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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

 
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21. Private Members’ Business

Photo of high relief entitled “John Cabot, Holding a Scroll in His Left Hand and a Tiller in His Right” from the History of Canada series of the Heritage Collection in the House of Commons Foyer.

Historical Perspective

 

*    From 1867 to 1984

Time Reserved for Private Members’ Business

Precedence of Items

*    Since 1984

 

Private Members’ Bills

 

*    Financial Limitations

*    Notice

*    Similar Items

*    Seconders

*    Introduction and First Reading of Private Members’ Bills

*    Senate Public Bills Sponsored by Private Members

 

Private Members’ Motions

 

*    Notice

*    Similar Items

*    Seconders

 

Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers

 

*    Notice

*    Transferred for Debate

 

List for the Consideration of Private Members` Business and the Order of Precedence

 

*    Draw for the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business

Subsequent Draws

*    Creation of the Order of Precedence

Replenishment of the Order of Precedence

*    Withdrawal of Items

*    Status of Items Not Chosen

*    Items Automatically Placed in the Order of Precedence

 

Votable and Non-votable Items

 

*    Mandate of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

*    Criteria for Determining Non-votability

*    Appeal Process

Appeal to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

Appeal to the House

*    Substitution of Another Item

 

Private Members’ Hour

 

*    Exchange of Items

*    Cancellations and Suspensions

*    Delays and Interruptions

*    Rescheduling of Debate

 

Time Limits on Debate

 

*    Non-votable Items

*    Votable Items

*    Committee Stage of Private Members’ Bills

Requirement to Report

Recommendation Not to Proceed Further

Extension of Consideration

*    Report Stage and Third Reading

*    Senate Amendments to a Private Member’s Bill

*    Notices of Motions (Papers)

*    Debate on Items of Private Members’ Business

 

Divisions

 

The Effects of Prorogation on Private Members’ Business

 

Management of Private Members’ Business

 

If the private member is to count for anything, there must be a relationship between what the private member and the institution of Parliament can do and what the electorate thinks or expects can be done.

Third Report of the Special Committee

on the Reform of the House

(McGrath Committee), June 1985, p. 2

Private Members” are generally defined as Members of the House of Commons who are not part of the Ministry.[1] For the purposes of Private Members’ Business the Standing Orders also specifically exclude the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and Parliamentary Secretaries.[2] The Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole and the Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole are permitted to participate in Private Members’ Business, although in general, these two Presiding Officers have abstained from sponsoring private Members’ bills or motions.[3]

Each sitting day, one hour is set aside for Private Members’ Business, that is, for the consideration of bills and motions presented and sponsored by private Members. Private Members may use the time allotted for the consideration of Private Members’ Business to put forth their own legislative and policy proposals, and express their views on a variety of issues.[4] Private Members’ proposals can take the form of a bill (either public or private), a motion, or a notice of motion for the production of papers.

A private Member’s bill is the legislative expression of a policy initiative proposed by a private Member. Typically, these bills are drafted by Parliamentary Counsel (Legislation) in the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel based on instructions received from private Members. Like government bills, private Members’ bills become statutes once they receive Royal Assent.[5] Most private Members’ bills are public bills that originate in the Commons, but some public bills, and occasionally private bills, that are sponsored by private Members come to the Commons from the Senate.[6]

A private Member’s motion typically proposes that the House declare its opinion on some topic or that the House order a certain course of action to be taken, either by the House itself, or by one of its committees or officers.

A notice of motion for the production of papers is a request that the government compile or produce certain papers or documents and table them in the House.[7]



[1] For further information on the Ministry, see Chapter 1, “Parliamentary Institutions”. On October 23, 1996, after Don Boudria (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell) was appointed to the Ministry, Speaker Parent directed the Clerk of the House to remove from the Order Paper a motion standing in Mr. Boudria’s name in the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business (Debates, p. 5630).

[2] Standing Order 87(1)(a)(ii). On October 16, 2007, after Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell) was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary, Speaker Milliken directed the Clerk of the House to remove from the Order Paper a motion standing in Mr. Lemieux’s name in the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business (Debates, p. 2).

[3] Since 1984, only five Chair Occupants have placed items of Private Members’ Business on notice or have participated in Private Members’ Business. On October 29, 1996, Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands) was elected Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole. Prior to this he had introduced seven bills. Bill C‑270, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act (session of Parliament), was introduced on April 19, 1996 (Journals, p. 235) and had been sent to committee before Mr. Milliken became a Chair Occupant. On November 28, 1996, by unanimous consent, the Bill was concurred in at report stage, read a third time and passed (Journals, p. 935). On September 23, 1997, Ian McClelland (Edmonton Southwest) was elected Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole. On November 25, 1999, he placed on notice a motion, M‑307 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 26, 1999, pp. iv‑v). On September 30, 2002, Eleni Bakopanos (Saint‑Denis) became Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole. On March 21, 2003, her motion, M‑395, was placed in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 24, 2003, p. 28). It was debated on April 30, 2003 (Journals, pp. 717‑8) and adopted on September 22, 2003 (Journals, p. 1001). On October 7, 2004, Marcel Proulx (Hull–Aylmer) became Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole. On November 14, 2005, his motion, M‑316, was placed in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 15, 2005, pp. 41‑2). On April 5, 2006 Andrew Scheer became Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole. On June 22, 2006 he introduced Bill C‑343, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (motor vehicle theft) (Journals, p. 345). The Bill was placed in the Order of Precedence on October 1, 2006 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 1, 2006, p. 35), debated at second reading on February 27 and April 27, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1081, 1274‑5), read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on May 2, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1325‑7), reported with amendments on December 10, 2007 (Journals, p. 283), and concurred in at report stage, read a third time and passed on February 27, 2008 (Journals, p. 478).

[4] Some important issues first raised by private Members have later reappeared in government legislation. See, for example, Bill C‑279, An Act to amend the Official languages Act (tabling of documents) introduced by Jean‑Robert Gauthier (Ottawa–Vanier), Debates, June 6, 1988, pp. 16179‑81; Bill C‑438, An Act to amend the Competition Act (game of chance), introduced in the House by Paddy Torsney (Burlington) on February 25, 2000, the provisions of which reappeared in Bill C‑23, An Act to amend the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act, which received Royal Assent on June 4, 2002, S.C. 2002, c. 16; see “Round Table on Private Members’ Business”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 25, No. 3, Autumn 2002, p. 33; Bill C‑277, An Act to amend the Auditor General Act (audit of accounts), introduced by Benoît Sauvageau (Repentigny), on November 15, 2004, the provisions of which reappeared in Bill C‑43, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2005, which received Royal Assent on June 29, 2005, S.C. 2005, c. 30 (Debates, October 18, 2005, pp. 8713‑4).

[5] With the exception of bills dealing with changes to the names of electoral districts, relatively few private Members’ bills receive Royal Assent. Between 1945 and 1993, 127 private Members’ public bills received Royal Assent; only 31 of those bills did not deal with changes to the names of constituencies. From 1994 to 2007, 37 private Members’ bills received Royal Assent, 9 of which dealt with changes to the names of constituencies.

[6] Public bills sponsored by Members and introduced first in the House of Commons are numbered consecutively from C‑201 to C‑1000 in the order of introduction. Public bills sponsored by Senators and introduced first in the Senate are numbered consecutively from S‑201 to S‑1000.

[7] For further information, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.

Move Up

*   From 1867 to 1984

Time Reserved for Private Members’ Business

In the early years of Confederation, a large proportion of the time of the House was devoted to private bills or to private Members. In 1867, the Standing Orders gave precedence to Private Members’ Business on particular days in each week.[8] However, governments found such a distribution inadequate for the conduct of their own legislative programs, and regularly gave precedence to their own business via special and sessional orders.

Over the years, changes were made to the Standing Orders to give more House time to the government for its own business. By 1906, this pattern had established itself to such a degree that, in that year, the weekly order of business was officially amended so that after four weeks from the start of each session, one of the three private Members’ days—Thursday―was given over to government business.[9]

Between 1906 and 1955, the use of special and sessional orders to give precedence to government business had appropriated virtually all the time remaining for private Members. In 1955, amendments to the Standing Orders once again formalized the practice of giving precedence to government business: the number of private Members’ days was reduced from each Monday, Wednesday and four Thursdays per session to six Mondays and two Thursdays per session.[10] Depending on the length of each session, this change at least guaranteed that these eight days would not be further nullified by the suspension of private Members’ time through the use of special or sessional orders.

In 1962, the House abandoned the allocation of a certain number of days each session for Private Members’ Business and, instead, set aside one hour per day for that purpose. However, after this hour had been used 40 times per session, its use on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would lapse and Private Members’ Business would take place only on Thursday and Friday thereafter.[11] In 1968, Private Members’ Business was removed from the order of business on Wednesday, and the rule establishing a maximum of 40 considerations per session was retained for Monday and Tuesday only; thereafter, Private Members’ Business was only held on Thursday and Friday.[12]

In 1982, the practice of considering Private Members’ Business for one hour on certain days was replaced by a single private Members’ day on Wednesday. This resulted in a reduction of one hour of debating time per week, from four hours to three.[13] In late 1983, however, the House reverted to the consideration of Private Members’ Business for one hour per day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, without the previous provision for a maximum number of times for consideration on Monday and Tuesday.[14] The omission of this part of the former rule meant that the amount of time provided for Private Members’ Business actually increased. Further changes to the Standing Orders, adopted in April 1991, increased the number of Private Members’ Business days from four to five per week, adding an extra hour to the sitting on Wednesday.[15]

Precedence of Items

From Confederation until the late 1950s, the two criteria which determined the order in which items of Private Members’ Business were considered were their date of notice and, in the case of bills, their stage in the legislative process. During this period as well, secondary criteria, aimed primarily at distinguishing the different categories of business from one another, also became important.

In 1910, for example, an amendment to the Standing Orders[16] established a higher precedence for unopposed Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers. Meanwhile, opposed motions of this kind continued to be considered with other notices of motions until 1961, when they were given a specific category (Notices of Motions (Papers)) in the order of business and were debated on a designated day.[17]

Similarly, rule changes in 1927 limited each Member to one notice of motion on the Order Paper at any one time. Such notices would be dropped from the Order Paper if called twice and not proceeded with.[18] In addition, other rules allowed private Members’ bills or notices of motions to stand over from one day to the next.[19] These kinds of exceptions to the usual chronological, stage‑based ordering, coupled with frequent changes to the day‑by‑day order of business, eventually led to a fixed sequencing of items for each category of Private Members’ Business.[20]

Throughout this period, the volume of Private Members’ Business increased, leading to further innovations in procedure. In 1958, Speaker Michener instituted a ballot system for notices of motions.[21] One notice per Member could be submitted at the start of a session and placed in a container. In the presence of the Speaker, the Clerk of the House, and the representatives of the parties, notices of motions were drawn to establish a sequence for consideration. Notices given after the draw were placed on the Order Paper after those which had been drawn.

At the start of a subsequent session, a similar practice was extended to private Members’ public bills. There were now two draws: one for notices of motions and one for bills. In the latter case, however, each Member could give notice of several bills, there being no limit as with notices of motions. In either case, when an item had been considered but not disposed of, it fell to the bottom of the list. Notices of motions called twice and not proceeded with were dropped form the Order Paper, as before.

Members soon realized that by placing several bills on notice, their chances in the draw improved. Inevitably, this approach resulted in some Members receiving more House time than others. To ensure a more equitable distribution, the party Whips limited Members to one bill in the first 50 bills drawn. In a separate development begun in the 1970s, the business to be considered during Private Members’ Business was organized by the Office of the Government House Leader, a practice criticized by some Members as undue government interference. Eventually, the Clerk of the House became responsible for the organization of this part of House Business.[22]

The last major change prior to the adoption of the current system for precedence occurred in 1982, when all categories of Private Members’ Business (except private bills) were combined into one group, for which a single draw of Members’ names was held at the start of each session. A limitation, similar to that which had previously applied to bills, was retained for the first 50 items drawn and, at the same time, the limit of one notice of motion per Member was lifted.[23]

*   Since 1984

The modern rules relating to the conduct of Private Members’ Business developed largely from recommendations of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (the "McGrath Committee"), established in December 1984. In its final report to the House in June 1985, the Committee made the following observations:

The House does not attach any great importance to private members’ business as it is now organized … members are seldom greatly concerned to claim the priorities they have drawn in the ballot governing the use of private members’ time, and this is largely because private members’ bills and motions rarely come to a vote.[24]

The subsequent recommendations in the report resulted in Standing Order amendments adopted provisionally after lengthy debate in the House in February 1986.[25] These amendments to the Standing Orders formed the basis for the modern rules relating to Private Members’ Business—the establishment of the Order of Precedence, the process for determining which items should be made votable, and the manner in which items would be debated. Since February 1986, a number of further adjustments have been made to the rules.

In response to problems caused by the absence of Members whose items were scheduled for debate, a Special Order was adopted in December 1986 allowing the Speaker to exchange non‑votable items should one Member notify the Chair that he or she cannot be present in the House when his or her item is due for consideration.[26]

In June 1987, the provisional Standing Orders were made permanent and other changes were adopted in regard to the order in which items of Private Members’ Business were considered.[27] The Speaker was given the power to exchange a non‑votable item of a Member who cannot be present with a similar item of a Member who can. In addition, the Order Paper was changed to contain all types of items in one list, including private bills and private Members’ public bills originating in the Senate.

In 1989, the House adopted a motion to have the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, Procedure and Private Members’ Business consider and report on various practices and procedures relating to the conduct of Private Members’ Business.[28] On December 6, 1989, the Committee presented its Seventh Report, which included several recommendations regarding such matters as the selection of items for the Order of Precedence, the selection of votable items, and the time limit for debate on votable items.[29] Although the report was not concurred in, it did form the basis of Standing Order amendments adopted on May 10, 1990.[30]

There were several significant changes to the Standing Orders, as recommended by the Standing Committee: Members’ names rather than individual items would be drawn, which meant that Members with one motion or bill would have the same chances as those with several motions or bills; separate lists of bills and motions were established, and the number of votable items was set at three bills and three motions; the time for debate on votable items was reduced from five hours to three; and Private Members Business was not suspended on supply days, except for the last allotted day in June if it fell on any day other than a Monday. The amendments were adopted on a provisional basis until the last sitting day in December 1990.

In December 1990, the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, after reviewing the success of the provisional Standing Orders that had been approved in May 1990, recommended in its Twenty-First Report that they be made permanent.[31] It went on to propose a number of other changes, including the exchange of votable items, Private Members’ Hour on Monday, and the deferral of any recorded division with respect to Private Members’ Business at the request of the Whips. Further changes to the Standing Orders governing Private Members’ Business adopted on April 11, 1991, which were largely based on the Twenty-First Report of the Committee, clarified the procedures to be followed in the draw to select items for debate, reduced the number of hours for debate on an item, increased the number of days per week on which Private Members’ Business would be considered, and refined the process to be followed for an exchange of items to be debated during Private Members’ Hour.[32]

On April 29, 1992, two reports of the Standing Committee on House Management were concurred in, thereby amending the Standing Orders to increase the number of votable items and the total number of items in the Order of Precedence, and to clarify the procedures to be followed for deferring recorded divisions on items of Private Members’ Business.[33] With the concurrence in the Twenty‑Fourth Report[34] regarding recorded divisions on private Members’ bills or motions, it became the practice for the vote of the sponsoring Member to be recorded first, and then the rest of the votes on that side of the Chamber to be recorded before proceeding to the other side. With concurrence in the Twenty‑Seventh Report, the Order of Precedence was increased from 20 to 30 items, draws were to be held before the list dropped below 15 items instead of 10, and the maximum number of votable items increased from three bills and three motions to five of each.[35]

In 1998, the reference to five bills and five motions was removed so that the reference was now only to 10 votable items, and a new procedure was established allowing for a specific item supported by 100 Members to be added to the Order of Precedence. Also, a committee to which a private Member’s public bill was referred was required to report the bill back to the House within 60 sitting days, with a possible one-time extension of 30 sitting days, and was given the option of reporting that the bill not be proceeded with further.[36]

Within a year it had become apparent that the 100-signature procedure had not functioned as originally intended.[37] Thus, in June 2000, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented a report recommending the abolition of this procedure for Private Members’ Business.[38] The Committee’s report, however, had not been concurred in when the Thirty-Sixth Parliament was dissolved in October 2000. Following further study of the issue at the beginning of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament, the House concurred in a report of the Committee repealing the 100-signature procedure.[39]

In June 2002, following an order of reference to improve procedures for Private Members’ Business adopted by the House in June 2001, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs proposed a major reform of Private Members’ Business, reflecting concerns and suggestions of Members.[40] The report recommended that every Member eligible to participate in Private Members’ Business should have at least one opportunity per Parliament to have an item of Private Members’ Business debated in the House of Commons. Unless procedurally inadmissible, each item in the Order of Precedence would be votable, unless the sponsor opted to make it non-votable. Eligible Members would retain the right to present as many motions and introduce as many bills as they wished. Members would have to have at least one item on the Order Paper to qualify for the draw. Draws for names would be held as required and would continue until all eligible Members wishing to participate had the opportunity to do so. Subsequent rounds would follow if time permitted.

