeated, debate on the main motion or question before the House continues.

When the House is considering Government Orders, a motion to proceed to another Government Order is not in order if moved by a private Member, since it is the government’s prerogative to call its business in the sequence it wants.[93] On one occasion during Government Orders, a motion was moved proposing that the House proceed to consider an item of Private Members’ Business. The Speaker ruled that while the House may move from one item to another within the same type of order, a motion to move from one type of order (Government Orders, in the case at hand) to another in a different section of the Order Paper (Private Members’ Business, in this case) seeks to suspend the normal course of House business and, as such, is a substantive motion which could only be moved after due notice.[94]

A motion to proceed to another order has been interpreted to allow the House to move from one rubric or item of Routine Proceedings to the next in the sequence of items under Routine Proceedings, even though there may be no substantive motion before the House.[95] Use of this motion has become obsolete outside of Routine Proceedings as the sequence of business during Government Orders and Private Members’ Business is now determined by various Standing Orders. The House tends to proceed by unanimous consent when it wishes to vary the order of business as set out in the rules.

Motions to Postpone Consideration of a Question Until a Later Date

The purpose of the non‑debatable motion “That consideration of the question be postponed to (date)” is to delay further consideration of the question currently before the House until the day specified in the motion. It is linked to an old practice of the House, whereby each order was called each day and then postponed if it was not to be considered that day. This motion has rarely been used in the House of Commons[96] and is now obsolete.

Motions to Adjourn the Debate

The purpose of a motion to adjourn a debate is to set aside temporarily the consideration of a motion. It can be used as a dilatory tactic or for the management of the business of the House. If the House adopts a motion “That the debate be now adjourned”, then debate on the original motion stops and the House moves on to the next item of business. However, the original motion is not dropped from the Order Paper; it remains on the House agenda and is put over to the next sitting day when it may be taken up again. Thus, the adoption of a motion to adjourn the debate has the effect of delaying further debate on a motion on that day.[97] If the motion to adjourn the debate is defeated, then debate on the original motion continues.

A motion to adjourn the debate is in order when moved by a Member who has been recognized by the Speaker to take part in debate on a question before the House[98] (however, unlike a motion to adjourn the House, it may not be moved during Routine Proceedings except during debate on motions moved under the rubric “Motions”). The mover of the motion being debated may not move to adjourn the debate since this would involve moving two motions simultaneously.[99] The other restrictions which apply to motions to adjourn the House also apply to motions to adjourn the debate.[100]

Motions to Adjourn the House

The Standing Orders provide for the House to adjourn every day at a specified time.[101] However, a Member may move a motion “That the House do now adjourn” at some other time during the sitting. If the motion is agreed to, the House adjourns immediately until the next sitting day. With the exception of non‑votable items of Private Members’ Business and motions for concurrence in committee reports, the motion under consideration by the House at the time is not dropped from the Order Paper, but is simply put over to the next sitting day when it may be taken up again.[102]

Motions to adjourn are referred to as dilatory motions when they are used to supersede and delay the proceedings of the House.[103] However, motions to adjourn are not considered to be dilatory motions when they are used by the government for the management of the business of the House. A motion to adjourn the House may be proposed by the government simply to end a sitting.[104] For example, this motion has been used by the government to adjourn late in the sitting but before the scheduled hour of adjournment, rather than call another item of business;[105] or to adjourn because of extraordinary circumstances.[106] A motion to adjourn the House is not debatable. The House has nonetheless used this motion, by unanimous consent or special order, as the vehicle for a debate on a matter deemed important but which was not necessarily connected to any business before the House.[107] In addition, the motion to adjourn the House is debatable when used to hold an emergency debate[108] or, at the end of a sitting, for the adjournment proceedings.[109]

A motion to adjourn the House[110] is in order when moved by a Member who has been recognized by the Speaker to take part in debate on a motion before the House,[111] or to take part in business under Routine Proceedings.[112] A motion to adjourn the House is not in order if conditions are attached to the motion (e.g., where a specific time of adjournment is included), since this transforms it into a substantive motion which may only be moved after notice.[113] In addition, a motion to adjourn the House may not be moved in the following circumstances:

*       during Statements by Members or Question Period;[114]

