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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

 
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*   Summoning Parliament

Section 38 of the Constitution Act, 1867 provides for the summoning of Parliament: “The Governor General shall from Time to Time, in the Queen’s Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, summon and call together the House of Commons”.

The “Instrument” consists of a series of proclamations issued by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister[16] and published in the Canada Gazette. On the day that Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, a proclamation is issued summoning Parliament to meet on a given day.[17] It is issued at the end of the preceding session, in keeping with the principle of the continuity of Parliament, whereby a session ends with provision made for its next meeting. A second proclamation confirms or changes the date and may set the time for Parliament to meet for the “Dispatch of Business” (the date can later be advanced or put back). A third proclamation is issued if the time for Parliament to meet was not announced in the second proclamation.[18]

*   Proceedings on Opening Day of a Parliament

The opening of a Parliament is also the opening of the first session of that Parliament. Two procedures distinguish it from the opening of subsequent sessions. These are the taking and subscribing of the oath of allegiance by Members and the election of a Speaker.

Members Sworn In

Following a general election, the Clerk of the House receives from the Chief Electoral Officer certificates of election for Members of the House as they become available.[19] In order for the elected Members to take their seats in the House, it is required by the Constitution Act, 1867 that they first subscribe to an oath of allegiance.[20] As an alternative to swearing the oath, the Members may make a solemn affirmation.[21]

The oath or affirmation is administered by the Clerk of the House or another designated Commissioner.[22] At this time, the newly sworn‑in Member signs the Test Roll, a book whose pages are headed by the text of the oath or affirmation. The general practice now is for Members to be sworn in prior to opening day, after the Clerk has received the certificates of election returns from the Chief Electoral Officer.[23]

Election of the Speaker

Section 44 of the Constitution Act, 1867 provides for the election of a Speaker as the first item of business when Members assemble following a general election. The Standing Orders provide for the manner in which the Speaker is elected.[24] On the day appointed by proclamation for the meeting of a new Parliament, the Members are summoned by the division bells to assemble in the Chamber, where they receive the Usher of the Black Rod,[25] who reads a message requesting the immediate attendance of the House in the Senate Chamber.

In a procession led by the Clerk of the House, the Members go to the Senate. There, a Deputy of the Governor General[26] is seated at the foot of the Throne, and the Speaker of the Senate addresses the Members on the Deputy’s behalf, informing them that “… His (Her) Excellency the Governor General does not see fit to declare the causes of his (her) summoning the present Parliament of Canada, until a Speaker of the House of Commons shall have been chosen, according to law …”.[27] This means that the Speech from the Throne will not be read until a Speaker has been elected. The Members then return to the House and proceed to elect a presiding officer.

Presentation of the Speaker to the Governor General

Following the election of the Speaker,[28] at the time fixed for the purpose of appearing for the formal opening of Parliament with a Speech from the Throne,[29] the House again receives the Usher of the Black Rod, who conveys the message of the Governor General requesting the presence of the House in the Senate.[30] The procession is led by the Usher of the Black Rod, followed by the Sergeant‑at‑Arms (bearing the Mace), the Speaker, the Clerk and the Members. At the Bar of the Senate, the newly‑elected Speaker stands on a small platform, removes his or her hat and receives an acknowledgement from the Governor General, who is seated on the Throne.[31] The Speaker addresses the Governor General by an established formula, as follows:

May it please Your Excellency,

The House of Commons has elected me their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me, and not to the Commons, whose servant I am, and who, through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duty to their Queen (King) and Country, humbly claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to Your Excellency’s person at all seasonable times, and that their proceedings may receive from Your Excellency the most favourable construction.[32]

The Speaker of the Senate, on behalf of the Governor General, makes the traditional reply:[33]

Mr. Speaker, I am commanded by His (Her) Excellency the Governor General to declare to you that he (she) freely confides in the duty and attachment of the House of Commons to Her Majesty’s Person and Government, and not doubting that their proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and prudence, he (she) grants, and upon all occasions will recognize and allow, their constitutional privileges. I am commanded also to assure you that the Commons shall have ready access to His (Her) Excellency upon all seasonable occasions and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from him (her) the most favourable construction.[34]

The claiming of privileges by the Speaker on behalf of the House occurs only at the opening of a Parliament, and is not repeated in the event a Speaker is elected during the course of a Parliament.[35] After the claiming of privilege, the session is formally opened by the reading of the Speech from the Throne.