The report contained a number of other provisions. It recommended that amendments to private Members’ motions, and to the motions for the second or third reading of private Members’ bills, be moved only with the consent of the sponsor of the item. It also contained recommendations for transitional provisions from the old system to the new. The Committee indicated that it would consider the feasibility of a procedure for “legislative proposals” prior to the end of the pilot project.

These new procedures would be adopted on a provisional basis from the fall of 2002 to the end of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament, provided that they would be subject to a review by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs after one year.

The First Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament was prorogued on September 16, 2002, before the report had been concurred in. At the beginning of the Second Session, the Committee resubmitted the report which was concurred in.[41] This action represented adoption of the proposed changes in principle, and it therefore became necessary to draft changes to the Standing Orders to implement them.

The Standing Committee began consideration of the draft amendments to the Standing Orders, but, in December 2002, it recommended that the House continue with the current system and the existing Standing Orders governing Private Members’ Business—especially votability—until such time as the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons had completed its work and reported.[42] The Special Committee, consisting of the Deputy Speaker, the House Leaders and the Caucus Chairs of the five recognized parties in the House, had been established in November 2002.[43] The issue of reform of Private Members’ Business was, therefore, the first item of business when the Special Committee began its work in February 2003.

The Special Committee’s First Report proposed a new regime for Private Members’ Business, whereby all items in the Order of Precedence would be votable, and all private Members would have an opportunity to present an item during the life of a Parliament. A list of all eligible Members was to be established at the beginning of a new Parliament, from which an Order of Precedence of 30 items would be created from time to time. All items in the Order of Precedence would be debated for up to two hours, at the end of which they would come to a vote. All recorded divisions would be held on the next sitting Wednesday. The Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business would consider whether any of the items in the Order of Precedence should not be votable in accordance with specified, limited criteria; any decision that an item be designated not votable could be appealed to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, or, ultimately, to the House of Commons, where a secret ballot would be held on the appeal.[44]

In March 2003, the House concurred in a report of the Special Committee which contained amendments to the Standing Orders implementing the recommendations in its First Report as well as various transitional measures. The new rules were adopted on a provisional basis, for the remainder of the Session or to March 17, 2004, whichever came first, and were to be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.[45]

As a result of recommendations contained in the Special Committee’s report, in March 2003 the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented a report listing criteria for designating items of Private Members’ Business non-votable.[46]

The provisional Standing Orders were subsequently extended first to the end of June 2004 or the dissolution of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament, and then for the first 60 sitting days of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament. This was designed to allow the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to undertake a review of the new rules, and how they were operating in practice, and to recommend changes, if required.[47] During this period the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs continued to examine the rules concerning Private Members’ Business.[48]

At the beginning of the First Session of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs made a minor change to the composition of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business.[49] The provisional Standing Orders were further extended until the last sitting day of June 2005, on the basis that additional experience with the provisional Standing Orders would be desirable before decisions were made about making the new procedures permanent, or considering changes.[50]

The Standing Orders for Private Members’ Business continued in place without change for the rest of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament and into the Thirty-Ninth Parliament. In November 2006, a point of order was raised about the similarity of two items of Private Members’ Business in the Order of Precedence which led to changes in the criteria used to designate items non-votable and to further refinements to the Standing Orders.[51]

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[8] Only Tuesday and Friday were reserved for government business. See Rules, Orders and Forms of Proceedings of the House of Commons, 1868, Rule No. 19.

[9] Debates, July 9, 1906, cols. 7475‑7.

[10] Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 889, 893, 945.

[11] Journals, April 10, 1962, pp. 338‑9; April 12, 1962, p. 350.

[12] Journals, December 6, 1968, pp. 429, 436‑7; December 20, 1968, pp. 554, 563‑5.

[13] The Third Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, which recommended these changes, was presented to the House on November 5, 1982 (Journals, p. 5328), and the motion putting into effect the changes was adopted on November 29, 1982 (Journals, p. 5400).

[14] The First Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders, which recommended these changes, was presented to the House on December 15, 1983 (Journals, p. 47), and the motion putting into effect the changes was adopted on December 19, 1983 (Journals, pp. 55‑6).

[15] Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2905‑6, 2908.

[16] Journals, April 29, 1910, pp. 535‑7.

[17] Journals, September 26, 1961, pp. 950, 953; September 27, 1961, p. 957.

[18] Journals, March 22, 1927, pp. 340‑1.

[19] See, for example, Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Canada, 1927, Standing Order 27.

[20] See, for example, the day‑by‑day order of business for 1955 and 1962.

[21] Such a procedure was initially proposed in 1925 (Journals, May 29, 1925, p. 359).

[22] Debates, November 28, 1979, p. 1794.

[23] The Third Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, which recommended these changes, was presented to the House on November 5, 1982 (Journals, p. 5328), and the motion putting into effect the changes was adopted on November 29, 1982 (Journals, p. 5400).

[24] Third Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, p. 40, presented to the House on June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839).

[25] Journals, February 6, 1986, pp. 1648‑52; February 13, 1986, p. 1710.

[26] Journals, December 18, 1986, p. 351.

[27] Journals, June 3, 1987, pp. 1020‑2.

[28] Journals, October 26, 1989, p. 752.

[29] Journals, December 6, 1989, pp. 927‑34.

[30] Journals, May 10, 1990, pp. 1685‑7.

[31] Journals, December 6, 1990, pp. 2385‑8.

[32] Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2919‑22.

[33] Journals, April 29, 1992, pp. 1337‑8.

[34] Standing Committee on House Management, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 11 and 13, 1992, Issue No. 24, p. 17.

[35] Standing Committee on House Management, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 12, 1992, Issue No. 26, p. 3.

[36] Journals, November 30, 1998, pp. 1327‑9.

[37] See the question of privilege raised by David Chatters (Athabasca) on February 7, 2000 (Debates, pp. 3155‑6) concerning Bill C‑206, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act, introduced in the House by John Bryden (Wentworth–Burlington) on October 14, 1999 (Journals, p. 19); the Speaker’s ruling given on February 8, 2000 (Debates, pp. 3211‑2); the Nineteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on March 17, 2000 (Journals, p. 1406); and Speaker Parent’s final ruling given on March 21, 2000 (Debates, pp. 4913‑4).

[38] Thirty‑Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on June 12, 2000 (Journals, p. 1844).

[39] Twenty‑Second Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on May 31, 2001 (Journals, p. 458) and concurred in on June 13, 2001 (Journals, p. 576).

[40] Journals, June 12, 2001, pp. 536‑7; Sixty‑Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on June 12, 2002 (Journals, p. 1571).

[41] Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on October 30, 2002 (Journals, p. 138) and concurred in on November 6, 2002 (Journals, p. 170).

[42] Fourteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on December 11, 2002 (Journals, p. 298). This report led to a question of privilege raised by John Reynolds (West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast) on the same day, charging the Standing Committee with contempt for ignoring an Order of the House to prepare new Standing Orders and instead reporting that the matter be referred to the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons (Debates, pp. 2561-4). On December 12, 2002, Speaker Milliken ruled that this was not a procedural issue, noting that the Committee had presented a report recommending an alternate course of action to that which the House selected in concurring in its Fourth Report (Debates, pp. 2636-7).

[43] Journals, November 28, 2002, p. 236.

[44] First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, presented to the House and concurred in on February 20, 2003 (Journals, p. 439).

[45] Third Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, presented to the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492) and, pursuant to the Order adopted by the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492), deemed concurred in on March 17, 2003 (Journals, p. 495). Among the amendments to the Standing Orders was the suspension of the provisions of Standing Order 68, allowing private Members to propose motions to order a committee to bring in a bill. These provisions were permanently deleted in May 2005.

[46] The criteria were as follows: bills and motions must not concern questions that are outside federal jurisdiction; bills and motions must not clearly violate the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; bills and motions must not concern questions that are substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current session of Parliament; and bills and motions must not concern questions that are currently on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business. Twenty‑Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on March 26, 2003 (Journals, pp. 569‑70).

[47] Fiftieth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on October 29, 2003 (Journals, p. 1196). Eleventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on March 23, 2004 (Journals, p. 200).

[48] On February 16, 2004, the Committee presented its Third Report modifying provisional Standing Order 92(4)(a) concerning the appeal process for items designated non‑votable, which was concurred in (Journals, p. 81). As noted above, on March 23, 2004, the Committee presented its Eleventh Report recommending the provisional Standing Orders remain in effect during the first 60 sitting days of the Thirty‑Eighth Parliament, which was concurred in (Journals, p. 200).

[49] Standing Order 91.1(1). Under the revised rule, the Subcommittee consisted of one Member from each of the parties recognized in the House and a Chair from the government party. See the Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on October 20, 2004 (Journals, pp. 122, 124).

[50] Twelfth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on October 29, 2004 (Journals, pp. 170‑1). The Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business was also charged with reviewing the provisional Standing Orders and, following its review, concluded that they should be made permanent effective June 30, 2005. This would allow for certainty, and avoid the need to continue reviewing and extending the provisional Standing Orders, with the consequent risk that they might expire and the House would have to revert to the original rules which could lead to confusion. The Standing Committee agreed with the Subcommittee’s recommendation and reported this to the House, which concurred in the report the same day. As part of its review, the Subcommittee sent a survey to all Members (to which it received responses from 103 Members), and convened a round‑table meeting of Members to discuss the provisional Standing Orders and proposals for change. Of the respondents to the survey, 48 percent thought that the provisional Standing Orders should be made permanent, while 27 percent thought that they should be continued on a provisional basis. The Subcommittee concluded that the vast majority of Members were in favour of the new regime, and, given that there appeared to be a significant degree of satisfaction with the provisional Standing Orders, and no major problems had been identified, they would recommend the permanent adoption of the rules. See the Thirty‑Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on May 11, 2005 (Journals, pp. 738‑9).

[51] The point of order was raised by Derek Lee (Scarborough–Rouge River) on November 1, 2006 (Debates, pp. 4544‑5) and the Speaker’s ruling was given on November 7, 2006 (Debates, pp. 4785‑6). In his ruling on the point of order, Speaker Milliken found that the two items were substantially the same and invited the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to consider the practices of the House in such situations. The Committee did take up the matter and on November 27, 2006, presented its Twenty‑Third Report which recommended that the item of Catherine Bell (Vancouver Island North) either be debated as a non‑votable item, or that the Member be permitted to substitute another item of Private Members’ Business within 20 sitting days. The Report was concurred in the same day (Journals, p. 810). For further information, see “Similar Items” under the section in this chapter entitled “Private Members’ Bills”. The Standing Committee also referred the matter to the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business which undertook a review and recommended only minimal changes. To prevent a recurrence of the situation which led to the Speaker’s ruling, the Subcommittee recommended that one of the criteria used to determine if an item should be non-votable be amended so that an item similar to another preceding it in the Order of Precedence be designated non-votable. To provide further clarity, it was also recommended that a note be added to the criteria stating that private Members’ bills should be assessed against other private Members’ bills, and motions against other motions. In addition, the Subcommittee recommended an amendment to the Standing Orders to provide the sponsor of an item designated non-votable with the option of substituting another item. Again, the Committee accepted the Subcommittee’s recommendations, which made up its Forty‑Ninth Report, presented to the House and concurred in on May 9, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1377‑8).

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Bills sponsored by private Members fall into two categories, public bills and private bills. Public bills deal with matters of public policy under federal jurisdiction, whereas private bills concern matters of a private or special interest to specific corporations and individuals and are designed to confer special powers or benefits upon the beneficiary or to exclude the beneficiary from the general application of the law. The vast majority of private Members’ bills are public bills. Procedures relating to public bills are discussed in this chapter while those concerning private bills are dealt with in Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”.

A private Member’s bill is typically drafted with the assistance of Parliamentary Counsel (Legislation) in the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel to ensure the appropriateness of the proposed legislation, taking into account existing laws, drafting conventions and constitutional and formal requirements. In drafting each legislative proposal, Parliamentary Counsel act on the Member’s clear, written instructions about the purposes and objectives of the proposed legislation. A private Member’s bill is certified by Parliamentary Counsel in accordance with the Standing Orders to indicate that the bill is in the correct form.[52] The certified copy of the bill is then returned to the Member.

*   Financial Limitations

There is a constitutional requirement that bills proposing the expenditure of public funds must be accompanied by a royal recommendation, which can be obtained only by the government and introduced by a Minister. Since a Minister cannot propose items of Private Members’ Business, a private Member’s bill should therefore not contain provisions for the spending of funds. However, since 1994, a private Member may introduce a public bill containing provisions requiring the expenditure of public funds and it may proceed through the legislative process provided that a royal recommendation is obtained by a Minister before the bill is read a third time and passed.[53] Before 1994, the royal recommendation had to accompany the bill at the time of its introduction. The Speaker is responsible for determining whether any bill requires a royal recommendation. If a royal recommendation is not produced by the time the House is ready to decide on the motion for third reading and the bill still requires a royal recommendation, then the Speaker is empowered to stop the proceedings and rule the bill out of order.[54] The Speaker has the duty and responsibility to ensure that the constitutional requirements, as reflected in the Standing Orders of the House, are upheld. There is no provision in the Standing Orders relating to financial procedures which would permit the Speaker to leave it to the House to decide. The House may not set aside by unanimous consent statutory or constitutional provisions.[55] The requirement for a royal recommendation is not a criterion for determining the votability or non-votability of a private Member’s bill.[56]

With respect to the raising of revenue, a private Member cannot introduce bills which impose taxes. The power to initiate taxation rests solely with the government and any legislation which seeks an increase in taxation must be preceded by a ways and means motion.[57] Only a Minister can bring in a ways and means motion. However, private Members’ bills which reduce taxes, reduce the incidence of a tax, or impose or increase an exemption from taxation are acceptable.[58]

*   Notice

Once a bill has been drafted, the Member must give 48 hours’ notice of his or her intention to introduce the bill, indicating the committee to which the bill will be referred following second reading. The title of the bill and the name of its sponsor are then published in the Notice Paper. After the 48‑hour notice period has expired, the bill may then be introduced and given first reading during Routine Proceedings whenever the Member is ready to proceed.[59]

*   Similar Items

If a Member submits notice of a bill which is judged by the Speaker to be substantially the same as another item of Private Members’ Business already submitted, the Speaker has the discretionary power to refuse the most recent notice. If the Speaker refuses the notice, the sponsoring Member is advised and the bill is returned.[60] This is intended to prevent a number of similar items being placed in the Order of Precedence. In a 1989 ruling, Speaker Fraser clarified that for two or more items to be substantially the same, they must have the same purpose and they have to achieve their same purpose by the same means.[61] This was reiterated in a ruling given by Speaker Milliken in November 2006.[62] Thus, there could be several bills addressing the same subject, but if their approaches to the issue are different, the Chair could deem them to be sufficiently distinct.[63]

When a bill originating in the Senate has been passed by that Chamber, a message is sent informing the House and requesting its concurrence in the measure. The Speaker reads the message to the House and the bill is placed on the Order Paper under the heading “First Reading of Senate Public Bills”. No notice is required. If it is a private Senator’s public bill, it is placed in the Order of Precedence automatically following first reading. As no notice is required, even if such a bill is substantially the same as a private Member’s bill already introduced in the House, it is procedurally acceptable because the provisions of the Standing Orders giving the Speaker the power to refuse a notice of a similar or identical bill do not apply.[64]

The question has arisen whether a private Member’s bill which is similar to a government bill may be placed on the Order Paper and debated. The authorities and past rulings show that there is nothing to prevent such similar items from being placed on the Order Paper simultaneously. However, because the House cannot take more than one decision on any given matter during a session, a decision on any one of these bills will prevent further proceedings on any other similar bills.[65] Consideration of bills deemed non‑votable, if dropped from the Order Paper after debate, does not preclude consideration of other similar, or even identical, bills since the House does not take a decision on non‑votable items.[66]

*   Seconders

A Member who wishes to support a bill already appearing on the Order Paper may notify the Clerk of the House in writing of his or her desire to second the bill. The names of the Members wishing to support the bill will be added to the list of seconders on the Order Paper.[67] Once the order for second reading has been proposed to the House, no additional names may be appended.[68] No more than 20 Members may jointly second an item under Private Members’ Business.[69] The Member, who seconds the motions for introduction and first reading of the bill in the House, as well as for subsequent stages, need not be one of the seconders listed on the Order Paper.

*   Introduction and First Reading of Private Members’ Bills

To be eligible to be placed in the Order of Precedence, private Members’ bills originating in the House must be introduced and given first reading. When a Member on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business is about to be eligible to bring forward an item for debate, if that item is to be a bill, it must be introduced no later than the day on which the Order of Precedence is created or replenished.[70] On the day the Member chooses to introduce the bill, he or she rises during Routine Proceedings when the Speaker calls “Introduction of Private Members’ Bills”.[71] The Speaker then announces the title of the bill and the motion for leave to introduce the bill is automatically deemed carried, without debate, amendment or question put.[72] The Member is permitted to give a succinct explanation outlining the purpose of the bill.[73] Since no debate is permitted at this time, the Member often simply reads the explanatory note in the bill. The bill is then deemed read a first time and ordered to be printed, also without debate, amendment or question put.[74]

The bill is then transferred to the list of “Private Members’ Business―Items Outside the Order of Precedence” (this list of items, which may be consulted at the Table in the Chamber or on the electronic version of the Order Paper, does not actually appear in the printed publication of the Order Paper). Having been placed on this List, the bill is set down for second reading and reference to a committee. When submitting a bill for inclusion on the Notice Paper, the sponsor must indicate the standing, special or legislative committee to which the bill is to be referred following second reading.