*       during the questions and comments period following a speech;[115]

*       on a point of order;[116]

*       by a Member moving a motion in the course of debate (the same Member cannot move two motions at the same time);

*       during the election of the Speaker;[117]

*       during emergency debates or the Adjournment Proceedings since, at these times, the House is already considering a motion to adjourn;[118]

*       on the final allotted day of a supply period;[119]

*       during debate on a motion that is the object of closure;[120]

*       when a Standing or Special Order of the House provides for the completion of proceedings on any given business before the House, except when moved by a Minister;[121] or

*       during proceedings on any motion proposed by a Minister in relation to a matter the government considers urgent.[122]

If a motion to adjourn is defeated, a second such motion may not be moved until some intermediate proceeding or item of business has been considered.[123] Members may move repeatedly and alternately the motions to adjourn the debate and to adjourn the House, as these motions do not have the same effect and are considered intermediate proceedings.[124]

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[4] Bourinot, Sir J.G., Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, 4th ed., edited by T.B. Flint, Toronto: Canada Law Book Company, 1916, p. 292.

[5] Beauchesne, A., Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 4th ed., Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1958, p. 163. It should be noted that there are circumstances in which motions are deemed to have been moved. See, for example, Standing Orders 7(1.1), 8(2) and 97.1(3)(a).

[6] Stewart, p. 35.

[7] Motions in amendment to a bill at report stage are the exception. The Speaker has the authority to group motions in amendment at the report stage of a bill for debate and decision (Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5)).

[8] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 297.

[9] May, T.E., Erskine May’s Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, 23rd ed., edited by Sir W. McKay, London: LexisNexis UK, 2004, p. 418.

[10] See, for example, Debates, September 30, 1998, pp. 8582‑3; February 15, 2007, p. 6863.

[11] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 316.

[12] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 317. See also Speaker Milliken’s ruling regarding preambles, Debates, February 15, 2008, pp. 3173‑4.

[13] Beauchesne, 4th ed., pp. 166‑7.

[14] Examples of matters decided without debate were motions that a Member be now heard, appeals from Speakers’ decisions (abolished in 1965), and motions for leave to move the adjournment of the House to discuss an urgent matter (Rules 17, 18 and 39, Rules of the House of Commons of Canada, 1912).

[15] In moving the adoption of the new text on April 9, 1913, Prime Minister Borden claimed that its objective was to give full opportunity of debate upon every substantial motion and to provide that motions which ought to be regarded as purely formal should no longer be debatable (Debates, April 9, 1913, cols. 7403‑6). This change was brought forward as part of the government’s effort to break an impasse created by an opposition filibuster against a government bill; the changes were adopted on April 23, 1913, after heated debate over several sittings (Debates, April 9‑11, 14‑16, 22‑23, 1913).

[16] Standing Order 67.

[17] Standing Order 26.

[18] Beauchesne classifies motions as either substantive, privileged, incidental or subsidiary (Beauchesne, A., Beauchesne’s Rules & Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 6th ed., edited by A. Fraser, W.F. Dawson and J.A. Holtby, Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1989, pp. 173‑4). May (23rd ed., p. 382) divides motions into two categories: substantive and subsidiary. Subsidiary motions are then divided into three subcategories―ancillary, superseding and motions dependent on other motions (such as amendments).

[19] Beauchesne, 4th ed., p. 166; see also May, 23rd ed., p. 382.

[20] Standing Order 63.

[21] The motion for leave to introduce a bill requires notice, but the remaining motions in the legislative process, with the exception of report stage amendments, require no notice to be filed by a Member—they are automatically inserted on the Order Paper (Standing Orders 54(1), 76(2) and 76.1(2)).

[22] If a Member has indicated an intention to propose an amendment, the Member is not entitled to any precedence in debate and must wait to be recognized on debate before moving the amendment (Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 316).

[23] When the Chair has reserved judgement on an amendment, debate continues on the main motion on the understanding that consideration of the amendment will begin immediately at such time as it is found to be in order. See, for example, Debates, October 21, 2005, p. 8873.