*   Opening of a Session

As previously noted, the swearing‑in of Members and the election of a Speaker are the distinguishing features of the summoning of a new Parliament for the opening of its first session; in subsequent sessions, there are no such preliminary proceedings in the House.[36] The opening of a session—whether it is the first or a subsequent session—is marked by the reading of the Speech from the Throne. On each opening of a session, the House assembles with the Speaker in the Chair, receives the Usher of the Black Rod and proceeds in due course to the Senate for the reading of the Speech from the Throne.

Opened by the Sovereign

When a session is opened by the Sovereign, as occurred in 1957 and 1977, the message communicated to the House by the Usher of the Black Rod is “Mr. (Madam) Speaker, The Queen (King) commands this Honourable House to attend Her (His) Majesty immediately in the chamber of the Honourable the Senate”.[37]

Opened by the Governor General

When, as in most cases, the Speech from the Throne is read by the Governor General,[38] the Usher of the Black Rod delivers a message to the effect that His (or Her) Excellency the Governor General of Canada “desires” the immediate attendance of the House in the Senate.[39]

Opened by the Administrator

In the event of the death, incapacity, removal or absence from the country of the Governor General, the powers of the office devolve upon the Chief Justice of Canada. When acting in this capacity, the Chief Justice is known as the Administrator of the Government of Canada.[40] The Speech from the Throne has been read on occasion by the Administrator.[41] The message conveyed to the House by the Usher of the Black Rod in these cases is “His (Her) Excellency the Administrator desires the immediate attendance of this Honourable House in the Chamber of the Honourable the Senate”.[42]

*   Speech from the Throne and Subsequent Proceedings in the House

The Speech from the Throne imparts the causes of summoning Parliament, prior to which neither House can embark on any public business.[43] It marks the first occasion, after a general election, or a prorogation, that Parliament meets in an assembly of its three constituent parts: the House of Commons, the Senate and the Sovereign, or the Sovereign’s representative.

The Speech from the Throne usually sets forth in some detail the government’s view of the condition of the country and provides an indication of what legislation it intends to bring forward. After hearing the Speech, the Speaker and Members return to the House. If the session is the first of a new Parliament, the newly-elected Speaker will have made the traditional statement claiming for the House all its “undoubted rights and privileges”. This is reported by the Speaker to the House on returning from the Senate.[44] The business for the day’s sitting then proceeds.

The routine items typically dealt with by the House on the first day of a session are described below, in the order in which they are normally brought before the House.[45] As will be noted, variations can and do occur.

Routine Opening Day Motions and Announcements

Pro forma bill: Before proceeding to the consideration of the Speech from the Throne, the House gives first reading to the pro forma Bill C‑1, An Act respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office.[46] Typically, the Bill is introduced by the Prime Minister; it receives first reading but is not proceeded with any further during the session. Its purpose is to assert the independence of the House of Commons and its right to choose its own business and to deliberate without reference to the causes of summons as expressed in the Speech from the Throne.[47]

Report of Speech from the Throne: The Speaker reports to the House on the Speech from the Throne, informing the House that “to prevent mistakes” a copy of the Speech has been obtained; its text is published in the Debates.[48] A motion is then moved, usually by the Prime Minister, for the Speech from the Throne to be considered either “later this day” or on a future day; it is usually adopted without debate or amendment.[49]