*   Senate Public Bills Sponsored by Private Members

Some private Members’ public bills originate in the Senate and are sent to the Commons after passage by the Senate. When the Speaker calls “First Reading of Senate Public Bills” during Routine Proceedings, the Member sponsoring a Senate bill in the House is permitted to give a brief explanation of its purpose, without entering into debate.[75] The motion for first reading is then deemed carried without debate, amendment or question put and the bill is automatically added to the bottom of the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business.[76] When sponsoring a Senate public bill or a private bill from either House, a Member need not use his or her place in the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. However, each Member may sponsor only one Senate public bill or one private bill over the course of a Parliament.[77]

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[52] Standing Order 68(3).

[53] Standing Order 79(2). See the Twenty‑Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on June 8, 1994 (Journals, p. 545) and concurred in on June 10, 1994 (Journals, p. 563). For an example of a private Member’s bill to which a royal recommendation was attached prior to third reading, see Journals, December 6, 1994, p. 997. Bill C‑216, An Act to amend the Unemployment Insurance Act (jury service), had been reported back to the House from committee on June 16, 1994, and debate at the third reading stage began on December 6, 1994. The Bill was given Royal Assent March 26, 1995. There have been numerous Speakers’ rulings regarding bills and their potential need for an accompanying royal recommendation if the bill proposed a charge on the public treasury (see, for example, Journals, November 9, 1978, pp. 130‑3; February 20, 1979, pp. 393‑5; June 6, 1980, pp. 244‑5; Debates, October 29, 2003, pp. 8899‑900; November 18, 2004, pp. 1553‑4; November 22, 2004, p. 1621; December 7, 2004, p. 2412; March 21, 2005, pp. 4372‑3; May 9, 2005, pp. 5779‑80; June 13, 2005, pp. 6990‑2; October 3, 2005, pp. 8293‑4; October 26, 2005, pp. 9133‑4; November 23, 2005, pp. 10060‑1; May 31, 2006, pp. 1777‑9; June 1, 2006, pp. 1851-3; September 19, 2006, p. 2999; September 20, 2006, pp. 3044‑5; September 25, 2006, pp. 3197‑8; September 27, 2006, pp. 3314‑5; November 9, 2006, p. 4979; October 17, 2007, p. 53). See also Debates, November 1, 1991, pp. 4410‑4, where the Chair heard arguments regarding the procedural acceptability of a private Member’s bill requiring the expenditure of public funds. One Member argued that on the basis of a ruling made in 1912 (Journals, January 16, 1912, pp. 118‑9), clauses can be inserted into bills that will prevent funds being expended unless Parliament appropriates money for the purpose set out in the bill. Because the bill had not been selected to come to a vote, proceedings on the bill expired at the end of Private Members’ Hour, and the Speaker never returned to the House with a definitive ruling.

[54] See, for example, the Speaker’s rulings concerning the requirement for a royal recommendation for Bill C-269, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (improvement of the employment insurance system), given during debate on the motion for second reading, prior to the beginning of report stage and prior to the beginning of debate at third reading, as well as at the end of third reading debate discharging the Bill and dropping the item from the Order Paper (Debates, November 6, 2006, p. 4719; April 18, 2007, p. 8376; October 17, 2007, p. 53; Journals, November 30, 2007, p. 246, Debates, p. 1608). See also, the Speaker’s rulings concerning the requirement for a royal recommendation for Bill C-278, An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (benefits for illness, injury or quarantine), given during debate on the motion for second reading, prior to the beginning of report stage, and at the end of third reading debate discharging the Bill and dropping the item from the Order Paper (Debates, November 10, 2006, p. 5027; April 18, 2007, p. 8376; Journals, June 1, 2007, p. 1461, Debates, p. 10057). For an example of a bill being amended in committee to remove the need for a royal recommendation, see the Speaker’s rulings concerning Bill C-293, An Act respecting the provision of official development assistance abroad, given before debate on the motion for second reading, pointing out the need for a royal recommendation, and prior to the beginning of debate on motions in amendment to the Bill at report stage where the Speaker ruled that the Bill no longer required a royal recommendation. See Debates, September 19, 2006, p. 2999; February 19, 2007, pp. 6971‑2 (the Bill was concurred in with further amendments, read a third time and passed on March 28, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1173-7)). For further information on the royal recommendation, see Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”, and Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[55] Debates, November 3, 1983, pp. 28655‑7.

[56] For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Criteria for Determining Non‑votability”.

[57] 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, p. 265. See also Debates, December 2, 1998, pp. 10788‑91; October 24, 2002, p. 889; March 11, 2004, p. 1366; November 28, 2007, pp. 1463‑4.

[58] 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, pp. 896‑7, 901‑2; Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 267. See also Debates, June 13, 2005, pp. 6990‑2; January 31, 2008, pp. 2413-5, 2434; February 1, 2008, p. 2480. In the Thirty-Ninth Parliament, the consideration of Bill C-253, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deductibility of RESP contributions), sponsored by Dan McTeague (Pickering–Scarborough East) generated much discussion in the House and in the media. On June 21, 2006, Rob Nicholson (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform) raised a point of order in relation to the Bill (Debates, pp. 2758-9). Mr. Nicholson had argued that the Bill contained provisions for calculation of taxable income which would increase taxation revenues, thus necessitating the adoption of a ways and means motion prior to its introduction. On November 1, 2006, Speaker Milliken ruled that the provisions in question were in the nature of a tax deferral, imposing no increased burden on the contributor. Commenting that it was permissible for a private Member’s bill to introduce a tax exemption, or to propose a delay in the reporting of income, he ruled that Bill C-253 was properly before the House (Debates, p. 4540). The Bill was read a second time and referred to committee on November 8, 2006 (Journals, pp. 661-2), reported with amendments on March 21, 2007 (Journals, p. 1122), debated at report stage on November 28, 2007 (Journals, pp. 230-1) and February 28, 2008 (Journals, p. 489), and concurred in at report stage with further amendments, read a third time and passed on March 5, 2008 (Journals, pp. 521-9). On March 11, 2008, Jim Flaherty (Minister of Finance) tabled a notice of ways and means which in part was meant to overturn the provisions of Bill C-253 (Debates, p. 3971). On March 12, 2008, John McCallum (Markham–Unionville) raised a point of order concerning the notice, arguing that the House was being asked to pronounce itself again in the same session on the same subject (Debates, pp. 4050-5). On March 13, 2008, the Speaker ruled that the notice of ways and means could proceed (Debates, pp. 4109-10), and the House concurred in the notice the same day (Journals, pp. 598-9). The Bill was under study in the Senate when the Thirty-Ninth Parliament was dissolved.

[59] For further information on notices, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

[60] Standing Order 86(4). In 2004, the Acting Speaker (Marcel Proulx) ruled that Bill C‑320 (the Pension Ombudsman Act) was improperly before the House because an identical Bill (Bill C‑228) had been introduced and read a first time earlier. Therefore, he ordered that Bill C‑320 be removed from the Order Paper (Journals, December 14, 2004, p. 354, Debates, p. 2789).

[61] Debates, November 2, 1989, pp. 5474‑5.

[62] Debates, November 7, 2006, pp. 4785‑6. The similarity of private Members’ bills led to two significant rulings in the Thirty-Ninth Parliament. The first was delivered on November 7, 2006, when Speaker Milliken ruled on a point of order concerning the similarity of two private Members’ bills, C‑257 and C‑295, both amending the Canada Labour Code in relation to replacement workers. It had been argued that except for minor differences relating to fines, the bills were substantially the same. This situation had arisen when both bills had been placed in the Order of Precedence when it was established at the beginning of the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament (see Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 19, 2006, pp. 17, 20). The criteria applied by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business to deem items non‑votable would not allow the Subcommittee to deem one of the bills non-votable since the House had not yet taken a decision on either item at the time of the Subcommittee’s examination of the two bills. Speaker Milliken stated that the bills were identical in terms of their legislative and procedural impact and that the differences, while important, did not make the bills into distinctly different legislative initiatives. He was forced to conclude that both bills were substantially the same. As Bill C‑257 had received second reading, the question arose as to whether or not Bill C‑295 should be allowed to proceed. Under his authority to regulate Private Members’ Business, the Speaker ordered that Bill C‑295 be dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence. He asked the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine the matter. The Committee did take up the issue and recommended that the sponsor of Bill C-295 be given the option of debating it as a non‑votable item, or of withdrawing the Bill and substituting another item. The sponsor withdrew the Bill and replaced it with a motion. In a later report, the Standing Committee recommended changes to the criteria used by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business for determining if an item should be designated non‑votable, as well as amendments to the Standing Orders allowing Members with an item determined non-votable to substitute another item. The House later concurred in the report (Debates, November 1, 2006, pp. 4544‑5; December 6, 2006, p. 5697; Journals, November 27, 2006, p. 810 (Twenty‑Third Report); May 9, 2007, pp. 1377‑8 (Forty‑Ninth Report); Standing Order 92.1). The second ruling given by Speaker Milliken concerned the similarities between Bill C-257 and Bill C-415 which also amended the Canada Labour Code in relation to replacement workers. Bill C-415 was introduced by Mario Silva (Davenport) on March 22, 2007 (Journals, p. 1142) and placed in the Order of Precedence on April 23, 2007 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 24, 2007, p. 41). On May 1, 2007, Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform) had raised a point of order arguing that, although it had one new clause and one new subsection, Bill C-415 was virtually identical to Bill C-257 (Debates, pp. 8934-5). He asked the Speaker to clarify whether it was in order for the Bill to have been introduced. The Speaker, while admitting that the two bills had exactly the same objective, noted that Bill C-415 was broader in scope, was consequently not substantially the same as Bill C-257 and, accordingly, its consideration could proceed (Debates, May 7, 2007, pp. 9131-2).

[63] Debates, May 7, 2007, pp. 9131‑2.

[64] Standing Order 86(4). See, for example, Bill C‑311, An Act to provide for the recognition of the Canadien Horse as the national horse of Canada, introduced in the House on March 28, 2001 (Journals, p. 233), and Bill S‑22, An Act to provide for the recognition of the Canadian Horse as the national horse of Canada, received from the Senate on November 8, 2001, and read a first time on November 20, 2001 (Journals, pp. 819, 830). Both bills were sponsored by the same Member, Murray Calder (Dufferin–Peel–Wellington–Grey), in the House. Bill S‑22 was subsequently passed into law (S.C. 2002, c. 11). See also Bill C‑268, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses, introduced by Peter Stoffer (Sackville–Eastern Shore) on May 8, 2006 (Journals, p. 139), and Bill S‑220, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses (sponsored in the House by Gerald Keddy (South Shore–St. Margaret’s)), received from the Senate on January 29, 2007 and read a first time on February 7, 2007 (Journals, pp. 921, 980).

[65] 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. 547‑8. See also Speaker Michener’s rulings, Journals, October 29, 1957, p. 64; March 13, 1959, p. 238.

[66] For example, Bill C‑321, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (cumulative sentences), which was identical to Bill C‑274, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (cumulative sentences), was introduced in the House on June 20, 1996, after Bill C‑274 was debated at second reading and dropped from the Order Paper on June 4, 1996 (Journals, June 4, 1996, pp. 486‑7; June 20, 1996, p. 592).

[67] Standing Order 86(2). Occasionally, by unanimous consent, more than one Member may be permitted to second a private Member’s bill when it is moved in the House. See, for example, Journals, April 27, 1994, p. 401; June 3, 1998, p. 929; February 9, 2004, pp. 29-30.

[68] Standing Order 86(3).

[69] Standing Order 86(2).

[70] Standing Order 87(1)(c)(i).

[71] In order to facilitate the proceedings, Members usually advise the Speaker or the Table Officers in advance that they wish to introduce a bill or bills on a particular day. Occasionally, two or more Members work together to have a bill drafted. However, as the Standing Orders do not permit joint movers of bills, when such a bill is introduced only one of the originators may move the introduction and first reading of the bill. One of the sponsors may second the motions. Only on the cover of the published bill are the joint sponsors listed. See, for example, Bill C-324, An Act respecting Louis Riel, introduced on December 4, 2002 (Journals, p. 256, Debates, pp. 2263-4); Bill C-469, An Act to recognize Canada’s recreational hunting and fishing heritage and to establish the National Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission, introduced on November 6, 2003 (Journals, p. 1248, Debates, p. 9236); Bill C-275, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (failure to stop at scene of accident), introduced on November 15, 2004 (Journals, p. 210, Debates, pp. 1334-5); Bill C-408, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (change of political affiliation), introduced on June 17, 2005 (Journals, pp. 925-6, Debates, p. 7379).

[72] Standing Order 68(2).

[73] While a succinct explanation has traditionally been interpreted to mean 30‑60 seconds, it has become more common for Members to speak for longer than 60 seconds since the beginning of the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament (1994‑97). However, the Speaker encourages Members to be brief. See Debates, June 22, 2006, pp. 2819‑20.

[74] Standing Order 69(1).

[75] See, for example, Debates, November 20, 2001, p. 7301; November 28, 2005, p. 10215; February 7, 2007, p. 6519; November 30, 2007, p. 1589. See also the point of order raised by Paul Szabo (Mississauga South) and the Speaker’s ruling (Debates, October 31, 2006, pp. 4446‑7; October 30, 2006, p. 4416).

[76] Since the beginning of 1990, 12 Senate public bills sponsored by private Members have received Royal Assent (Journals, December 17, 1990, p. 2475; June 22, 1995, p. 1871; December 18, 2001, pp. 960‑1; March 21, 2002, p. 1245; April 30, 2002, p. 1361; June 19, 2003, p. 940; November 24, 2005, pp. 1335‑6; May 5, 2005, p. 710; February 14, 2008, p. 446; April 17, 2008, p. 723; May 29, 2008, pp. 873-4; June 18, 2008, pp. 1011-2).

[77] Standing Order 86.2(2).

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Private Members’ motions are used to introduce a wide range of issues and are framed either as orders or resolutions, depending on their intent.[78] Motions attempting to make a declaration of opinion or purpose, without ordering or requiring a particular course of action, are considered resolutions.[79] Hence, such motions which simply suggest that the government initiate a certain measure are generally phrased as follows: “That, in the opinion of the House, the government should consider …”. The government is not bound to adopt a specific policy or course of action as a result of the adoption of such a resolution since the House is only stating an opinion or making a declaration of purpose.[80] This is in contrast to those motions whose object is to give a direction to committees, Members or officers of the House or to regulate House proceedings and, as such, are considered Orders once adopted by the House.[81]

No motion sponsored by a Member who is not a Minister can contain provisions for either raising revenue or spending funds, unless it is worded in terms which only suggest that course of action to the government. As an alternative to a bill which might require a royal recommendation obtained only by a Minister, a private Member may choose to move a motion proposing the expenditure of public funds, provided that the terms of the motion only suggest this course of action to the government without ordering or requiring it to do so.[82] Such a motion is normally phrased so to ask the government to “consider the advisability of …”.

*   Notice

Private Members must provide at least 48 hours’ notice of their intention to move a motion.[83] Notice of a private Member’s motion appears on the Notice Paper for the date on which notice is given and is transferred afterwards to the list of “Private Members’ Business—Items Outside the Order of Precedence” which may be consulted at the Table in the Chamber or on the electronic version of the Order Paper. The sponsoring Member can move the motion only if the item has been placed in the Order of Precedence. When a Member on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business is about to be eligible to bring forward an item of Private Members’ Business for debate, if that item is to be a motion, then in order to be placed in the Order of Precedence when it is created or replenished, the motion must be placed on notice no later than the day on which the Order of Precedence is created or replenished.[84]

*   Similar Items

If a Member submits notice of a motion which the Speaker judges to be substantially the same as an item already submitted, the Speaker has the power to refuse the most recent notice, to so inform the Member sponsoring it and to return the motion to him or her.[85]

*   Seconders

A Member who wishes to support a motion already appearing on the Order Paper may second that motion by indicating in writing to the Clerk of the House his or her desire to do so.[86] A motion may have up to 20 seconders. The names of these seconders are listed with the motion on the Order Paper. Once the motion has been proposed to the House, no additional names may be appended.[87] The Member who seconds the motion in the House need not be one of the seconders listed on the Order Paper.



[78] Private Members’ motions can also propose constitutional amendments. See, for example, Motion M‑194 which proposed an amendment to the Constitution Act to remove the power of the Crown to disallow acts of Parliament (Journals, February 15, 2005, pp. 438‑9).