[24] In certain cases provided for in the Standing Orders (e.g., the Budget debate) the number of amendments and subamendments which can be moved is limited. Special provisions also permit the grouping for debate of motions to amend a bill at report stage. For further information on these special circumstances, see Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”, and Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[25] Debates, December 5, 1995, p. 17197; September 29, 2005, pp. 8229-31; October 6, 2005, pp. 8515‑16.

[26] Debates, March 9, 1998, pp. 4566, 4571‑2.

[27] See, for example, Debates, June 17, 1996, pp. 3944‑5; May 5, 2005, p. 5696.

[28] See, for example, Debates, April 29, 1988, pp. 14985, 14988; February 27, 2007, pp. 7386‑7.

[29] See, for example, Debates, May 6, 1966, p. 4795; December 17, 1987, pp. 11882‑3.

[30] See, for example, Journals, February 13, 1913, p. 247; May 17, 1954, pp. 616‑20. See also Speaker Lamoureux’s comments in Journals, March 6, 1973, pp. 165‑7, in which the decision was to allow some degree of latitude for opposition motions on supply days.

[31] Expanded negative amendments strike out all the words after “That” in a motion in order to substitute a proposition with the opposite conclusion of the original motion. See, for example, Journals, June 6, 1923, pp. 437‑8; October 16, 1970, p. 28; Debates, August 11, 1988, pp. 18192, 18212‑3; October 29, 1991, pp. 4189, 4192.

[32] See, for example, Journals, April 29, 1970, p. 732.

[33] See, for example, Debates, November 4, 1999, p. 1096. In 2000, the Deputy Speaker ruled an amendment to an opposition motion out of order because it had been seconded by the seconder of the original motion (Debates, February 8, 2000, p. 3222). This does not appear to have set a precedent, and no similar proscription has been extended to other types of motions. See, for example, Journals, March 4, 2008, p. 508.

[34] See, for example, Debates, November 3, 1989, p. 5541; May 26, 1993, p. 19858.

[35] Standing Orders 85 and 93(3).

[36] Standing Order 73.

[37] See, for example, Journals, January 18, 1973, pp. 48‑9; Debates, February 10, 1998, pp. 3650, 3653, 3656. The Speaker has ruled that where a subamendment is found to be in the nature of an amendment to the main motion, its sponsor must wait until the first amendment is negatived before reoffering the motion as another amendment (Journals, November 29, 1944, pp. 933‑5).

[38] See, for example, Journals, March 8, 1937, p. 208; Debates, April 21, 1986, p. 12500; June 12, 1987, pp. 7060‑2; January 16, 1991, pp. 17124‑5; October 24, 1996, p. 5659.

[39] Journals, March 14, 1947, p. 198.

[40] Standing Order 61.

[41] See, for example, Journals, December 30, 1971, p. 1014; Debates, November 20, 1996, p. 6503.

[42] Standing Order 61(1). The wording of the previous question has not been altered since its introduction into the rules of the House in 1867. In the British House, the previous question is worded in the negative: “That this question be not now put”. If carried, the question under debate drops (but may be brought forward again another day) and the House proceeds to its next business; if negatived, the original question must be put immediately, without further debate (May 23rd ed., pp. 395‑6).

[43] Journals, May 31, 1869, pp. 163‑4; April 28, 1870, pp. 254‑5; March 11, 1879, p. 77; March 11, 1886, p. 45.

[44] Journals, April 9, 1913, pp. 451‑3.

[45] Journals, April 23, 1913, pp. 507‑9.

[46] For a description of events in the House at the time, see Dawson, W.F., Procedure in the Canadian House of Commons, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962, pp. 122‑3.

[47] The previous question was moved in 1964 (Journals, December 16, 1964, p. 1016) and then not until 1983 (Journals, February 9, 1983, p. 5587).

[48] In many of the post‑1980 cases, the previous question was moved in respect to a government bill, often at second reading, seemingly for the purpose of curtailing the debate. For further information, see Chapter 14, “The Curtailment of Debate”.

[49] Standing Order 61(1).

[50] Standing Order 61(2).

[51] Journals, February 16, 1926, pp. 98‑9; July 5, 1943, pp. 583‑4.

[52] Journals, May 9, 1928, pp. 371‑2 (third reading of a private bill); February 9, 1983, p. 5587 (second reading of a private Member’s public bill); August 28, 1987, p. 1397 (Senate amendments to a government bill); November 26, 1998, p. 1316, March 30, 2007, p. 1199 (second reading of a government bill); May 30, 2005, p. 796, June 8, 2007, p. 1497 (third reading of a government bill).