Board of Internal Economy: The Speaker may make an announcement to the House with regard to Members appointed to sit for the duration of the Parliament on the Board of Internal Economy, the body responsible for all matters of administrative and financial policy affecting the House of Commons.[50]

Membership of Standing Committees: On the opening day of the first session of each Parliament, the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is appointed and charged with acting as a striking committee for all standing committees and standing joint committees.[51] This is effected by a motion moved without notice by a Minister, usually the Government House Leader, and agreed to.[52]

Election of Other Chair Occupants: At the beginning of a Parliament, a Chair of Committees of the Whole (who is also Deputy Speaker) is selected for the duration of the Parliament.[53] After consultations with the leaders of each of the officially recognized parties, the Speaker announces to the House the name of a Member considered qualified to be Chair of Committees of the Whole.[54] Once the name of a Member has been announced, a motion for his or her election is deemed to have been moved and seconded and the question is put immediately without debate or amendment. The Deputy Chair and the Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole are selected in the same manner for the duration of the session in which they are chosen rather than for the duration of the Parliament.[55] Since this practice began in 2004, such motions have invariably been adopted without dissent.[56]

Order for Supply: The Standing Orders require that, at the start of each session, the House designate, by means of a motion, a continuing Order of the Day for the consideration of the business of supply.[57] The designation of a continuing order for supply follows on the statement usually found in the Speech from the Throne informing Members that they “will be asked to appropriate the funds required to carry out the services and expenditures authorized by Parliament”.[58] The motion “That the Business of Supply be considered at the next sitting of the House” is moved by the President of the Treasury Board. By long‑established practice, the motion is not debatable and is traditionally agreed to without dissent. Once the motion is adopted, a continuing order to deal with supply is placed on the Order Paper under Government Orders and any supply motion to be considered by the House during the session will appear on the Order Paper under this Order of the Day.[59]

Other items of business, including Speaker’s rulings,[60] have been included on opening day. From time to time, the Speaker is notified that a Member has vacated his or her seat in the House. When this occurs prior to the opening of the session (whether the first or a subsequent session of a Parliament), the Speaker so informs the House at some point during the day’s proceedings.[61] Members elected in by‑elections prior to the opening of a session have also been introduced to the House on the first day of the new session.[62]

*   Special Sessions

A small number of sessions (see Figure 8.1) have been termed “special sessions” in the Debates or Journals of the House of Commons. From a procedural standpoint, there is nothing special about a special session. The elements required for the opening and closing of a session are present. If the special session is the first of a Parliament (as occurred in 1930), a Speaker of the House must first be elected.

 

Parliament,
session

Opening day of the session

Last sitting day of the House

Number of sitting days

Specific purpose

12,4

1914‑08‑18

1914‑08‑22

5

Outbreak of World War I

17,1

1930‑09‑08

1930‑09‑22

12

Exceptional economic conditions

18,5

1939‑09‑07

1939‑09‑13

6

Outbreak of World War II

21,3

1950‑08‑29

1951‑01‑29

17

Disruption of railway transportation
facilities and war in Korea

22,4

1956‑11‑26

1957‑01‑18

5

Hostilities in Middle East and events in Hungary

 

It will readily be noted that the special sessions were short‑lived. They also shared certain characteristics:

*       Parliament was called to meet for a specific purpose, which was the principal focus of what was in each case a comparatively short Speech from the Throne;[63]

*       The five sessions specifically designated as “special” took place during a period when sessions were generally shorter, with a fairly predictable annual rhythm of sitting and non‑sitting periods; the special sessions were called in late summer or autumn, times of the year when the House did not usually sit; and

*       The House in each of the special sessions approved a temporary suspension of certain Standing Orders, with the aim of expediting the business before it.[64]

Other sessions of short duration, though not officially termed “special” in the Debates or Journals of the House of Commons, have tended to share the same characteristics.[65]

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[16] See Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Privy Council, P.C. 3374, October 25, 1935, “Memorandum regarding certain of the functions of the Prime Minister”, which stated that recommendations (to the Crown) concerning the convocation and dissolution of Parliament are the “special prerogatives” of the Prime Minister.