[79] For examples of motions as resolutions, see Journals, June 15, 1994, pp. 592‑3 (M‑89 concerning non‑confidence motions); May 31, 2000, pp. 1768‑9 (M‑30 concerning reform of international organizations); March 24, 2004, pp. 209‑10 (M‑136 concerning management of the Grand Banks); October 26, 2004, p. 142 (M‑156 concerning elections in Ukraine); April 22, 2005, p. 674 (M‑170 concerning Alzheimer’s disease); October 26, 2005, pp. 1209‑11 (M‑153 concerning firefighters); February 22, 2007, p. 1061 (M‑153 concerning trafficking of women and children); March 28, 2007, pp. 1179‑80 (M‑244 concerning Canada’s military personnel); April 18, 2007, pp. 1231‑3 (M‑158 concerning assistance to the textile industry). See also Speakers’ rulings on Motion M‑266 requesting a conference with the Senate (Debates, June 18, 1996, pp. 3981‑2); on Motion M‑1 containing allegations of contempt against another Member (Debates, June 18, 1996, pp. 4028‑31; June 20, 1996, pp. 4183‑4); and on Motion M‑479, the wording of which originally instructed a committee to prepare and bring in a bill, but was changed into a resolution (Debates, March 22, 2004, p. 1477).

[80] Although the government may not be bound by only an expression of opinion, the adoption of such motions carries the weight of a decision of the House. In the latter half of the 1980s, three statues were erected on Parliament Hill as a result of the adoption of private Members’ motions which were framed as resolutions. See Journals, February 28, 1985, p. 340 (John G. Diefenbaker); February 10, 1987, p. 469 (Lester B. Pearson); March 22, 1988, p. 2320 (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). On October 26, 2005, the adoption of Motion M‑153 concerning firefighters who had died in the line of duty and calling for the creation of a memorial led to a government commitment to create a monument to honour Canadian firefighters (see Journals, October 26, 2005, pp. 1209‑11, and the news release entitled “Government of Canada Supports Creation of Monument to Canadian Firefighters”, Canadian Heritage, October 26, 2005).

[81] For examples of motions framed as orders, see Journals, April 9, 1997, p. 1366 (M‑267 amending the Standing Orders of the House); February 7, 2003, pp. 387‑8 (M‑192 creating an order of reference to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to study solicitation laws); October 1, 2003, p. 1077 (M‑288 creating an order of reference to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to study the appointment of judges); June 22, 2005, pp. 966‑8 (M‑228 committing the House to adopt an institutional symbol); April 18, 2007, pp. 1233‑5 (M‑243 creating an order of reference to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities to study levels of financial support for persons with disabilities).

[82] See, for example, Motion M‑555 which proposed the restoration of funding for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and which was adopted on April 23, 1990 (Journals, p. 1572), and M‑322 which proposed the restoration of funding for the Court Challenges Program (Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 20, 2007, p. v).

[83] Standing Order 54(1).

[84] Standing Order 87(1)(c)(i).

[85] Standing Order 86(4). In 1961, discussion arose in the House on whether a private Member’s motion which was similar to two private Members’ bills could be debated. Although the Speaker expressed strong reservations that it not become a precedent, debate was allowed to proceed (Journals, January 23, 1961, pp. 176‑7). In another instance, the Speaker ruled that the House can debate a motion which is similar in substance to a bill already decided upon in the same session since it is unlikely that a bill and motion could substantially raise the same question when the motion is merely affirming the desirability of legislation while the bill is likely to contain qualifying provisions and conditions (Debates, May 29, 1984, pp. 4175‑6). In 1985, prior to the consideration of a motion similar to a bill which had been adopted at second reading and referred to a standing committee, the Chair cautioned Members to refrain from speaking about the provisions of the bill or the committee’s deliberations during debate on the motion (Debates, April 18, 1985, p. 3884). In 1992, a Member rose on a point of order to argue the redundancy of debate on a private Member’s motion which was similar to the subject matter of a government bill that had been referred to a special committee for pre‑study. The Chair ruled that the two items were not identical and that since the motion was a non‑votable item, debate could proceed. In closing, the Chair remarked that “a Member’s legitimate right to present a motion could be weakened by or violated by an overly strict interpretation of the rule which forbids discussing a bill that is already being considered in committee” (Debates, April 1, 1992, pp. 9204‑6, 9208‑9).

[86] Standing Order 86(2).

[87] Standing Order 86(3). Occasionally, by unanimous consent, more than one Member has been permitted to second a private Member’s motion when it is moved in the House. See, for example, Journals, June 12, 2001, p. 537; April 30, 2003, pp. 717-8.

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Members may choose to give notice of a motion requesting that certain papers or documents be compiled or produced by the government and tabled in the House.[88] Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers resemble written questions in that they are requests for information from the government. All such motions are worded in the form of either an Order of the House (“That an Order of the House do issue …”) or an Address to the Crown, a formal message requesting the production of documents in the Crown’s possession (“That a humble Address be presented to His/Her Excellency praying that he/she will cause to be laid before the House of Commons …”). Thus, a motion, if adopted, becomes either an Order that the government table certain documents in the House or an Address to the Governor General requesting that certain papers be sent to the House. An Order of the House is used for papers concerning matters directly related to federal departments or the business of the House. An Address is required for correspondence between federal and provincial governments, federal and foreign governments, the federal government and any company, corporation or individual, Orders in Council, and papers concerning royal commissions, the administration of justice, the judicial conduct of judges or the exercise of Crown prerogatives. It is the responsibility of the Speaker to ensure that the motion proposed is appropriately worded so that it can achieve what it intends to do.[89]

While a number of motions for the production of papers have been transferred for debate in recent years, debate has rarely been held on an item of this nature since 1986.[90] When the House does consider such motions, the debate is restricted to whether or not the papers should be produced rather than the subject matter of the papers.[91]

*   Notice

Members must give 48 hours’ written notice of a motion for the production of papers, after which it is transferred from the Notice Paper to the Order Paper where it appears under the rubric “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers” on the following Wednesday, the only day of the week such notices of motions can be called.[92]

*   Transferred for Debate

When a Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers is called on a Wednesday following Routine Proceedings, it must be either dealt with immediately, without debate or amendment, or transferred for debate at the request of the sponsoring Member or a Minister.[93] Once transferred for debate, the motion is placed on the Order Paper under the heading entitled “Notices of Motions (Papers)” on the list of “Private Members’ Business―Items Outside the Order of Precedence”. It may be subject to debate at a subsequent time if it is selected by the sponsoring Member for the Order of Precedence.[94]



[88] For further information on the rules and procedures concerning “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers”, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.

[89] Journals, February 15, 1960, pp. 137‑40.

[90] In 1986, two motions for the production of papers were debated and concurred in (Journals, June 6, 1986, p. 2281; June 16, 1986, p. 2326, Debates, pp. 14479‑80). Since then, three motions for the production of papers have been debated and concurred in (Journals, October 2, 1998, p. 1115; November 2, 1998, p. 1221; December 4, 2001, pp. 913‑4) and two were debated and negatived (Journals, April 20, 1999, p. 1739; October 8, 2003, pp. 1115‑6).

[91] See Debates, March 31, 1966, pp. 3676‑7.

[92] Standing Order 30(6). See also Debates, April 24, 1998, p. 6087; September 28, 1998, pp. 8474‑5; February 15, 1999, p. 11893; April 13, 1999, p. 13721.

[93] Standing Order 97(1). See, for example, Debates, December 14, 1994, p. 9072; December 15, 1994, p. 9103; November 25, 1998, p. 10436; May 3, 2000, p. 6342; April 12, 2000, pp. 6028‑9; May 31, 2000, pp. 7289‑90; June 14, 2000, p. 8034; October 4, 2000, p. 8863; May 2, 2001, p. 3496; October 24, 2001, p. 6529; January 30, 2002, p. 8491; February 19, 2003, p. 3751; April 30, 2003, p. 5647; June 11, 2003, p. 7149; September 17, 2003, pp. 7463‑4; September 20, 2006, pp. 3027‑8. For further information, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.

[94] See, for example, Motion P‑15 in the name of Joe Clark (Calgary Centre) transferred for debate on January 29, 2003 (Debates, p. 2854), placed in the Order of Precedence on March 25, 2003 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 26, 2003, p. 34), debated May 16 and October 2, 2003 (Debates, pp. 6395‑403, 8133‑9) and negatived on October 8, 2003 (Journals, pp. 1115‑6), and the Order respecting the deferred division (Journals, October 2, 2003, p. 1085).

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Government bills and motions are called for debate in the order that the government chooses. However, items of Private Members’ Business are called according to their place in the Order of Precedence. Only those items in the Order of Precedence may be considered during Private Members’ Hour.[95] The order in which Members may place an item in the Order of Precedence for debate is based on their position on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, the list of the names of Members constituted by a random draw at the beginning of the first session of a parliament and, as required, during the course of a parliament.

*   Draw for the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business

At the beginning of the first session of a parliament, the names of all Members are drawn to establish a List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. The draw is organized by the Clerk of the House and is conducted by the Speaker who is assisted by one of the other Presiding Officers of the House. At least 48 hours before a draw is to be held, the Clerk of the House notifies Members of the date, time and place of the draw.[96] Members or their staff may attend the draw, though their presence is not required. The draw itself is not a formal proceeding of the House; therefore, no entry is made in that day’s Journals.

All Members’ names are placed on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, whether they have submitted an item of Private Members’ Business or not. Since the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are ineligible to take part in Private Members’ Business, on being drawn, their names are placed in a separate category at the bottom of the List, where they remain as long as they hold office. If, over the course of the Parliament, a Member ceases to hold one of those offices, then their name is added at the bottom of the List of Eligible Members. When more than one Member becomes eligible on the same day, their names are added in the order in which they were drawn when the List was established. When, as a result of by-elections, two or more new Members are added to the List on the same day, the order in which their names appear is determined by a draw done by one of the Presiding Officers and organized by the Private Members’ Business Office. These are the only modifications permitted to the List.[97]

Subsequent Draws

If, during the course of a parliament, fewer than 15 eligible names remain on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, another draw of Members’ names is held to establish a new List.[98] This draw is held in the same manner and under the same provisions as the first draw of a new parliament.

*   Creation of the Order of Precedence

At the beginning of a parliament, the Order of Precedence is established by transferring to it the names of the first 30 eligible Members on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. In order to have their names transferred to the Order of Precedence, each Member must have an eligible item on the Order Paper or Notice Paper. On the 20th sitting day following the draw, the first 30 Members on the List who have introduced a bill or given notice of a motion on the Notice Paper constitute the Order of Precedence. A Member must have at least one of the following items in order to be placed in the Order of Precedence: a bill that has already been introduced and given first reading; a motion that has been placed on notice; or a motion for the production of papers that has been transferred for debate. A Member who does not have at least one of the above items at the time his or her name is ready to be transferred to the Order of Precedence is dropped from the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business.[99] The Member will be eligible again only once the List is exhausted or, if re‑elected, at the beginning of the next parliament.

When a Member whose name has been placed in the Order of Precedence has only one eligible item standing in his or her name on the Order Paper or Notice Paper, that item is automatically placed in the Order of Precedence.

When a Member whose name has been placed in the Order of Precedence has more than one eligible item standing in his or her name on the Order Paper or Notice Paper, the Member must choose which one of these items is to be placed in the Order of Precedence. On behalf of the Clerk of the House, the Private Members’ Business Office contacts the Member, providing to the Member a list of the items. The Member has until the ordinary time of adjournment, on the second sitting day after his or her name has been added to the Order of Precedence, to inform the Private Members’ Business Office in writing of the item chosen. If the Member fails to indicate a choice, then the first bill that he or she introduced in the House is deemed to have been chosen and is placed in the Order of Precedence. When there are no bills standing in the name of the Member, the first motion standing in his or her name will be selected or, if required, the first Notice of Motion (Papers).[100] The items added to the Order of Precedence are then published in the Order Paper.

Private bills and Senate public bills which have been ordered for a second reading in the House and placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence are not considered to occupy any of the 30 positions in the Order of Precedence when it is initially established. However, they are considered to occupy positions in the Order of Precedence for the purposes of any subsequent replenishment.

Replenishment of the Order of Precedence

The Order of Precedence may not contain more than 30 motions and public bills originating in the House at the second reading stage, nor fewer than 15 items. When a decision is reached on an item (with the exception of the adoption of the motion to concur in a bill as reported from a committee), it subsequently disappears from the Order Paper. Non-votable items of Private Members’ Business are also dropped from the Order Paper after debate on them is concluded. Thus the original number of 30 items is gradually reduced as the session progresses. The Standing Orders provide that, when necessary, the Clerk of the House shall replenish the Order of Precedence by adding the names of the next 15 Members on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. This is done when there are 15 items remaining in the Order of Precedence.[101] Again, Members must have an eligible item in order to be added to the Order of Precedence or else their name is dropped from the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. When a replenishment takes place, the same provisions as for the creation of the Order of Precedence apply.

*   Withdrawal of Items

If a Member no longer wishes to proceed with a notice of motion which is in the list of “Private Members’ Business―Items Outside the Order of Precedence” or a bill which has not yet been given first reading, and thus does not wish to see the item placed in the Order of Precedence, he or she may request to have the item withdrawn from the Order Paper by notifying the Clerk of the House in writing. If a Member wishes to withdraw a bill which has been given first reading, he or she must seek the unanimous consent of the House to do so since, having been ordered for a second reading by the House, the bill is then in the possession of the House and only the House can take a further decision on it.[102]

Since the Order of Precedence is established by the Standing Orders, a Member wishing to withdraw any item which has been placed in the Order of Precedence must first seek the unanimous consent of the House.[103]

*   Status of Items Not Chosen

The existence of the Order of Precedence does not prohibit private Members from giving notice of items of business they wish to initiate.[104] On the day for which notice is given (or, in the case of public bills originating in the House, on the day for which the House has ordered second reading consideration), such items are included in the list of “Private Members’ Business―Items Outside the Order of Precedence” which may be consulted at the Table in the Chamber or on the electronic version of the Order Paper. Until and unless these items are chosen for inclusion in the Order of Precedence, they are not numbered sequentially as are items in the Order of Precedence. Unless chosen in a subsequent replenishment, items outside the Order of Precedence do not receive consideration during Private Members’ Business.[105]

*   Items Automatically Placed in the Order of Precedence

Certain items of Private Members’ Business are placed automatically at the bottom of the Order of Precedence regardless of the number of items already on it.[106] These items include:

*       orders for consideration of subsequent stages of a bill already debated during Private Members’ Business (including bills reported back or deemed to have been reported back from committees);[107]

*       private Members’ public bills originating in the Senate as well as any such bills that were included in the Order of Precedence in a previous session and that have been reinstated in the current session;[108]

*       orders for consideration of Senate amendments to bills;[109] and

*       all stages of a private bill.[110]

Thus, it is possible for the total number of items in the Order of Precedence to exceed 30 since this number applies only to motions and to public bills originating in the Commons at second reading.



[95] Standing Order 87(5). The House may choose, by unanimous consent, to adopt or to allow debate and possibly even a vote on an item which has not been chosen to be in the Order of Precedence. See, for example, Debates, June 18, 1987, pp. 7345‑7; April 7, 2000, pp. 5841‑2; May 17, 2000, p. 6985; April 19, 2002, p. 10608; June 12, 2003, p. 7181; October 21, 2003, pp. 8521‑3; November 5, 2003, p. 9196; October 26, 2004, pp. 807‑8; December 2, 2004, p. 2167.

[96] Standing Order 87(1)(a)(i) and (3).

[97] Standing Order 87(1)(a)(ii) and (iii).

[98] Standing Order 87(3).

[99] Standing Order 87(1)(b) and (c).

[100] Standing Order 87(1)(b) and (c).

[101] Standing Order 87(2).

[102] See, for example, Debates, March 12, 1997, p. 8957; March 11, 1999, p. 12715; April 7, 2000, p. 5842; September 28, 2000, p. 8776; February 23, 2005, p. 3878; April 20, 2005, pp. 5335‑6; May 17, 2005, p. 6043; October 3, 2005, p. 8335; June 6, 2007, pp. 10212‑3. On one occasion, by unanimous consent of the House, a Member withdrew a bill standing on the Order Paper in his name and immediately introduced another modified version of the bill (Journals, February 23, 2005, p. 472, Debates, p. 3878).

[103] See, for example, Journals, September 21, 2000, p. 1936; November 20, 2001, p. 836; November 21, 2002, p. 215; April 10, 2003, p. 680; September 16, 2003, p. 971; February 3, 2004, p. 11; May 5, 2005, p. 709; March 21, 2007, p. 1123; November 30, 2007, p. 241. By unanimous consent of the House, Members have withdrawn motions standing in the Order of Precedence and replaced them with other motions (Journals, May 5, 1994, p. 430; May 29, 2002, p. 1443). By unanimous consent, a Member’s motion was withdrawn from the Order of Precedence and substituted with a motion standing in another Member’s name (Journals, October 2, 1995, p. 1972). On another occasion, by unanimous consent, a Member’s motion was withdrawn from the Order of Precedence and the House adopted a motion to the same effect (Journals, February 24, 2004, p. 119).

[104] Standing Order 87(4).

[105] Standing Order 87(5).

[106] Standing Order 89.

[107] Standing Orders 97.1 and 98(1).

[108] Standing Orders 86.2 and 89. For examples of Senate bills reinstated, see Journals, February 13, 2004, p. 77; November 30, 2007, p. 242; December 5, 2007, p. 264; December 12, 2007, p. 302.