[53] Journals, November 3, 2004, pp. 190-1; May 5, 2005, p. 708.

[54] Journals, May 30, 2005, pp. 800-1.

[55] Journals, March 4, 1907, pp. 229‑30; April 6, 1959, p. 289.

[56] Journals, April 9, 1913, pp. 451‑3; March 27, 1990, p. 1420; January 16, 1991, p. 2571; December 11, 1992, p. 2394; November 24, 2006, p. 803.

[57] Standing Order 67(1)(c).

[58] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 327. See also Debates, November 21, 1986, pp. 1413, 1415. For example, the previous question was moved after a six‑month hoist amendment had been moved and disposed of (Journals, November 16, 1998, p. 1260; November 26, 1998, p. 1316).

[59] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 326.

[60] See, for example, Journals, May 4, 1948, p. 536; December 17, 1964, p. 1016; February 9, 1983, p. 5587; May 10, 1990, p. 1685.

[61] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 328. See Debates, December 11, 1979, p. 2246, when a Member attempted to move the previous question in a Committee of the Whole and was ruled out of order by the Chair. See also Debates, November 27, 2002, pp. 1949-50.

[62] See, for example, Debates, May 12, 2006, pp. 1328-9.

[63] See, for example, Debates, April 6, 1959, p. 2286.

[64] Standing Order 44(2).

[65] See Speaker Lemieux’s comments in Debates, May 26, 1928, pp. 3419‑20; on this occasion, the previous question was moved and a subsequent motion to adjourn the debate was defeated. In 1995, after the previous question was moved, a motion to adjourn the debate was moved and negatived (Journals, May 9, 1995, p. 1449; May 10, 1995, pp.1459‑60).

[66] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 327‑8.

[67] Standing Order 41. In 1980, for example, debate on the previous question was interrupted when the time provided for Private Members’ Business expired (Journals, May 13, 1980, p. 163) and subsequently both motions were carried on the Order Paper (Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 20, 1980, p. 58). In 2006, debate on the previous question was interrupted when the time provided for Government Orders expired; likewise, both motions were entered on the next day’s Order Paper (Journals, November 24, 2006, p. 806; Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 27, 2006, pp. 25-6). If a recorded division is demanded on the motion for the previous question, and the House decides to defer the vote, both motions remain on the Order Paper (Journals, May 3, 2005, p. 689; Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 4, 2005, pp. 27-8).

[68] This happened in 1928 (third reading of a private bill—Journals, May 26, 1928, pp. 461‑2); in 1949 (second reading of a private bill—Journals, December 2, 1949, pp. 319‑20); in 1959 (private Member’s motion—Journals, April 6, 1959, p. 289); in 1963 (second reading of a private Member’s public bill—Journals, November 1, 1963, p. 516); in 1980 (second reading of a private Member’s public bill—Journals, May 13, 1980, p. 163); and in 2007 (second reading of a government bill—Journals, June 5, 2007, p. 1473).

[69] On four occasions, motions for closure were applied to curtail debate on the previous question (Journals, March 2, 1926, p. 123; March 29, 1932, p. 177; October 26, 1989, pp. 754‑5; November 27, 2006, p. 808). In each case, the closure motion was adopted.

[70] Bourinot states that Members “proposing and seconding the previous question generally vote in its favour, but there is no rule to prevent them from voting against their own motion” if their intention is to supersede the question (4th ed., p. 327, which refers to the Speaker’s remarks in Debates, March 13, 1879, pp. 407‑9). See, for example, Journals, May 31, 1869, pp. 163‑4 (mover voted nay); March 10, 1950, p. 96; April 17, 1950, pp. 236‑7 (mover and seconder not recorded as voting); October 29, 2002, pp. 130-1 (mover and seconder voted yea).

[71] Standing Order 61(2). See also Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 327‑8; Debates, November 26, 1998, p. 10472.

[72] The previous question was negatived on four occasions (Journals, May 31, 1869, pp. 163‑4; April 28, 1870, pp. 254‑5; June 1, 1928, p. 489; April 15, 1929, p. 242).