[17] See, for example, Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 142, Extra, September 8, 2008, p. 4.

[18] For example, prior to the opening of the First Session of the Thirty‑Ninth Parliament, a proclamation was initially issued summoning Parliament to meet on February 20, 2006. A second proclamation was later issued summoning Parliament to meet on April 3, 2006, and finally a third was issued summoning Parliament for the “Dispatch of Business” on April 3, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. See Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 139, Extra, December 1, 2005; Part II, Vol. 140, Extra, February 9, 2006; Part II, Vol. 140, Extra, March 17, 2006. See also the proclamation issued when the Second Session of the Thirty‑Seventh Parliament was prorogued on November 14, 2003, with Parliament summoned to reconvene on January 12, 2004. A second proclamation was issued summoning Parliament to meet on February 2, 2004. See Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 137, Extra, November 14, 2003; Part II, Vol. 138, Extra, January 9, 2004.

The usual practice has been for Parliament to meet for the Speech from the Throne in the afternoon. In 2007, Parliament was summoned to meet at 6:35 p.m. See Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 141, No. 3, Extra, October 6, 2007.

[19] When the House meets for the dispatch of business, the Clerk lays a final certificate with the names of all duly‑elected Members upon the Table; the certificate and list of names are published in the Journals. See, for example, Journals, November 18, 2008, pp. 1‑7. On one occasion, because Parliament was summoned to meet only three weeks after the general election, the list of elected Members was not tabled by the Clerk until the fourth sitting day (Journals, December 15, 1988, pp. 26‑33).

[20] R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 128. The requirement stems from British practice dating back to the sixteenth century. Amid the political and religious conflicts of the time, the Act of Supremacy was adopted, requiring all Members to declare their belief in the Sovereign as supreme governor in matters both temporal and ecclesiastical (Redlich, J., The Procedure of the House of Commons: A Study of its History and Present Form, Vol. II, translated by A.E. Steinthal, New York: AMS Press, 1969 (reprint of 1908 ed.), pp. 62‑4). For further information on the oath, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[21] Affirmation is not mentioned in the Constitution. Instructions issued by the Crown in 1905 allowed Members to take the oath or make an affirmation (Beauchesne, A., Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 4th ed., Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1958, p. 13). For further information on the affirmation, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[22] Section 128 of the Constitution Act, 1867, states that the oath is to be taken before “the Governor General or some person authorized by him”. For the Thirty-Ninth Parliament, the Clerk of the House of Commons, the Deputy Clerk, the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel and a Clerk Assistant were commissioned (Journals, April 3, 2006, p. 1). In the Fortieth Parliament, the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk of the House were commissioned (Journals, November 18, 2008, p. 1).

[23] Some of the parties have opted, on occasion, to organize group swearing‑in ceremonies. In 1985, the McGrath Committee recommended, in the interest of increasing awareness of parliamentary institutions, a televised collective swearing‑in of all Members, in addition to the customary private swearing‑in for individual Members (Third Report of the Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, presented to the House on June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839), pp. 57‑8). No subsequent action was taken.

[24] Standing Orders 2 to 6. For further information on the election of the Speaker, see Chapter 7, “The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House”.

[25] The Usher of the Black Rod is an officer of the Senate whose responsibilities include delivering messages to the House of Commons when its Members’ attendance is required in the Senate Chamber by the Governor General or a Deputy of the Governor General. On November 6, 1997, the title of the Office was changed from the “Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod” to the “Usher of the Black Rod”. See Journals of the Senate, pp. 165‑7, Debates of the Senate, pp. 333‑43.