[109] For an example of Senate amendments to a private Member’s public bill originating in the House and its placement in the Order of Precedence, see Journals, April 16, 1997, pp. 1479‑80 (message from the Senate) and Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 17, 1997, pp. 27, xxxi.

[110] For an example of the placement of a private bill in the Order of Precedence, see Journals, December 7, 2006, p. 885 (message from the Senate) and Order Paper and Notice Paper, December 8, 2006, p. 29.

Move Up

*   Mandate of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

No item of Private Members’ Business may be taken up by the House until a determination is made as to whether or not it should remain votable.[111]

As soon as practicable after the Order of Precedence has been established or replenished, the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs must meet to determine whether or not any of the items placed in the Order of Precedence are non-votable according to the criteria adopted by the Standing Committee.[112] When a private Member’s public bill originating in the Senate has been read a first time, the Subcommittee must also meet to determine if the bill should be designated non-votable pursuant to the Standing Orders.[113] The fact that a bill or a motion has been accepted as votable should not be construed as a guarantee that the House will adopt the bill or motion.

The following items are automatically placed in the Order of Precedence and remain votable:

*       private bills;[114]

*       notices of motions (papers);[115]

*       bills reported from committee (or deemed to have been reported from committee);[116]

*       bills at the third reading stage;[117] and

*       Senate amendments to bills.[118]

Members may wish only to have their item debated, without it coming to a vote. No later than the adjournment hour on the second sitting day after the item has been added to the Order of Precedence, Members may inform the Clerk of the House in writing that they wish to have their item designated as non-votable. Items may also be designated as non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, though such a decision is subject to an appeal process.[119]

If the Subcommittee sees no reason to designate an item as non-votable, it files a report to that effect with the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Such a report is deemed to have been concurred in by the Committee and is presented to the House by a member of the Committee, usually the Chair,[120] at the next earliest opportunity. The report is deemed concurred in by the House upon its presentation.[121] Debate may then proceed on the item when it reaches the top of the Order of Precedence. If the Subcommittee feels that an item should be designated as non-votable, it reports that decision to the Standing Committee and, if concurred in by the Standing Committee, the sponsor of the item may avail him or herself of the appeal process or substitute another item as defined in the Standing Orders.[122] The item may not be considered by the House until the appeal process is complete, unless the sponsor of the item waives his or her right to appeal.[123]

If an item reaches the top of the Order of Precedence before its votable status has been confirmed or before the appeal process has concluded, then the item is automatically dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence.[124]

*   Criteria for Determining Non-votability

Since 1986, the Committee has based its determination of votable and now non-votable items on specific criteria, the list of which was occasionally modified throughout the years.[125] The most recent list of criteria to determine non-votability of bills and motions originating in the House of Commons is as follows:[126]

*       bills and motions must not concern questions that are outside federal jurisdiction;

*       bills and motions must not clearly violate the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

*       bills and motions must not concern questions that are substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current session of Parliament, or as ones preceding them in the Order of Precedence; and

*       bills and motions must not concern questions that are currently on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business.

It should be noted that the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, in applying these criteria, only assesses bills against other bills and motions against other motions.

In the case of a private Member’s public bill originating in the Senate, the only ground on which such a bill can be designated non-votable is its similarity to a bill voted on by the House in the same Parliament.[127]

Once it has determined that an item should be designated non-votable, the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business presents its report to the clerk of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.[128]

*   Appeal Process

Appeal to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs

A Member who disagrees with the decision of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business designating his or her item non-votable may, within five sitting days of the Subcommittee’s report being presented to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, appear before that Committee and/or present a written argument to the Committee with reasons why the item should be votable.[129]

If the Committee agrees with the Member that the item should remain votable, a report to this effect is presented to the House and deemed concurred in, and the item remains votable.[130] If the Committee agrees with the Subcommittee, it presents a report to the House, stating that the item should not be votable.[131]

Appeal to the House

Within five sitting days of the presentation of a report from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that an item of Private Members’ Business in the Order of Precedence be designated non-votable, the sponsor of the item may file an appeal with the Speaker, in the form of a notice of motion, that the item remain votable. In addition to the sponsor, five other Members, representing the majority of the parties in the House, must sign the appeal.[132]

If the appeal is in order, the Speaker calls for a vote by secret ballot to be held over the course of two sitting days during the hours of sitting of the House.[133] A ballot box is placed on the Table in the Chamber for this purpose. The Speaker announces the results of the vote at the next sitting of the House.

Should the sponsor not file an appeal within five sitting days, then the report is deemed adopted and the item is designated as non-votable.[134]

*   Substitution of Another Item

A Member may also choose to substitute another item of Private Members’ Business for an item that has been deemed to be non-votable. The Member must give notice of his or her intent to substitute within five sitting days of the presentation of the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs designating an item as non-votable.[135]

The Member may choose to substitute any other of his or her items already on the Order Paper or Notice Paper. If this is the case, the Member informs the Clerk of the House in writing of the item to be substituted, which then takes the place of the original item in the Order of Precedence.[136] If the Member does not already have a notice of motion on the Order Paper or Notice Paper or a bill on the Order Paper for consideration at the second reading stage, the Member has 20 calendar days from the presentation of the report of the Standing Committee to have a motion placed on notice or a bill introduced. The Member also informs the Clerk of the House in writing that this is the item to be substituted and it is then placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence.[137] If the Member fails to place an item on the Order Paper or Notice Paper within the 20 calendar days, his or her name is dropped from the Order of Precedence.[138]

Any substituted item is subject to review by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business to determine if it should remain votable.[139]



[111] Standing Order 91.1(1).

[112] Standing Order 91.1.

[113] Standing Order 92(1)(a).

[114] The Subcommittee has no mandate to examine private bills and thus such bills are votable.

[115] Standing Order 97(2). The Subcommittee cannot designate motions for papers as non-votable items since Standing Order 97(2) already requires such motions to come to a vote.

[116] Standing Order 89.

[117] Standing Order 89.

[118] Standing Order 89. When a private Member’s public bill is returned to the House after having been amended in the Senate, the order for its first consideration at this subsequent stage appears at the bottom of the Order of Precedence.

[119] Standing Orders 91.1 and 92.

[120] See, for example, the Fourteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (items to remain votable), presented to the House by Marcel Proulx (Hull–Aylmer) for Joe Preston (Chair of the Committee) on March 31, 2008 (Journals, p. 618). See also the Forty‑Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (Bill C‑447 designated as non‑votable), presented to the House by Geoff Regan (Halifax West) for Peter Adams (Chair of the Committee) on October 10, 2003 (Journals, p. 1125); Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (Bill C‑450 designated as non‑votable), presented to the House by Marcel Proulx (Hull–Aylmer) for Peter Adams (Chair of the Committee) on February 27, 2004 (Journals, p. 142).

[121] Standing Order 91.1(2). See, for example, the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (items in the Order of Precedence following its establishment), Journals, May 30, 2006, pp. 207‑8; Fifth Report (items in the Order of Precedence following a replenishment), Journals, December 6, 2007, p. 269; Thirty‑Ninth Report (addition of a bill originating in the Senate to the Order of Precedence), Journals, May 29, 2007, p. 1188.

[122] Standing Order 92(1) and (2). From 2003 to 2008, the Subcommittee reported seven items as non-votable: Bill C‑447, An Act to protect the institution of marriage (Grant Hill (Macleod), introduced on September 18, 2003 (Journals, p. 993), placed in the Order of Precedence September 23, 2003); Bill C‑450, An Act to amend the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act in order to protect the legal definition of “marriage” by invoking section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon–Humboldt), introduced on September 23, 2003 (Journals, p. 1026), placed in the Order of Precedence on February 2, 2004); Bill C‑268, An Act to confirm the definition of marriage and to preserve ceremonial rights (Rob Moore (Fundy Royal), introduced on November 5, 2004 (Journals, pp. 202‑3), placed in the Order of Precedence on November 15, 2004); Bill C‑291, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of a child before or during its birth while committing an offence) (Leon Benoit (Vegreville–Wainwright), introduced on May 17, 2006 (Journals, p. 187), placed in the Order of Precedence on May 17, 2006); Motion M‑322 concerning the Court Challenges Program (Stéphane Dion (Saint‑Laurent–Cartierville), placed on notice on April 19, 2007 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 20, 2007, p. v), placed in the Order of Precedence on April 20, 2007); Bill C‑415, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers) (Mario Silva (Davenport), introduced on March 22, 2007 (Journals, p. 1142), placed in the Order of Precedence on April 23, 2007); Bill C‑482, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (Charter of the French Language) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Pauline Picard (Drummond), introduced on November 20, 2007 (Journals, p. 177), placed in the Order of Precedence on November 23, 2007).

[123] See, for example, the letter from Leon Benoit (Vegreville–Wainwright) to the Speaker dated June 13, 2006, stating that he would not appeal the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs concerning Bill C‑291. The Tenth Report of the Committee had been presented to the House on June 7, 2006 (Journals, p. 244) and was deemed concurred in on June 13, 2006, following the receipt of Mr. Benoit’s letter (Journals, p. 275). On June 14, 2006, Bill C‑291 was debated for one hour and then dropped from the Order Paper (Journals, p. 278). See also the letter from Stéphane Dion to the Speaker dated May 9, 2007, stating that he waived his right of appeal of the report of the Standing Committee concerning Motion M‑322. The Fiftieth Report of the Committee had been presented to the House on May 9, 2007 (Journals, p. 1377) and was deemed adopted on May 10, 2007, following the receipt of Mr. Dion’s letter (Journals, p. 1390).

[124] Standing Order 91.1. See the Speaker’s statements on February 27, 2004 (Journals, p. 142, Debates, pp. 1164‑5, Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. 13); May 29, 2007 (Journals, p. 1439, Debates, p. 9912, Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. 35); and June 18, 2008 (Journals, p. 1019, Debates, pp. 7136-7, Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. 45). In each case, Private Members’ Business was cancelled on the day scheduled for consideration of the item.

[125] From 1986 to 2003, most items of Private Members’ Business were automatically designated non-votable; a standing committee was charged with choosing from the Order of Precedence a certain number of “selected” (or “votable”) items. Extensive criteria were adopted to determine if an item should be votable. See Journals, May 23, 1986, pp. 2200‑1; October 21, 1987, pp. 1717‑8. Objections were raised regarding the Committee’s selection of votable items (see Debates, November 19, 1986, pp. 1325‑34 and Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, December 4, 1986, pp. 1759‑60; see also Debates, April 18, 1997, pp. 9919‑20; November 4, 1998, pp. 9836‑7). In March 2003, the House agreed to a recommendation that all items should be votable unless a panel judged them to be non‑votable according to a few very specific criteria. See the Third Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, presented to the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492) and, pursuant to the Order adopted by the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492), deemed concurred in on March 17, 2003 (Journals, p. 495). These new rules were made permanent, with several modifications, in 2005. See the Thirty‑Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on May 11, 2005 (Journals, pp. 738‑9). In March 2003, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs recommended a short list of criteria for making items of Private Members’ Business non-votable. See the Twenty‑Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on March 26, 2003 (Journals, pp. 569‑70). In 2006, the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business undertook a review of the criteria for non-votability and recommended minimal changes. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs accepted these recommendations, reported them to the House and they were concurred in. See the Forty‑Ninth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on May 9, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1377‑8).

[126] Forty‑Ninth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and concurred in on May 9, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1377‑8).

[127] Standing Order 92(1)(a). See the First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, recommendation 15, presented to the House and concurred in on February 20, 2003 (Journals, p. 439).

[128] Standing Order 92(1)(a). On occasion, the Chair of the Subcommittee has also presented the report at the next meeting of the Committee. See, for example, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes, May 8, 2007, Meeting No. 49; December 6, 2007, Meeting No. 10.

[129] Standing Order 92(2). In all but one instance where the Subcommittee has reported that an item should be designated non‑votable, the sponsor has opted to appear before the Standing Committee to explain why the item should be votable. In one case the Member appearing sought the consent of the Committee to hear from a member of the public, but consent was refused (Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Evidence, June 6, 2006, Meeting No. 10, pp. 1‑3). On another occasion, the sponsor of the item as well as another Member appeared as witnesses before the Committee (Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes, December 11, 2007, Meeting No. 11, Evidence, pp. 10‑22). In the single instance where the Member opted not to appear (Stéphane Dion (Saint‑Laurent–Cartierville), Motion M‑322 concerning the Court Challenges Program) this information was initially conveyed to the Committee by one of its associate members. On May 8, 2007, the Chair of the Subcommittee presented its Third Report to the Committee designating Mr. Dion’s motion non‑votable. In the meeting, Paul Szabo (Mississauga South) gave an undertaking that if the Committee concurred in the Report, and this was reported to the House, then Mr. Dion would not appeal the decision and would accept the decision that his item was non‑votable (Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Evidence, May 8, 2007, Meeting No. 49, pp. 12‑3). The Committee did as the Member suggested and presented its Fiftieth Report to the House on May 9, 2007 (Journals, p. 1377). On the same day, Mr. Dion wrote the Speaker stating that he would not appeal the designation of his item. The Speaker informed the House of this on May 10, 2007 (Debates, pp. 9287‑8) and, pursuant to Standing Order 92(4)(a), the Report was deemed concurred in (Journals, p. 1390).

[130] Standing Order 92(3)(b). See the Fifty‑First and the Eighth Reports of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on May 30, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1446‑7) and on December 13, 2007 (Journals, p. 319) respectively, and deemed concurred in.

[131] Standing Order 92(3)(a). See the Forty‑Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on October 10, 2003 and deemed concurred in on October 24, 2003 (Journals, pp. 1125, 1165); the Seventh Report, presented to the House on February 27, 2004 and deemed concurred in on March 12, 2004 (Journals, pp. 142, 179); the Sixteenth Report, presented to the House on November 26, 2004 and deemed concurred in on December 3, 2004 (Journals, pp. 264, 295); the Tenth Report, presented to the House on June 7, 2006 and deemed concurred in on June 13, 2006 (Journals, pp. 244, 275); and the Fiftieth Report, presented to the House on May 9, 2007 and deemed concurred in on May 10, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1377, 1390).

[132] Standing Order 92(4)(a).

[133] Standing Order 92(4)(b).

[134] Standing Order 92(4)(a).

[135] Standing Order 92.1.

[136] Standing Order 92.1(2).

[137] Standing Order 92.1(3).

[138] Standing Order 92.1(4).

[139] Standing Order 92.1(2) and (3).

Move Up

 

Private Members’ Business is considered for one hour every sitting day.[140] At the beginning of a parliament, Private Members’ Business is suspended until the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business and the Order of Precedence have been established, and the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs indicating those items which remain votable has been presented to the House.[141] Once the report of the Committee has been presented, Private Members’ Business begins the following day.[142]

The Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business indicates to all Members when particular items are expected to be taken up for consideration. However, because Private Members’ Business may be suspended for a number of reasons, and because the Speaker is obliged to “make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members’ Business”, an additional notice is required by the Standing Orders. The Speaker must give Members at least 24 hours’ notice before an item in the Order of Precedence can be considered. This notice is published in the Notice Paper.[143] If no notice is published, then Private Members’ Business is suspended that day and the House continues with whatever business was previously before it.[144] When Private Members’ Business is suspended on a Monday, when it is the first order of business of the sitting, the House proceeds to consider Government Orders at 11:00 a.m.[145] During Private Members’ Hour, items in the Order of Precedence are considered in the order in which they are listed and normally only one item is considered each day.[146]

*   Exchange of Items

If the sponsor of an item is unable to move his or her motion on the day set by the Order of Precedence and has given the Speaker at least 48 hours’ written notice, the Speaker may arrange to exchange the position of the sponsor’s item with that of another Member in the Order of Precedence, with the permission of the Members involved.[147] Exchanges are limited in that the item which is moving up the Order of Precedence must be eligible to be debated. This means that if the item has been designated as non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business, the item cannot be exchanged so as to move the item forward for debate until the appeal process is complete or the sponsor waives the right to appeal.[148] In addition to the requirement for an item’s votable status to be confirmed before it is debated,[149] the need for 10 sitting days to elapse between the first hour and the second hour of an item’s consideration can also limit which items are eligible to be exchanged.[150]

Where an exchange is sought by a Member, the Speaker attempts to find another Member willing to switch dates for the consideration of his or her item. If no exchange is possible, Private Members’ Hour is suspended for that day, the House continues with the business before it,[151] and the Member’s item is consequently dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence and marked with an asterisk.[152] If Private Members’ Hour is suspended on a Monday, the House takes up Government Orders during that time.[153]

Once an item is marked with an asterisk, its sponsor may not request an exchange, though he or she may accept an exchange requested by another Member. Furthermore, if the sponsor fails to proceed with the item the next time it reaches the top of the Order of Precedence, thereby causing the suspension of a second Private Members’ Hour, then the item is dropped from the Order Paper.[154]

Members sponsoring items on which debate has previously begun (motions, bills at second reading and bills at third reading) may request an exchange, but, if an exchange is not possible, debate on their item will proceed. If the sponsor is not present, he or she will lose the five minute right of reply at the end of the debate. Also, the Speaker will not permit any amendment without the consent of the sponsor.[155]

*   Cancellations and Suspensions

Although Private Members’ Hour is regularly scheduled for each day that the House sits, there are some situations when it may be cancelled or suspended. The cancellation or suspension of the Hour has been a matter of concern to the House ever since the adoption of the modern rules relating to Private Members’ Business in 1986.[156]

The consideration of Private Members’ Business may be cancelled or suspended for a number of reasons:

*       There is no Private Members’ Business until the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business and the Order of Precedence have been established, and the initial report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs indicating those items which remain votable has been presented to the House.[157]

*       Should Members not have 24 hours’ notice of the item to be considered during Private Members’ Hour, the Speaker will advise the House that Private Members’ Business will be cancelled for that day; the House will continue with, or revert to, the business before it prior to the time designated for Private Members’ Business.[158]

*       If the Member scheduled to move an item gives the required 48 hours’ written notice that he or she is unable to do so on the day scheduled, and no exchange of items is possible, Private Members’ Business will be cancelled that day, and the House will continue with the business before it prior to Private Members’ Hour. The item is also dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence and marked with an asterisk.[159]

*       If, at the beginning of Private Members’ Business, the sponsor of an item set for consideration is not present to move the item, and has failed to provide the necessary notice, then Private Members’ Business is cancelled for that day and the sitting is suspended for the duration of Private Members’ Hour (on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the House usually gives its consent to proceed immediately to the Adjournment Proceedings or to adjourn). The item is dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence and marked with an asterisk.[160] The hour cannot be used for other business without the unanimous consent of the House.