[73] See, for example, Journals, May 3, 2005, p. 687. The recorded division is automatically deferred if it is requested on a Friday (Standing Order 45(6)(a)).

[74] Standing Orders 45(5)(d) and 61(2). An exception occurred on March 27, 1991 when a vote on the main motion was deferred to later in the sitting by unanimous consent (Journals, p. 2839).

[75] See, for example, Debates, June 21, 1994, p. 5698; November 20, 1996, p. 6503.

[76] Standing Order 58.

[77] Adjournment motions are referred to as dilatory motions only when they are used to stop a debate and supersede the original question before the House (Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 173). For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Motions to Adjourn the House”.

[78] Standing Order 58.

[79] For further information on Routine Proceedings, see Standing Order 30(3) for the list of items under Routine Proceedings, and Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”. There are many examples of motions moved during Routine Proceedings. See events during Routine Proceedings on November 6, 7, 19‑21, 24 and 25, 1986, as well as in April 1987, when the House was debating a contentious bill amending the Patent Act (Bill C‑22). On April 13, 1987, the government attempted to move a motion to supersede certain items under Routine Proceedings (Debates, pp. 5071‑82). The next day, Speaker Fraser ruled to allow the motion, in this instance only, emphasizing that the decision was not to be viewed as a precedent. The Speaker agreed that, on the basis of his ruling of November 24, 1986 (Debates, p. 1435), the superseding of items under Routine Proceedings was not in order. Nonetheless, he felt that the interests of the House would be best served if (given the various tactics of obstruction used over a period of weeks, which had blocked debate on the bill) the government were allowed to proceed with its motion (Debates, April 14, 1987, pp. 5119‑24).

[80] See, for example, Debates, November 25, 1986, pp. 1485‑8.

[81] See, for example, Debates, January 30, 1990, pp. 7588‑9; February 26, 2002, pp. 9231‑2.

[82] See, for example, Debates, November 24, 1986, p. 1435.

[83] See, for example, Journals, March 9, 1998, p. 540.

[84] See, for example, Debates, June 21, 1994, p. 5698.

[85] See, for example, Journals, April 9, 1913, pp. 451‑3; April 23, 1913, pp. 507‑9.

[86] Standing Order 59. See, for example, Journals, December 20, 1988, pp. 60‑1; December 21, 1988, pp. 66‑7; October 22, 2003, pp. 1147‑8.

[87] Journals, June 29, 1971, p. 759.

[88] See, for example, Debates, January 30, 1990, pp. 7587‑9; February 26, 2002, pp. 9231‑2.

[89] A motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day has been moved during Routine Proceedings under “Presenting Petitions” (Journals, November 6, 1986, pp. 180‑1); under “Tabling of Documents” (Journals, October 27, 2003, pp. 1170‑1); under “Presenting Reports from Committees” (Journals, February 5, 1993, pp. 2461‑2); and under “Motions”, during debate on a motion to concur in a committee report (Journals, June 5, 2006, pp. 229‑31). On February 9, 1987, a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day was moved at the beginning of the sitting (Journals, p. 464).

[90] See, for example, Debates, December 13, 1988, p. 23; March 6, 1990, pp. 8844‑6.

[91] See, for example, Debates, May 6, 2003, p. 5839.

[92] See, for example, Journals, April 9, 1987, p. 730; June 2, 1998, pp. 920‑1; October 7, 2003, pp. 1102‑3.

[93] Standing Order 40(2). See also Speakers’ rulings, Journals, May 14, 1956, p. 543; April 18, 1967, pp. 1733‑4; October 23, 1968, pp. 156‑7.

[94] See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, March 29, 1966, pp. 363‑4.

[95] See, for example, Debates, November 24, 1986, p. 1435; November 25, 1986, p. 1488.

[96] See, for example, Journals, April 29, 1874, p. 133; April 3, 1875, p. 350.

[97] In a Committee of the Whole, the motion that the committee rise and report progress is the equivalent of the motion to adjourn debate. For further information, see Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[98] See, for example, Journals, June 21, 1994, pp. 633‑4, 637‑8, when a motion to adjourn the debate was moved during report stage of a bill for which time had been allocated under Standing Order 78; March 9, 1998, p. 540 and February 4, 2002, pp. 997‑8, when it was moved during debate on a motion in relation to a matter of privilege; March 26, 1998, pp. 633‑4 and June 20, 2005, pp. 934-5, when, in Routine Proceedings, it was moved during debate on a motion to concur in a committee report.