[26] A Deputy to the Governor General is a person, usually a Justice of the Supreme Court, who exercises the powers of the Governor General on certain occasions (Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 14; see also Part VII of Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada (1947), R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 31). Since the opening of the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament in 1878, a Deputy of the Governor General rather than the Governor General has received the House in the Senate prior to the election of a Speaker.

[27] See, for example, Journals of the Senate, November 18, 2008, p. 4.

[28] The Speaker, elected by secret ballot, is usually a government Member. There have been three occasions, occurring in minority Parliaments, when opposition Members have become Speaker: James Jerome in 1979 and Peter Milliken in 2006 and 2008. Both Mr. Jerome and Mr. Milliken were the incumbent Speakers.

[29] The House is officially informed by the Speaker of the Senate of the time fixed for the Speech from the Throne when the Members are summoned to the Senate on the first day of the new Parliament. See, for example, Journals of the Senate, November 18, 2006, p. 4.

[30] This message can be delivered on the same day as the election of the Speaker (see, for example, Journals, December 12, 1988, pp. 3‑4), or on another day (see, for example, Journals, April 4, 2006, p. 11). Since 1994, the practice has been for the House to adjourn following the election of the Speaker and for the message to be delivered the following day.

[31] The tradition of meeting in the Senate accords with the practice established in the United Kingdom whereby the rightful place of the Sovereign in Parliament is in the Upper House—no monarch, or monarch’s representative, having entered the British House of Commons since King Charles I in 1642 (Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 89‑90). During the rebuilding of the Centre Block following the great fire of 1916, the first session in the new building opened on February 26, 1920. Because the Senate Chamber was not ready, the Senate occupied the House of Commons Chamber on opening day, thereafter moving to the Railway Committee Room elsewhere in the building (Debates of the Senate, February 26, 1920, p. 1; February 27, 1920, p. 2).

[32] See, for example, Debates of the Senate, November 19, 2008, p. 3.

[33] There is not now any question of the choice of Speaker by the House being subject to approbation, confirmation or ratification by the Crown. In the pre‑1841 legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada, however, it was customary for the new Speaker to seek the approval of the governor. In 1827, Lord Dalhousie, then Governor General of Lower Canada, refused to accept Louis‑Joseph Papineau as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly passed resolutions declaring this action unconstitutional, and expunged the proceedings from their Journals. The Governor General prorogued Parliament and in a subsequent session Mr. Papineau received the approval of Sir James Kempt, Lord Dalhousie’s successor. The practice of ratifying the Assembly’s choice of Speaker was discontinued in the first session following union in 1841, the Act of Union being silent on the matter (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, pp. 92‑3).

[34] See, for example, Debates of the Senate, November 19, 2008, p. 3.

[35] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 49‑50. On such an occasion, a newly-elected Speaker attends the Senate and states only that he or she has been elected Speaker, and that any faults be attributed to the Speaker, and not to the Commons. See, for example, Journals, October 1, 1986, p. 12.

[36] In 1986, Speaker John Bosley announced his intention to step down as Speaker as soon as a successor was elected. The election took place prior to the official opening of the Second Session of the Thirty-Third Parliament (1984‑88) (Journals, September 30, 1986, pp. 2‑9).

[37] Journals, October 14, 1957, p. 8; October 18, 1977, p. 2.

[38] On two occasions, the wife of the Governor General shared in the reading of the Speech from the Throne. Jules Léger took office as Governor General in January 1974; in June of that year, he suffered a debilitating stroke which affected his speech. During his tenure, four sessions of Parliament were opened: on September 30, 1974, the Speech from the Throne was read by the Administrator of the Government of Canada; on October 18, 1977, it was read by the Sovereign; and on October 12, 1976, and October 11, 1978, the Governor General and Madame Léger shared the reading of the Speech from the Throne.

[39] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 11.

[40] Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General of Canada (1947), R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 31, Part VIII.

[41] Journals, March 12, 1931, p. 3; May 16, 1940, p. 9; May 16, 1963, p. 9; September 30, 1974, p. 8.