*       If, at the beginning of Private Members’ Business, the sponsor of an item set for consideration declines to move the item, then Private Members’ Business is cancelled for that day and the sitting is suspended for the duration of Private Members’ Hour (on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the House usually gives its consent to proceed immediately to the Adjournment Proceedings or to adjourn). The item is not proceeded with and is dropped from the Order Paper.[161] The Hour cannot be used for other business without the unanimous consent of the House.

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled if debate does not begin by 30 minutes after the time Private Members’ Hour would have ordinarily ended. The Speaker reschedules the debate within the next 10 sitting days as an extra hour of Private Members’ Business.[162]

*       There is no Private Members’ Business on the day of the presentation of the Speech from the Throne.[163]

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled when, during the course of a session, the House must proceed to the election of a new Speaker. The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[164]

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled on any day designated for the presentation of the Budget, if the presentation is scheduled to take place prior to Private Members’ Hour.[165] The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[166]

*       On the last supply day in June, except if it falls on a Monday, the consideration of Private Members’ Business is cancelled in order to allow more time to consider and dispose of the main estimates. The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[167]

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled if the House is debating a motion arising from a prima facie question of privilege. The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[168]

*       To ensure that the government is not prevented in any way from introducing its legislation, the Standing Orders provide that the House complete “Introduction of Government Bills” at every sitting, even if it means suspending all or part of Private Members’ Hour. If proceedings under “Introduction of Government Bills” have not been completed on a Tuesday or Thursday prior to Statements by Members, Routine Proceedings will continue immediately after Question Period until the completion of all items under “Introduction of Government Bills”.[169] If Private Members’ Business is not reached and the Speaker adjourns the House, then the item scheduled for that day does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence. The provisions of the Standing Orders adding an extra hour of Private Members’ Business to another day do not apply.[170]

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled when a Minister moves a motion in relation to a matter the government considers to be of an urgent nature, and debate subsequently takes place during the time scheduled for Private Members’ Business.[171] The item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence. If such a motion is moved during Private Members’ Hour, only the remaining time allotted for consideration of the item being debated is suspended.[172] If the maximum one hour of debate allowed on the motion extends into Private Members’ Hour, then the beginning of Private Members’ Hour is delayed.[173]

*       Private Members’ Business is not taken up when a motion to adjourn the House is adopted prior to the beginning of Private Members’ Hour. The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[174]

*       Private Members’ Business is not taken up when the House adjourns due to a lack of quorum prior to the beginning of Private Members’ Hour. The scheduled item does not lose its place in the Order of Precedence.[175]

*       Private Members’ Business, or the remainder thereof, is suspended when the House adjourns due to a lack of quorum during Private Members’ Hour. A votable item is dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence while a non-votable item is dropped from the Order Paper.[176]

*       Private Members’ Business is cancelled if an emergency debate begins prior to Private Members’ Hour. The Speaker reschedules the debate within the next 10 sitting days as an extra hour of Private Members’ Business.[177]

When Private Members’ Business is suspended on Monday, the House takes up Government Orders during the time designated for Private Members’ Business.[178]

*   Delays and Interruptions

If Private Members’ Hour is delayed or interrupted for any reason, the debate on the item of business before the House is then extended or rescheduled so that no time is lost.[179] When the beginning of Private Members’ Hour is delayed because of a recorded division,[180] a question period on a time allocation motion or a closure motion,[181] or if Private Members’ Business is interrupted so that Members may attend the Royal Assent ceremony in the Senate Chamber,[182] or by an emergency alarm,[183] then Private Members’ Hour is extended by the amount of time that was lost. Similarly, when the time provided for Government Orders has been extended by 90 minutes or less because of a ministerial statement, the start of Private Members’ Hour will be delayed by a corresponding amount of time.[184] If debate on Private Members’ Business does not begin or resume by 30 minutes after the time Private Members’ Business would have ordinarily ended, the remaining time or the entire hour is added to another sitting.[185]

*   Rescheduling of Debate

The rescheduling of any unused time of a Private Members’ Hour due to a delay or interruption is done at the discretion of the Speaker within 10 sitting days and after consultation with the Member involved.[186] No more than one adjournment period as provided in the parliamentary calendar may intervene in the rescheduling of the debate.[187] The rescheduled business is considered during an additional Private Members’ Hour, which is added to the daily schedule of the House, normally after the ordinary time of daily adjournment.

The regular 24 hours’ notice of the item to be considered is given to the House. The notice is published in the Notice Paper on the day the additional debate is to take place.[188] The Order Paper entry referring to the rescheduled debate, or to a debate waiting for rescheduling, appears at the top of the list of “Items in the Order of Precedence”.[189] The Standing Orders do not provide for an exchange between a Member whose item of business has been rescheduled and another Member who has an item in the Order of Precedence.

On days when Private Members’ Business has been rescheduled, the Adjournment Proceedings are delayed by the amount of time required to complete the rescheduled debate.

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[140] The current schedule for Private Members’ Hour is as follows: Monday, 11:00 a.m. to noon; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Friday, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This schedule came into effect on February 14, 1994, following the adoption of amendments to the Standing Orders on February 7, 1994 (Journals, February 7, 1994, pp. 112‑20). Members are not permitted to propose the continuation or extension of the sitting pursuant to Standing Order 26 during Private Members’ Business. However, if, within the first 30 minutes of debate on the first day of consideration of the report and third reading stages of a private Member’s bill, it is not disposed of, then during any time then remaining on that day, any Member may propose a motion to extend the debate on the second day for a period not to exceed five consecutive hours pursuant to Standing Order 98(3).

[141] Standing Order 91.

[142] See the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House and deemed concurred in on May 30, 2006 (Journals, pp. 207‑8) (with Private Members’ Business beginning on May 31, 2006, Journals, p. 218).

[143] Standing Order 94(1)(a). On one occasion, the Speaker gave notice of two items for the same day. On December 5, 1996, Bill C-341, An Act to establish the terms and conditions that must apply to a referendum relating to the separation of Quebec from Canada before it may be recognized as a proper expression of the will of the people of Quebec, sponsored by Stephen Harper (Calgary West) was placed in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, December 6, 1996, p. 23). On January 14, 1997, Mr. Harper resigned his seat (Journals, February 3, 1997, p. 1025). On March 3, 1997, Bill C-341 was the first item in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. 23). This created a situation not provided for in the Standing Orders. When the House reached Private Members’ Business the item would be called, not proceeded with and dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence, and Private Members’ Hour would be suspended for that day. So that the House would not lose the hour, the Speaker gave notice of two items, C-341 and Motion M-126, sponsored by Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast), the second item in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. iii). At the beginning of Private Members’ Business on March 3, 1997, Bill C-341 was called and dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence (Debates, p. 8475). The House then proceeded to the consideration of Mr. Hanger’s motion (Journals, p. 1173). By unanimous consent on March 4, 1997, the sponsor of Bill C-341 was changed to Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest) (Journals, p. 1232, Debates, p. 8643, Order Paper and Notice Paper, p. 30; March 6, 1997, p. 29).

[144] Standing Order 94(1)(b).

[145] Standing Order 99(2).

[146] The Member is advised in advance of the day when his or her item is scheduled for debate. On occasion, two or more items have been considered during Private Members’ Hour by unanimous consent. See, for example, Journals, July 21, 1988, pp. 3250‑1; June 27, 1989, pp. 468‑70; June 7, 1990, pp. 1852‑5; June 18, 1992, pp. 1800‑1; November 28, 1996, p. 935; April 28, 1999, pp. 1780‑1. The House has also extended Private Members’ Business by 30 minutes in order to have two items considered (Journals, March 18, 1997, p. 1310; March 19, 1997, pp. 1319‑20). For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Rescheduling of Debate”.

[147] Standing Order 94(2)(a). In the First Session (1997‑99) of the Thirty‑Sixth Parliament, there had been an increasing loss of time for Private Members’ Business due to Members not being available for exchanges. This matter was discussed by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (see Evidence, April 15 and April 20, 1999). This issue was addressed with the adoption of the current rule, Standing order 94(2), preventing Members from seeking an exchange if they have failed to be present when their item is called for debate or if an exchange has been requested and is not possible. The Standing Order was adopted when the House concurred in the Third Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, presented to the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492) and, pursuant to the Order adopted by the House on February 28, 2003 (Journals, p. 492), deemed concurred in on March 17, 2003 (Journals, p. 495).

[148] In one case where the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business had reported to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that an item be designated non‑votable and in another case where the Standing Committee had reported to the House that an item be designated non‑votable, exchanges involving these items were permitted which placed these items farther down the Order of Precedence. This allowed these Members to avoid having the Speaker drop their items to the bottom of the Order of Precedence should they reach the top of the Order of Precedence before the House had taken a decision on their non-votable status. It also ensured that Private Members’ Business would not be cancelled if one of these items should reach the top of the Order of Precedence. See the exchange of position in the Order of Precedence between Rob Moore (Fundy Royal) (Bill C‑268) and John Reynolds (West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country) (Bill S‑2), Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 26, 2004, pp. 17, 22; November 29, 2004, pp. 17, 21; and the exchange of position between Pauline Picard (Drummond) (Bill C‑482) and Guy André (Berthier–Maskinongé) (Bill C‑469), Order Paper and Notice Paper, December 11, 2007, pp. 26, 28; December 12, 2007, pp. 28, 30.

[149] Standing Order 91.1(1).

[150] Standing Order 93(2).

[151] Standing Order 94(2)(b). See, for example, Debates, March 23, 1994, p. 2694; April 11, 2002, p. 10332; December 5, 2002, pp. 2336‑7; February 12, 2004, p. 529; February 17, 2004, p. 709; March 10, 2005, p. 4292; March 22, 2005, p. 4476; May 5, 2005, p. 5743; October 5, 2006, p. 3737; October 24, 2007, p. 347.

[152] Standing Order 94(2)(c).

[153] Standing Order 99(2). See, for example, Debates, November 18, 1994, p. 8004; March 7, 1997, p. 8790; May 8, 1998, p. 6736; September 22, 2000, p. 8564; January 27, 2003, p. 2689; February 6, 2004, p. 283.

[154] Standing Order 94(2)(c). See also, Debates, February 12, 2004, p. 529; April 19, 2004, p. 2047; April 18, 2008, p. 5131; June 19, 2008, p. 7199.

[155] Standing Order 93(3).

[156] In its Third Report presented to the House in June 1986, the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Business expressed concerns about the suspension of Private Members’ Hour: “Since debate began under the new rules …, there have been, theoretically, thirty‑two hours for Private Members’ Business; but only fifteen have been used. Ten were suspended because of allotted days and seven were lost because Members in whose name the motions stood were unable to attend the House” (Journals, June 19, 1986, p. 2365).

[157] Standing Orders 91, 91.1 and 99.

[158] Standing Order 94(1)(b). When this occurs, the item is dropped to the bottom of the Order of Precedence (Standing Order 42(2)). See Speaker Parent’s ruling, Debates, April 18, 1997, pp. 9919‑20, and Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 17, 1997, p. 23; April 18, 1997, pp. 23, 27, iii.

[159] Standing Order 94(2)(b) and (c). See also Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 24, 2007, p. 17; October 25, 2007, pp. 21, vi.

[160] See, for example, Debates, April 19, 2004, p. 2047; June 9, 2005, p. 6920; November 28, 2005, p. 10183; February 15, 2008, p. 3184.

[161] Standing Order 42(1).

[162] Standing Order 30(7).

[163] Standing Order 94(1)(b) requires that 24 hours’ notice be provided by the Speaker of the item to be considered during Private Members’ Hour and as there is no opportunity to provide such notice on the first day of a session, no Private Members’ Business is taken up.

[164] Standing Orders 2(3) and 99.

[165] Standing Order 99(1). Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), if the House is considering Private Members’ Business at the time specified for the presentation of the Budget, the Speaker will interrupt the proceedings and the proceedings will be deemed adjourned.

[166] See, for example, the Budget days of 2004 and 2005 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 23, 2004, pp. 11, 15, iv; March 24, 2004, pp. 17, iii; February 23, 2005, pp. 15, 21, iii; February 24, 2005, pp. 19, iv).

[167] Standing Order 99(1). See, for example, entries in the Order Paper and Notice Paper illustrating that such items did not lose their place in the Order of Precedence and indicating that notice pursuant to Standing Order 94(1)(a) was not given (June 12, 2003, pp. 25, 31, vi; June 13, 2003, pp. 31, iv; June 14, 2005, pp. 33, iii, iv; June 15, 2005, pp. 35, iii; June 7, 2007, pp. 29, 39, v; June 8, 2007, pp. 39, v). For further information, see Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[168] See, for example, Speakers’ statements, on Friday, February 1, 2002 (Debates, p. 8619) and Friday, November 4, 2005 (Debates, pp. 9552‑3) announcing the cancellation of Private Members’ Business on the following Monday. See also entries in the Order Paper and Notice Paper illustrating that such items did not lose their place in the Order of Precedence and indicating that notice pursuant to Standing Order 94(1)(a) was not given while the House debated privilege motions (February 1, 2002, pp. 27, iv; February 4, 2002, pp. 27, iv; February 5, 2002, pp. 29, v; November 3, 2005, pp. 33, iv; November 4, 2005, pp. 33, v; November 14, 2005, pp. 35, vi; November 15, 2005, pp. 35, v).

[169] Standing Order 30(4)(a).

[170] Standing Order 30(4)(b) and (7).

[171] Standing Orders 53 and 99(1). No debate of this nature has ever led to the cancellation of Private Members’ Business. For further information, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[172] On at least two occasions, motions pursuant to Standing Order 53 have been moved during Private Members’ Hour. In both cases, the motion was deemed withdrawn after debate and Private Members’ Business resumed. See Journals, June 10, 1999, p. 2097; June 8, 2007, p. 1499.

[173] Standing Order 30(7).

[174] Standing Orders 41 and 42(3). See, for example, Bill C‑357, Taiwan Affairs Act, (Jim Abbott (Kootenay–Columbia)), which was scheduled to be taken up for debate on May 11, 2005, but the House adjourned prior to reaching Private Members’ Hour. It retained its place in the Order of Precedence. The House again adjourned prior to Private Members’ Hour on May 12 and 13, 2005. In each instance, Bill C‑357 maintained its position at the top of the Order of Precedence. On May 16, 2005, the item was taken up for debate. See Journals, May 11, 2005, pp. 740‑2; May 12, 2005, pp. 745‑6; May 13, 2005, pp. 751‑4; May 16, 2005, p. 755; Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 11, 2005, pp. 31, iv; May 12, 2005, pp. 29, iii; May 13, 2005, pp. 29, iii; May 16, 2005, pp. 29, iv.

[175] Standing Orders 29(3), 41 and 42(3).

[176] Standing Orders 29(3), 30(7) and 41(2). See, for example, Journals, October 19, 1995, p. 2032; Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 19, 1995, p. 19; October 20, 1995, pp. 22‑3.

[177] Standing Orders 52(14), 30(7) and 99. Thus, when an emergency debate takes place on a Friday, Private Members’ Hour is cancelled. See, for example, Debates, June 13, 1986, p. 14388.

[178] Standing Order 99(2).

[179] Standing Order 30(7).

[180] See, for example, Journals, March 28, 2007, p. 1180; November 21, 2007, p. 194. This occurs frequently on Wednesdays when deferred recorded divisions on items of Private Members’ Business are taken.