[99] See, for example, Debates, February 28, 2000, p. 4097.

[100] For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Motions to Adjourn the House”.

[101] Standing Order 24(2).

[102] Standing Order 41(2). Prior to April 1991, a dilatory motion to adjourn the House, if agreed to, superseded the motion under debate, which was dropped from the Order Paper (Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 323). Standing Order 41(2) does not apply to motions for concurrence in committee reports as they are not Orders of the Day.

[103] See, for example, Journals, March 29, 2001, pp. 263‑4.

[104] May 23rd ed., pp. 394‑5.

[105] See, for example, Journals, October 30, 1995, p. 2063.

[106] For example, it is usual for a motion to adjourn the House to be moved and adopted when news of the death of a sitting Member reaches the House during a sitting (Debates, November 17, 1970, p. 1228; Journals, December 16, 1976, p. 251). In 1998, a Member was stricken in the Chamber and the House adjourned by unanimous consent; the next day, the House met for Routine Proceedings, after which an adjournment motion was moved and adopted “out of respect for the memory” of the deceased Member (Journals, December 9, 1998, p. 1430; December 10, 1998, p. 1438). Motions to adjourn the House were also adopted: in 1896, after several Ministers resigned (Debates, January 7‑15, 1896, cols. 5‑71); in 1926, when Prime Minister Mackenzie King had tendered his resignation as Prime Minister (Journals, June 28, 1926, p. 483); and in 1968, following the defeat of a tax bill at third reading (Journals, February 20, 1968, p. 705; February 21, 1968, p. 707).

[107] In 1954, for example, the House agreed that a motion to adjourn would be the basis of a general debate on foreign policy (Debates, January 28, 1954, p. 1580; January 29, 1954, pp. 1584‑1622). In 1971, another such debate took place by Special Order of the House and was conducted similarly to an emergency debate (Journals, October 14, 1971, pp. 870‑1, Debates, pp. 8659‑60, 8688‑734).

[108] Standing Order 52. For further information on emergency debates, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[109] Standing Order 38. For further information on the adjournment proceedings, see Chapter 11, “Questions”.

[110] Standing Order 60 specifies that “no second motion to the same effect shall be made until some intermediate proceeding has taken place”.

[111] See, for example, Debates, May 13, 2005, pp. 5976‑7, when the motion to adjourn the House was moved during debate at second reading of a government bill. Standing Order 95(3) limits the application of Standing Order 60 by proscribing dilatory motions during Private Members’ Business.

[112] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 1986, pp. 212‑3 and January 22, 1988, pp. 2051‑2, when the motion was moved under the rubric “Presentation of Petitions” during Routine Proceedings.

[113] See, for example, Debates, May 23, 1985, p. 4992. See also Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 324.

[114] See, for example, Debates, February 21, 1979, p. 3457; December 7, 1979, pp. 2132‑4.

[115] See, for example, Debates, March 14, 1985, pp. 3029‑30.

[116] See, for example, Debates, June 14, 1995, p. 13854.

[117] Standing Order 2(3).

[118] Standing Orders 38 and 52.

[119] Standing Order 81(17) and (18). On June 5, 1984, which was the final allotted day for the supply period, the Speaker did not accept a motion to adjourn the House (Debates, p. 4381).

[120] Standing Order 57.

[121] Standing Order 25. On one occasion, the Chair ruled a motion to adjourn out of order because the House had agreed to the presentation of the Budget later in the sitting (Debates, May 23, 1985, p. 4984). In other instances, an Order having been adopted to extend the sitting, the Speaker refused to put the motion to adjourn (Debates, December 7, 1990, p. 16470; October 20, 1997, p. 866).

[122] Standing Order 53(3)(d).

[123] Standing Order 60. “Intermediate proceeding” is defined as a “proceeding that can properly be entered on the journals” (Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 322‑3). See, for example, Journals, March 10, 1966, pp. 274‑6.

[124] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 323.

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