[42] See, for example, Journals, September 30, 1974, p. 8.

[43] See Speaker Cockburn’s ruling respecting the first day of a session, Journals, March 24, 1873, p. 58. In this ruling, the Speaker referred to the procedural authorities Hatsell, Dwarris, May and Todd. An exception to this established procedure occurred in October 1995, when the First Session of the Fifty‑Third Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick was called, pursuant to proclamation, and the Administrator made a short statement after the election of the Speaker. The Assembly then proceeded to consider a resolution concerning the distinct society status of Quebec. When this was disposed of, a message was read calling the Assembly to the formal opening of the session on February 6, 1996. At that time the Speech from the Throne was read by the Lieutenant‑Governor (Province of New Brunswick, Legislative Assembly, Journals of the Legislative Assembly, October 25, 1995, pp. 1‑6; February 6, 1996, pp. 7‑27).

[44] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 11.

[45] The Order Paper and Notice Paper is not produced for the first day of the session. Should the government have one or more items of business requiring the immediate consideration of the House, a Special Order Paper and Notice Paper is published pursuant to Standing Order 55(1). Before proceeding with the routine items of business, the Speaker informs the House that a Special Order Paper has been published and tables correspondence from the Government House Leader with respect to the bill(s) or motion(s) placed on notice. See, for example, Journals, October 5, 2004, p. 11; April 4, 2006, p. 11; October 16, 2007, p. 4. For further information, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”, and Chapter 24, “The Parliamentary Record”.

[46] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 11. For an example of an occasion on which the practice was not adhered to, see Journals, August 29, 1950, p. 4, Debates, pp. 1‑2. The House had been recalled to a special session that day to deal with a labour dispute, among other matters. Instead of the usual pro forma bill, the government introduced back‑to‑work legislation which was read the first time and ordered for a second reading later that day.

[47] The introduction of a pro forma bill, a ritual act of independence, has existed as a practice of the House since before Confederation. It originated in the British House of Commons in 1558, being confirmed in the following resolution adopted on March 22, 1603: “That the first day of sitting, in every Parliament, some one Bill, and no more, receiveth a first reading for form’s sake” (Hatsell, J., Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, Vol. II, South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints Inc., 1971 (reprint of 4th ed., 1818), p. 81). See also British History Online at www.british‑history.ac.uk. By custom, Bill C‑1 is introduced but not printed. Exceptionally, in 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tabled a document entitled “An Act respecting the administration of oaths of office” (Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 12, Debates, pp. 13‑4). The custom is observed in other Parliaments where, in most cases, the bill is read a first time and not heard of again until the start of the next session. The Australian House of Representatives refers to its “formal” or “privilege” bill (House of Representatives Practice, 5th ed., edited by I.C. Harris, Canberra: Department of the House of Representatives, 2005, p. 218). In the British House, it is called the Outlawries Bill (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. 289). In the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the pro forma bill is Bill 1, An Act to ensure the Supremacy of Parliament. See, for example, Province of British Columbia, Legislative Assembly, Debates of the Legislative Assembly (Hansard), February 14, 2006, pp. 2231-2. In Ontario, the bill is Bill 1, An Act to perpetuate an ancient parliamentary right. See Ontario, Legislative Assembly, Official Report of Debates (Hansard), November 29, 2007, p. 8.

[48] The text of the Speech from the Throne used to be printed in the Journals as well as the Debates. However, since 1996, the text has been published only in the Debates.

[49] The motion is debatable and amendable. In 1988, for example, the motion was debated and adopted on a recorded division (Journals, December 12, 1988, pp. 6‑7). In 1926, an amendment was moved, debated at length and eventually negatived on a recorded division (Journals, January 8, 1926, pp. 12‑3; January 15, 1926, pp. 28‑9). For further information on the Address in Reply, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[50] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 12. The announcement is made pursuant to the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 50(4). For further information on the role and functions of the Board of Internal Economy, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[51] Standing Order 104(1). In 1962, however, such a motion was moved and adopted by unanimous consent on the eleventh sitting day (Journals, October 12, 1962, p. 63). Formerly, this Standing Order provided for the appointment of a seven‑member striking committee at the commencement of the first session of each Parliament. In 1991, the rule was amended (Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2904‑5, 2922) and the task of selecting committee membership became one of the duties of a new standing committee, since renamed Procedure and House Affairs.