[181] Standing Order 67.1(2). See, for example, Debates, October 7, 2003, pp. 8249, 8255, 8299; June 12, 2007, pp. 10452, 10457, 10515. In the case of a question period on a closure motion, if the motion is adopted prior to the beginning of Private Members’ Hour, then the debate on the closured motion, which may continue until 8:00 p.m. (Standing Order 57), is adjourned at the time regularly scheduled for Private Members’ Hour and so Private Members’ Business is not delayed. Debate on the closured motion then resumes at the end of Private Members’ Hour until 8:00 p.m. See Debates, June 23, 2005, pp. 7688, 7693‑4, 7743.

[182] See, for example, Journals, April 13, 2000, pp. 1612‑3; May 31, 2000, pp. 1769‑70; September 21, 2000, pp. 1937‑8; April 18, 2007, pp. 1235‑6.

[183] See, for example, Debates, February 16, 2000, p. 3625.

[184] Standing Order 33(2). See, for example, Debates, November 2, 2006, p. 4657; March 29, 2007, p. 8097; November 1, 2007, p. 702.

[185] Standing Order 30(7). On April 23, 1996, for instance, Private Members’ Hour was scheduled to take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Because of a ministerial statement, Government Orders was extended by 72 minutes. Moreover, it was then followed by a recorded division. As a result, the House was not ready to proceed with Private Members’ Business until 7:15 p.m., 45 minutes after the time at which it would normally have ended. Pursuant to this Standing Order, the Speaker had to reschedule the debate for another sitting. See Debates, April 23, 1996, p. 1880; Journals, May 2, 1996, pp. 289‑90, Order Paper and Notice Paper, pp. 15, iii‑iv. For other cases where Private Members’ Business has been rescheduled, see Motion M‑300 (Debates, December 1, 1998, pp. 10772‑3; December 7, 1998, p. 10945; Journals, December 8, 1998, pp. 1427‑8; Order Paper and Notice Paper, December 1, 1998, pp. 21, iv; December 8, 1998, pp. 21, iv); Motion M‑211 (Debates, February 22, 2000, p. 3927; February 24, 2000, p. 4006; Journals, March 2, 2000, p. 1065; Order Paper and Notice Paper, February 22, 2000, pp. 25, iii; March 2, 2000, pp. 27, v); Motion M‑160 (Debates, June 6, 2000, p. 7599; June 12, 2000, pp. 7842‑3; Journals, September 20, 2000, p. 1933; Order Paper and Notice Paper, June 6, 2000, pp. 27, v; September 20, 2000, pp. 35, iv); Bill S‑10 (Debates, November 27, 2001, p. 7602; November 28, 2001, p. 7635; Journals, December 6, 2001, p. 931; Order Paper and Notice Paper, November 27, 2001, pp. 27, iv; December 6, 2001, pp. 27, iv); Bill C‑280 (Debates, March 25, 2003, p. 4702; March 28, 2003, p. 4863; Journals, April 1, 2003, p. 642; Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 25, 2003, pp. 25, vii; April 1, 2003, pp. 23‑4, iv‑v); Bill C‑235 (Debates, March 26, 2003, p. 4776; March 28, 2003, p. 4863; Journals, April 3, 2003, pp. 655‑6; Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 26, 2003, pp. 29, iii; April 3, 2003, pp. 25, iv‑v); Motion M‑136 (Debates, October 28, 2003, p. 8884; Journals, October 30, 2003, p. 1211; Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 28, 2003, pp. 36, vi; October 30, 2003, pp. 35, iv); Motion M‑153 (Debates, October 5, 2005, p. 8471; October 7, 2005, p. 8562; Journals, October 20, 2005, pp. 1182‑3; Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 5, 2005, pp. 36, iv; October 20, 2005, pp. 31, iii‑iv); Motion M‑242 (Debates, March 21, 2007, p. 7743; March 22, 2007, p. 7815; Journals, March 27, 2007, p. 1167; Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 21, 2007, pp. 40, vi; March 27, 2007, pp. 34, iii‑iv); Motion M-310 (Debates, March 5, 2008, pp. 3700-1; March 10, 2008, p. 3859; Journals, March 12, 2008, pp. 588-9; Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 12, 2008, pp. 41, v-vi).

[186] Standing Order 30(7). See, for example, Debates, February 24, 2000, p. 4006; June 12, 2000, pp. 7842‑3; November 28, 2001, p. 7635; March 28, 2003, p. 4863; October 7, 2005, p. 8562; March 22, 2007, p. 7815; March 10, 2008, p. 3859.

[187] See, for example, the Speaker’s statements designating days following a summer adjournment and the adjournment for Thanksgiving, Debates, June 12, 2000, pp. 7842‑3; October 7, 2005, p. 8562.

[188] See, for example, Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 20, 2005, pp. iii‑iv; March 27, 2007, pp. iii‑iv.

[189] See, for example, Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 20, 2005, p. 31; March 27, 2007, p. 34.

Move Up

*   Non-votable Items

A non-votable item of Private Members’ Business is debated for up to one hour and, once the debate has concluded or the time for debate has expired, the item is removed from the Order Paper.[190] Debate does not last the full hour allotted for Private Members’ Business if no other Member rises to speak on the item or if a quorum is lost.

The House cannot be placed in a position of having to decide a question twice in the same session. However, the Standing Orders reinforce the fact that dropping a non-votable item of Private Members’ Business from the Order Paper does not constitute a decision since a question is not put to the House.[191] Thus, a Member whose non‑votable item has been removed, or any other Member, may resubmit it by giving notice of the item in the usual manner. It remains on the Order Paper on the list of “Private Members’ Business―Items Outside the Order of Precedence” until it is chosen again for inclusion in the Order of Precedence.[192]

*   Votable Items

A votable item of Private Members’ Business (a motion or a bill at second reading) is eligible for up to two hours of consideration before the question is put to dispose of it.[193] If debate has not concluded at the end of Private Members’ Hour on the day the item is first debated, it is placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence.[194] When the item reaches the top of the Order of Precedence again, it may be debated for a further hour. Unless the item has been disposed of earlier, the Speaker interrupts the proceedings at the end of the hour and puts every question necessary to dispose of the item.

If the votable item is a motion framed as a resolution, the House makes a decision either for or against that item of business and, accordingly, it is disposed of. No further action is required since it is solely an expression of opinion or a declaration of purpose. If the votable item is a motion framed as an order to the House itself, its committees, its Members or officers, again the House makes a decision either for or against and, if agreed to, further action will be required to execute the order.

If the votable item is a bill and second reading is agreed to by the House, the bill is then referred to a committee for study.[195]

*   Committee Stage of Private Members’ Bills

Requirement to Report

The committee is obliged, within 60 sitting days from the date of reference, to report back a private Member’s public bill with or without amendment,[196] to present a report recommending that the bill not be proceeded with further, or to request a one‑time extension of 30 sitting days to consider the bill. In the last two cases, reasons must be given. Should a committee fail to report back to the House as required, the bill is automatically deemed reported without amendment.[197]

Recommendation Not to Proceed Further

After considering a private Member’s public bill, a committee may report to the House that it does not believe the bill should proceed any further.[198] Once the report is presented, a notice of motion to concur in the report is automatically placed on the Notice Paper. The motion stands in the name of the Member who presented the report, usually the Chair of the committee. No other notice of motion for concurrence in the report can be placed on the Notice Paper.[199] The motion is taken up after Private Members’ Hour on a day fixed by the Speaker.[200] The motion is deemed moved at the beginning of the debate and may be considered for not more than one hour.[201] Each speech is limited to 10 minutes and there is no questions and comments period. At the end of the hour, or earlier if no other Members rise to speak, the Speaker puts the question on the motion. If requested, a recorded division on the motion is automatically deferred until the next Wednesday sitting.

It may happen that the committee presents its report prior to the expiry of the 60 sitting day limit, but that the House does not make a final decision on the committee’s recommendation until after this deadline has passed. This could also be the case when a 30 sitting day extension has been granted. Since the committee has met the requirements of the Standing Order by presenting a report, the bill is not deemed reported back to the House. Instead, the bill remains with the committee until the House comes to a final decision on the committee’s recommendation that the bill not proceed further.[202]

When the House concurs in the committee’s report, it expresses its agreement that the bill should not proceed further. Therefore, all work on the bill ceases for the remainder of that session.[203] When the House rejects the committee’s report, it is expressing its will that the bill should proceed further. The bill is then deemed reported back to the House without amendment and is set down for consideration at report stage.[204]

Extension of Consideration

If a committee feels it will not be able to complete its consideration of a private Member’s public bill referred to it within 60 sitting days, it may request an extension of 30 further sitting days.[205] Only one extension may be sought. As soon as a committee report requesting an extension is presented, a motion to concur in the report is deemed to have been moved and seconded. No debate takes place, as the motion is deemed put to a vote right away and the vote is deferred until the next Wednesday sitting.[206] If the House agrees to grant the extension, then the committee has an extra 30 sitting days to complete its consideration of the bill.[207] When an extension is granted, it begins immediately after the expiry of the original 60 sitting day limit, rather than on the day the extension is granted. This means that the new deadline for reporting is 90 sitting days following the original referral of the bill to committee.[208] If the House refuses to grant the extension, but the original 60 sitting day deadline has yet to pass, the committee may continue to consider the bill until the 60th sitting day. If the extension is refused and the 60th sitting day has already passed, the bill is deemed reported without amendment and an order for its consideration at report stage is set down on the Order Paper.

*   Report Stage and Third Reading

When a committee reports a private Member’s bill back to the House or is deemed to have reported a bill back, the order for consideration of the report stage is placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence.[209] Two Private Members’ Hours on separate sitting days are allotted for report stage and third reading consideration.[210] On the first day, if there are no motions in amendment at the report stage on the Notice Paper, the question on the motion for concurrence at the report stage is put immediately and, if adopted, the motion for third reading is moved and debate commences at third reading.[211] If there are motions in amendment at the report stage and debate on these motions concludes during the first hour, the question is put on all motions to dispose of the report stage and, if the bill is concurred in at report stage, the House immediately proceeds to the consideration of the third reading stage.[212] At the end of the first Private Members’ Hour, unless the bill has been otherwise disposed of, it drops to the bottom of the Order of Precedence and works its way up to the top for one more consideration by the House during the second Private Members’ Hour. At the end of the time provided for this second consideration, all questions necessary to dispose of the bill at the remaining stage or stages are put and the bill, if passed, is sent to the Senate for consideration.[213]

The time provided for the consideration of a private Member’s bill at report stage and third reading may be extended by up to five hours on the second day of debate. If a bill is not disposed of within the first 30 minutes of debate on the first day of consideration, during any time then remaining on that day, any Member may propose a motion to extend the debate on the second day for a period not to exceed five consecutive hours.[214] This non‑debatable, non‑amendable motion is deemed withdrawn if fewer than 20 Members rise to support it.[215] The motion may subsequently be proposed again during the time remaining provided an intervening proceeding has occurred.[216] If the motion is adopted and the time for consideration is extended on the second day, the Standing Orders relating to the normal hour of adjournment are suspended.[217] At the end of the time provided on the second day, the Speaker puts every question necessary to dispose of any remaining stages of the bill.[218] On Monday, the extension of up to five additional hours of debate begins at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.[219]

*   Senate Amendments to a Private Member’s Bill

The order for the consideration of Senate amendments to a private Member’s bill is placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence when the message is received from the Senate.[220] The Standing Orders do not specify any time limit for the consideration of a motion respecting Senate amendments. When the item reaches the top of the Order of Precedence, it is considered during Private Members’ Hour and, if not disposed of at the end of the hour, it is placed again at the bottom of the Order of Precedence. This process is repeated until the debate ends and the question can be put on the motion.[221]

*   Notices of Motions (Papers)

Members may give notice of an intention to move a motion that certain papers or documents be compiled or produced and tabled in the House.[222] If the House agrees to the motion, the House thereby orders their production and subsequently a return is made pursuant to that Order. The Standing Order stipulates that such notices of motions shall be listed on the Order Paper under the heading “Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers”. All such motions are worded in the form of either an Order of the House or an Address to the Crown.

The notices can be called only on Wednesdays during Routine Proceedings.[223] The government may request that the notices be allowed to stand on the Order Paper.[224] If called, however, they are to be disposed of forthwith without debate or amendment. If the Member proposing the motion or any Minister of the Crown desires to have a debate on the motion, they may request, without debate, that it be transferred to a heading on the Order Paper under Private Members’ Business entitled “Notices of Motions (Papers)”. The motions will be subject to debate only if selected by the sponsoring Member for inclusion in the Order of Precedence.[225]

Motions for papers may be debated for a total of two hours before the question is put.[226] Unless otherwise disposed of, the item is placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence after the first hour of debate. After the item has worked its way up the Order of Precedence, it is debated for a further 50 minutes. At that time, the Speaker interrupts the proceedings and allows a Minister to speak for a maximum of five minutes even if he or she has already spoken in debate.[227] The mover of the motion is then permitted to speak for an additional five minutes to close the debate before the Speaker puts the question to the House.[228] If the motion carries, it becomes an order to the government to table the documents requested in the motion.[229]

*   Debate on Items of Private Members’ Business

During debate on a votable item of Private Members’ Business (a motion or a bill at second or third reading), the sponsor may speak for 15 minutes, followed by a five minute questions and comments period, while other Members may speak for 10 minutes each.[230] The Member moving the item may speak again for not more than five minutes at the conclusion of the second hour of debate or earlier, if no other Member rises to speak.[231] If there are motions in amendment at the report stage, then during debate on these motions no Member, including the sponsor of the bill and the mover of a motion in amendment, may speak for more than 10 minutes. There is no questions and comments period.[232]

Debate on a non-votable item begins with the mover of the item speaking for up to 15 minutes, without a questions and comments period. For the next 40 minutes, other Members may speak for up to 10 minutes each. After this 40 minutes, or sooner if no other Member rises to speak, the Member moving the motion has the right of reply to conclude the debate by speaking again for a maximum of five minutes.[233]

Although there is no practice of a fixed pattern for the recognition of Members wishing to speak during Private Members’ Business, the Chair seeks to ensure that there is a smooth flow of debate, providing opportunities for all points of view to be expressed.[234] Members speaking during Private Members’ Business require the unanimous consent of the House to share their time with another Member.[235] There is no questions and comments period after each speech.[236]

Amendments to private Members’ motions or to the motion for the second reading of a private Member’s bill may be made only with the consent of the sponsor. Once an amendment is moved, the Speaker will normally ask the sponsor of the item if he or she agrees to allow the amendment before proposing it to the House[237] (of course, the Speaker must also decide if the amendment is procedurally acceptable before proposing it to the House[238]). If the sponsor is not present, the Speaker may ask the mover of the amendment if the sponsor’s consent has been obtained.[239] The consent of the sponsor is not required for motions in amendment to bills at report stage or for amendments to the motion for third reading of a private Member’s bill.

The Standing Orders provide that no dilatory motions (motions aimed at disposing of or delaying the motion or the bill under debate) are allowed during Private Members’ Business.[240]

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[190] Standing Order 96(1). See, for example, Debates, October 29, 2003, pp. 8920‑8; April 29, 2004, pp. 2609‑14; February 18, 2005, pp. 3715‑23; June 14, 2006, pp. 2391-9; April 1, 2008, pp. 4344‑51. On occasion, with the unanimous consent of the House, the order for second reading of a non‑votable public bill was discharged and its subject matter referred to a committee for consideration. See, for example, Journals, June 7, 1994, pp. 541‑2; June 17, 1994, pp. 611‑2; November 30, 1999, p. 255. A non‑votable item of Private Members’ Business has also been designated votable with the unanimous consent of the House. See, for example, Journals, May 11, 1994, p. 453; June 1, 1994, p. 519; October 4, 1996, p. 716, and a decision taken at the end of the time provided for debate.

[191] Standing Order 96(2).

[192] See, for example, Journals, June 18, 1991, pp. 215‑6; September 23, 1991, p. 379. The item will be given a different number when placed on notice or reintroduced.

[193] Standing Order 93. For further information, see “Report Stage and Third Reading”, “Senate Amendments to a Private Member’s Bill” and “Notices of Motions (Papers)” under the section in this chapter entitled “Time Limits on Debate”.

[194] Standing Order 90.

[195] For further information, see Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”.

[196] Standing Order 97.1. Until 1997, there was no time limit on committee consideration of a private Member’s bill. For example, in 1992, a private Member’s bill (Bill C‑203) was allowed to die on the Order Paper when the legislative committee to which it was referred adopted a motion to adjourn sine die its consideration of the bill (Legislative Committee H on Bill C‑203, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 18, 1992, Issue No. 10, p. 3; Debates, February 26, 1992, pp. 7620‑4). On another occasion, Speaker Parent ruled that the decision of a committee not to report a bill back to the House did not constitute a matter of privilege (Debates, September 23, 1996, pp. 4560‑2) and later ruled in order a motion moved by a private Member under Routine Proceedings to have the same bill reported back to the House within a specified time (Debates, November 21, 1996, pp. 6519‑20). In April 1997, and again in November 1998, the Standing Orders were amended to specifically require committees considering a private Member’s public bill to report back to the House within a time limit (Journals, April 9, 1997, pp. 1366‑8; November 30, 1998, pp. 1327‑9). The 60‑sitting day limit also applies when a private Member’s public bill is recommitted to committee following the adoption of an amendment to that effect during debate on the motion for third reading and passage of a bill. See, for example, Bill C‑423, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (treatment of substance abuse), deemed reported by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on May 12, 2008 (Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 13, 2008, p. 47) and recommitted to the Committee on May 16, 2008 (Journals, p. 834, Debates, pp. 5987‑8) (with a reporting date of November 21, 2008).