[52] See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2008, p. 13. The practice of moving a formal resolution for the appointment of committees without notice is described in the first edition of Bourinot (Bourinot, J.G., Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints Inc., 1971 (reprint of 1st ed., 1884), pp. 231‑2).

[53] Standing Order 7. See, for example, Journals, April 5, 2006, pp. 21‑2; November 21, 2008, p. 21. Standing Order 7(3) provides for the selection of a successor should a vacancy arise during the course of the Parliament.

[54] While the usual practice is for the Deputy Speaker to be a member of the governing party, in 1973, 1979, and 2004 the Deputy Speakers were members of the Official Opposition. The Deputy Speaker for the Thirty-Ninth Parliament (2006‑08), Bill Blaikie (Elmwood–Transcona), was from neither the government side nor the Official Opposition, but from one of the other opposition parties. See Appendix 3, “Deputy Speakers and Chairs of Committees of the Whole House Since 1885”.

[55] Standing Order 8. They are usually from the government side; however, the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole in 1997 (Ian McClelland) and the Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole in 2004 (Betty Hinton) were chosen from among the Members of the Official Opposition. In 2008, the Assistant Deputy Chair of the Committees of the Whole was appointed from one of the other opposition parties. See Appendix 4, “Deputy Chairs of Committees of the Whole House Since 1938” and Appendix 5, “Assistant Deputy Chairs of Committees of the Whole House Since 1967”. The timing of these appointments has varied. For example, the appointments have been made on the first sitting day of the session (Journals, February 2, 2004, p. 4), on the third sitting day (Journals, April 5, 2006, pp. 21‑2; October 18, 2007, p. 25) and on the fourth sitting day (Journals, October 7, 2004, p. 31; November 21, 2008, p. 21).

[56] Prior to the adoption of amendments to Standing Orders 7 and 8 in 2004 (Journals, October 5, 2004, p. 14; October 22, 2004, p. 136), debate was permitted on such motions. On rare occasions, these motions provoked some dissent. In 1962, the motion to select the Deputy Speaker was adopted after a recorded division (Journals, January 18, 1962, pp. 6‑7). In 1990, the motion to select the Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole was adopted on a recorded division (Journals, October 2, 1990, p. 2050). In 1996, the motion to select the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole was adopted on a recorded division (Journals, February 27, 1996, p. 3) and the motion to select the Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole was also adopted on a recorded division (Journals, February 27, 1996, p. 4; February 28, 1996, pp. 9‑10). Later in the session, the post of Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole was vacated and a motion was moved selecting a successor. It was debated, an amendment was moved and negatived on a recorded division; the motion was closured and later adopted on a recorded division (Journals, October 28, 1996, pp. 778‑9; October 29, 1996, pp. 784‑9). On September 30, 2002, the motion to appoint the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole was debated and adopted on division (Journals, p. 2). For further information on the election, roles and functions of these Presiding Officers, see Chapter 7, “The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House”.

[57] Standing Order 81(1). An Order of the Day is an item of business on the House agenda (the Order Paper). “Continuing” means that the order for the business of supply will remain on the Order Paper for every sitting of the session thereafter.

[58] See, for example, Debates, September 30, 2002, p. 6; April 4, 2006, p. 10. For further information on the supply process, see Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”. On occasion, the statement has not been made in the Speech from the Throne (Journals, September 8, 1930, p. 9; January 25, 1940, p. 8; October 9, 1951, pp. 2‑4; December 12, 1988, pp. 5‑6; April 3, 1989, pp. 3‑12; Debates, October 16, 2007, pp. 3‑7; November 19, 2008, pp. 14‑9). The Speaker ruled on May 2, 1989, that the Standing Orders do not specify that a request for funds must appear in the Speech from the Throne (Debates, pp. 1175‑7).

[59] The normal supply cycle may be disrupted by a prorogation or dissolution of Parliament and in these cases, the number of allotted days in each supply period may be increased or decreased. The Speaker must determine and announce to the House the reduction or increase in the number of allotted days for the current supply period. See Standing Order 81(10)(b) and (c). See, for example, Debates, February 2, 2004, p. 10; October 5, 2004, p. 15; October 16, 2007, p. 5; November 19, 2008, p. 19. For further information, see Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[60] In 1996, Speaker Parent responded to a point of order raised in the previous session on the first day of the new session after all the usual business items had been dealt with. The point of order concerned the designation of the Official Opposition, when events had resulted in an equality of seats between the two main opposition parties. Although prorogation normally puts to an end any outstanding business, the Speaker determined that the recent equality of seats had created a new context and required an immediate statement on the issue (Debates, February 27, 1996, pp. 16‑20). In 2004, Speaker Milliken made a statement regarding the seating arrangements for the former Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Members (Debates, February 2, 2004, p. 1).

[61] See, for example, Journals, September 15, 1949, pp. 10‑3; January 14, 1960, pp. 2‑3; October 9, 1979, pp. 17‑8; October 1, 1986, pp. 24‑5; December 12, 1988, pp. 7‑8; February 27, 1996, p. 2; October 12, 1999, p. 6; October 16, 2007, pp. 1‑2. For further information, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[62] See, for example, Journals, August 29, 1950, p. 4; January 14, 1960, pp. 3‑4; April 3, 1989, p. 3; October 16, 2007, p. 2. For further information on a new Member’s entrance in and introduction to the House, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[63] Journals, August 18, 1914, pp. 2‑3; September 8, 1930, p. 9; September 7, 1939, p. 2; August 29, 1950, pp. 4‑5; November 26, 1956, p. 2.

[64] Journals, August 18, 1914, p. 3; September 8, 1930, p. 10; September 7, 1939, p. 5; August 29, 1950, p. 5; November 26, 1956, p. 3.

[65] See, for example, the short‑lived First Session of the Thirty‑Fourth Parliament (1988‑93), which is not specifically designated as “special” in the Debates or Journals of the House of Commons. Parliament met on December 12, 1988, three weeks after the general election of November 21, 1988, to deal with a bill to implement a free trade agreement between Canada and the United States. This was also the date set for the return of the writs. The list of Members elected and the accompanying certificate of the Chief Electoral Officer, usually tabled by the Clerk immediately when the House meets for the dispatch of business, was not tabled until December 15, 1988, the fourth sitting day of the session (Journals, pp. 26‑33). On December 23, the House passed the bill and pursuant to Special Order, adjourned, reconvened for Royal Assent on December 30 and adjourned until March 6, 1989 (Journals, December 23, 1988, pp. 80‑2, 84; December 30, 1988, pp. 86‑8). Parliament was prorogued by proclamation dated February 28, 1989.

Standing Orders may be suspended in sessions of short duration not designated as “special” just as they may be in “special” sessions. In 1945 (Sixth Session of the Nineteenth Parliament (1940‑45)), the House agreed to give precedence to Government Orders for the balance of the session and to treat Wednesdays (then a day of early adjournment) as other sitting days (Journals, March 19, 1945, p. 3). In 1988 (First Session of the Thirty‑Fourth Parliament (1988‑93)), a motion was adopted (and deemed rescinded on completion of the business at hand) to extend the hours of sitting and suspend the operation of certain Standing Orders (Journals, December 16, 1988, pp. 46‑9; December 30, 1988, p. 87).

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