In practice, most bills are reported back to the House within the 60 or 90 sitting day deadline. In one case, a committee, in order to report the amendments it had made to a bill before the deadline was reached and the bill deemed reported without amendment, reported the bill and also presented a report pursuant to Standing Order 108(1) giving reasons why the committee had not completed clause‑by‑clause consideration of the bill. On October 16, 2007, Bill C‑377, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, was deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development (Journals, pp. 2‑3), with a reporting date of March 5, 2008. On March 5, 2008, the Committee presented its Second Report requesting an extension of consideration (Journals, p. 513) which was concurred in on March 12, 2008 (Journals, p. 586) (thus extending the reporting date to May 7, 2008). On April 29, 2008, the Committee presented its Fifth Report, reporting Bill C‑377 with amendments, and its Sixth Report, providing reasons for not having completed the study of the Bill (Journals, p. 740). In the Sixth Report, the Committee noted that it had adopted certain clauses, but had reached an impasse during consideration of clause 10. The Committee had adopted a motion which deemed the remaining clauses adopted, the Bill as amended adopted, ordered the Chair to report the bill, and ordered the presentation of the Sixth Report describing the circumstances relating to the clause‑by‑clause consideration of the Bill.

[197] In a few cases, the deadline has been reached and bills have been deemed reported back to the House without amendment pursuant to Standing Order 97.1. See, for example, the events surrounding Bill C-297, An Act to amend the Young Offenders Act (Journals, November 2, 1999, p. 156; Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 28, 2000, p. 40); Bill C‑426, An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act (protection of journalistic sources and search warrants) (Journals, November 28, 2007, pp. 225‑6; Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 1, 2008, p. 46). In addition, see the events surrounding Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act, read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on February 5, 2002 (Journals, pp. 1010-1) (with the reporting date of June 4, 2002). On June 3, 2002, the Committee presented its Fourth Report requesting an extension of time to consider the Bill (Journals, p. 1459). On June 6, 2002, the motion to concur in the Report was negatived and the Bill was deemed reported back to the House (Journals, p. 1482; Order Paper and Notice Paper, June 7, 2002, p. 43). See also the events surrounding consideration of Bill C‑250, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda), deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on October 24, 2002 (Journals, pp. 107‑8) (with a reporting date of March 20, 2003). On February 26, 2003, the Committee presented its First Report, requesting an extension of time to consider the Bill (Journals, p. 476). On March 24, 2003, the Report was concurred in (Journals, p. 542) (with the reporting date of May 27, 2003). On May 27, 2003, the Bill was deemed reported back to the House (Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 29, 2003, p. 34).

Some bills have been reported back with the title and clauses deleted. See the Sixteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Industry concerning Bill C‑235, An Act to amend the Competition Act (protection of those who purchase products from vertically integrated suppliers who compete with them at retail), presented to the House on April 16, 1999 (Journals, p. 1728, Debates, p. 13965); the Eighteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights concerning Bill C‑251, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (cumulative sentences), presented to the House on April 19, 1999 (Journals, p. 1733, Debates, p. 14026); the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security concerning Bill C‑279, An Act to amend the DNA Identification Act (establishment of indexes) (also the Ninth Report of the Committee concerning the subject matter of the Bill presented the same day), presented to the House on April 30, 2007 (Journals, pp. 1293‑4, Debates, p. 8861); the Eighteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities concerning Bill C‑284, An Act to amend the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act (Canada access grants), presented to the House on June 13, 2007 (Journals, p. 1519).

[198] Standing Order 97.1. See, for example, the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Finance concerning Bill C‑209, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Public Transportation Costs), presented to the House on March 11, 2002 (Journals, p. 1155); the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Health concerning Bill C‑206, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (warning labels regarding the consumption of alcohol), presented to the House on April 11, 2005 (Journals, p. 601); the Twentieth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts concerning Bill C‑277, An Act to amend the Auditor General Act (audit of accounts), presented to the House on October 5, 2005 (Journals, pp. 1105‑6); the Nineteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Finance concerning Bill C‑273, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deduction for volunteer emergency service), presented to the House on November 21, 2005 (Journals, p. 1297); the Fourteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration concerning Bill C‑283, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, presented to the House on November 21, 2005 (Journals, p. 1297); the Seventeenth Report of the Standing Committee on Health concerning Bill C‑420, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, presented to the House on November 23, 2005 (Journals, p. 1313); the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage concerning Bill C‑327, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act (reduction of violence in television broadcasts), presented to the House on April 9, 2008 (Journals, p. 672); the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Finance concerning Bill C‑305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50 percent of United States social security payments to Canadian residents), presented to the House on May 7, 2008 (Journals, p. 784).

[199] Standing Order 97.1(2)(a) and (b). See, for example, Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 6, 2005, p. iii (notice of motion to concur in the Twentieth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Bill C‑277) in the name of John Williams, Chair of the Committee); November 22, 2005, p. iii (notices of motion to concur in the Nineteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Finance (Bill C‑273) in the name of Massimo Pacetti, Chair of the Committee, and in the Fourteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (Bill C‑283) in the name of Andrew Telegdi, Chair of the Committee); November 24, 2005, p. iii (notice of motion to concur in the Seventeenth Report of the Standing Committee on Health (Bill C‑420) in the name of Bonnie Brown, Chair of the Committee); April 10, 2008, p. iii (notice of motion to concur in the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (Bill C‑327), in the name of Gary Schellenberger, Chair of the Committee); May 8, 2008, p. iii (notice of motion to concur in the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Finance (Bill C‑305), in the name of Rob Merrifield, Chair of the Committee).

[200] Standing Order 97.1(2)(c). See, for example, Debates, October 7, 2005, p. 8562; Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 18, 2005, p. 21; Debates, April 14, 2008, p. 4898; Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 15, 2008, p. 23; Debates, May 30, 2008, pp. 6372‑3; Order Paper and Notice Paper, June 2, 2008, p. 23.

[201] Standing Order 97.1(2)(c). See, for example, Journals, October 18, 2005, pp. 1169‑70, Debates, pp. 8713‑4; Journals, May 13, 2008, p. 815, Debates, pp. 5832‑8.

[202] Standing Order 97.1(2)(f). See, for example, Bill C‑305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50 percent of United States social security payments to Canadian residents). On March 5, 2008, the House agreed to extend consideration of the Bill to May 7, 2008 (Journals, pp. 520-1). On May 7, 2008, the Standing Committee on Finance presented its Seventh Report recommending that the Bill not be proceeded with (Journals, p. 784). On June 17, 2008, the House adopted the motion to concur in the Report (Journals, pp. 1006-7).

[203] Standing Order 97.1(2)(d). See, for example, Debates, October 18, 2005, pp. 8713‑4; May 13, 2008, pp. 5832‑8. On June 17, 2008, the House took up consideration of the motion to concur in the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Finance (recommendation not to proceed with Bill C‑305, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (exemption from taxation of 50 percent of United States social security payments to Canadian residents)). During debate, an amendment was moved that the report “be not now concurred in but that it be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Finance”. After debate, the amendment was adopted, as was the main motion as amended (Journals, pp. 1006-7, Debates, pp. 7092-8).

[204] Standing Order 97.1(2)(e).

[205] Standing Order 97.1(3).

[206] Standing Order 97.1(3). See, for example, Journals, June 13, 2007, pp. 1526‑7; March 5, 2008, pp. 518-21; April 16, 2008, pp. 713‑5; June 12, 2008, pp. 976‑7. In all other cases in the Thirty‑Eighth and Thirty‑Ninth Parliaments, the House agreed by unanimous consent to concur in the reports of committees to extend consideration of bills and no recorded divisions were held.

[207] See, for example, the events surrounding the consideration by the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs of Bill C‑287, An Act respecting a National Peacekeepers’ Day. On November 23, 2006, the Bill was read a second time and referred to committee (with a reporting date of April 30, 2007) (Journals, p. 801). On April 24, 2007, the Committee agreed to report to the House requesting an extension of 30 days to complete consideration of the Bill (Minutes of Proceedings, Meeting No. 36). On April 25, 2007, the Fourth Report of the Committee was presented to the House and, pursuant to the Standing Order, a recorded division was deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, May 2, 2007 (Journals, p. 1260). On May 1, 2007, the Committee took up consideration of the Bill and agreed to report it to the House (Minutes of Proceedings, Meeting No. 38). On May 2, 2007, the House, by unanimous consent, concurred in the Fourth Report of the Committee granting the extension (Journals, p. 1324). On May 3, 2007, the Committee reported the Bill to the House as its Fifth Report (Journals, p. 1331).

[208] See, for example, the events surrounding consideration of Bill C‑250, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda), read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on October 24, 2002 (Journals, pp. 107‑8) (with a reporting date of March 20, 2003). On February 26, 2003, the Committee presented its First Report, requesting an extension of time to consider the Bill (Journals, p. 476). On March 24, 2003, the Report was concurred in (Journals, p. 542) (with the reporting date of May 27, 2003). On May 27, 2003, the Bill was deemed reported back to the House without amendment (Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 29, 2003, p. 34).

[209] Standing Order 98(1). The bill is set down on the Order Paper for consideration at report stage even if the committee reports back the bill with the title and clauses deleted (Debates, April 16, 1999, p. 13965; Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 19, 1999, p. 34; Debates, April 19, 1999, p. 14026; Order Paper and Notice Paper, April 20, 1999, p. 32; Journals, April 30, 2007, pp. 1293‑4, Debates, p. 8861; Order Paper and Notice Paper, May 1, 2007, p. 39; Journals, June 13, 2007, p. 1519; Order Paper and Notice Paper, June 14, 2007, p. 45; Journals, February 28, 2008, p. 484; Order Paper and Notice Paper, February 29, 2008, p. 44).

[210] Standing Order 98(2).

[211] See, for example, Journals, March 1, 2007, p. 1093; March 28, 2007, pp. 1180‑1; February 12, 2008, p. 427. If, however, a recorded division is demanded on the motion for concurrence, then Private Members’ Hour is concluded for that day and, pursuant to Standing Order 98(4)(b), the division is deferred until the next Wednesday sitting immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business. If the motion for concurrence is then adopted, the bill will be placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence with one hour remaining for debate on the bill at third reading. See, for example, Journals, February 15, 2007, p. 1018; February 21, 2007, pp. 1053‑4; March 20, 2007, p. 1119.

[212] See, for example, Journals, June 19, 2007, pp. 1563‑4. If, however, debate on any motions in amendment is concluded and a recorded division is demanded prior to the end of the hour, then Private Members’ Hour is concluded and, pursuant to Standing Order 98(4)(b), any such division is deferred until the next Wednesday sitting immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business. If the motions in amendment and the motion for concurrence are adopted, then the bill will be placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence with one hour remaining for debate on the bill at third reading. See, for example, Journals, February 23, 2007, p. 1067; February 28, 2007, pp. 1086‑8; March 30, 2007, p. 1199. If the motion for concurrence is defeated then the bill is lost and there are no further proceedings on it. See, for example, Journals, March 21, 2007, pp. 1131‑6. Should debate on any motions in amendment to the bill continue for the full hour, debate is adjourned, the bill is placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence and when next taken up, the House resumes debate on the report stage motions. If debate on the report stage motions continues again for the full hour, then at the end of the time provided for Private Members’ Business the Speaker will interrupt the proceedings and put every question to dispose of the bill at the report and third reading stages. Any recorded division demanded will be deferred until the next Wednesday sitting immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business. See, for example, Journals, February 2, 2007, pp. 955‑6; February 9, 2007, p. 989; February 14, 2007, pp. 1007‑11.

[213] On occasion, the House gave unanimous consent, during consideration of a private Member’s bill at report stage, to refer the bill back to a committee for further consideration. See, for example, Journals, March 11, 1993, p. 2623; Debates, March 8, 1999, p. 12523. Bills have also been withdrawn, by unanimous consent, when the order for consideration at report stage was called (see, for example, Debates, August 11, 1988, p. 18223) and when the order for the consideration of Senate amendments was called (see, for example, Debates, September 14, 1987, pp. 8922‑3).

[214] Standing Order 98(3).

[215] Standing Order 98(3)(a).

[216] Standing Order 98(3)(b).

[217] Standing Order 98(5).

[218] Standing Order 98(4)(a).

[219] Standing Order 98(3).

[220] Standing Order 89. For examples of Senate amendments to private Members’ bills considered by the House, see Debates, September 14, 1987, pp. 8922‑3 (bill withdrawn); Journals, March 26, 1991, pp. 2827‑8 (amendments concurred in); Debates, May 27, 1996, p. 2973 (amendments concurred in); Debates, December 12, 1996, pp. 7481, 7495 (amendments concurred in); Journals, April 22, 1997, pp. 1512‑3 and April 25, 1997, pp. 1554‑5 (died on the Order Paper at dissolution); Debates, June 11, 1998, pp. 8077‑8 (amendments concurred in); Debates, November 5, 2003, p. 9196 (amendments concurred in by unanimous consent); Debates, March 26, 2004, pp. 1771‑4 (amendments concurred in); Debates, May 9, 2008, pp. 5692-6 (amendments concurred in).

[221] See, for example, Journals, April 22, 1997, pp. 1512‑3; April 25, 1997, pp. 1554‑5.

[222] For further information, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.

[223] Standing Order 30(6).

[224] Standing Order 42(1).

[225] Standing Order 97(1). Since the current procedures were adopted in 1986, debate has rarely been held on an item of this nature. In 1986, two motions for the production of papers were debated and concurred in (Journals, June 6, 1986, p. 2281; June 16, 1986, p. 2326, Debates, pp. 14479‑80). In 1998, two motions for the production of papers were debated and concurred in (Journals, October 2, 1998, p. 1115; November 2, 1998, p. 1221). In 1999, one motion was debated and negatived (Journals, April 20, 1999, p. 1739). Since the beginning of the Thirty‑Seventh Parliament, only two motions have been taken up for debate. On February 28, 2001, Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers P‑3 (Leon Benoit (Lakeland)) was called and transferred for debate (Journals, p. 148, Debates, p. 1331). On September 24, 2001, the motion was placed in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, September 25, 2001, p. 28). The motion was debated on October 22, 2001 (Journals, p. 735, Debates, pp. 6391‑8) and November 29, 2001 (Journals, pp. 884, 886, Debates, pp. 7689‑93). A recorded division on the motion was deferred until December 4, 2001, when the motion was adopted (Journals, pp. 913‑4). On February 21, 2002, the documents requested were tabled by the government (Journals, p. 1057). On January 29, 2003, Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers P‑15 (Joe Clark (Calgary Centre)) was called and transferred for debate (Journals, p. 338, Debates, p. 2854). On March 25, 2003, the motion was placed in the Order of Precedence (Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 26, 2003, p. 34). The motion was debated on May 16, 2003 (Journals, p. 794, Debates, pp. 6395‑403) and October 2, 2003 (Journals, p. 1085, Debates, pp. 8133‑9). A recorded division on the motion was deferred until October 8, 2003, when the motion was negatived (Journals, pp. 1115‑6).

[226] Standing Order 97(2).

[227] See, for example, Debates, November 29, 2001, p. 7693; October 2, 2003, pp. 8137‑9. Only by unanimous consent may a Parliamentary Secretary speak for a Minister in the closing segment. See, for example, Debates, November 8, 1979, p. 1112; April 1, 1982, pp. 16064‑5.

[228] Debates, November 29, 2001, p. 7693; October 2, 2003, pp. 8138‑9.

[229] Journals, December 4, 2001, pp. 913‑4; February 21, 2002, p. 1057.

[230] Standing Order 95(1). See also Debates, March 31, 2003, p. 4885.

[231] See, for example, the speeches, the questions and comments periods and the right of reply at second and third reading for Bill C‑277, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child) (Ed Fast (Abbotsford)) (Debates, May 31, 2006, pp. 1794‑7; September 29, 2006, pp. 3458‑9; March 28, 2007, pp. 8068‑71); and for Bill C‑292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord (Paul Martin (LaSalle–Émard)) (Debates, June 2, 2006, pp. 1914‑6; October 16, 2006, p. 3784; March 20, 2007, pp. 7693‑5, 7698‑9); the speech, the questions and comments period and the right of reply for Motion M‑172 concerning Autism Spectrum Disorder (Andy Scott (Fredericton)) (Debates, October 27, 2006, pp. 4370‑2; November 27, 2006, pp. 5344‑5); and for Motion M‑153 concerning the trafficking of women and children (Joy Smith (Kildonan–St. Paul)) (Debates, December 8, 2006, pp. 5870‑2; February 22, 2007, pp. 7238‑9).

[232] Standing Order 76.1(7).

[233] Standing Order 95(2). See Debates, October 23, 1997, p. 1071; November 26, 1997, p. 2276; February 13, 1998, p. 3887; March 11, 1998, p. 4737; June 2, 1998, p. 7516; February 28, 2002, p. 9396; October 29, 2003, pp. 8920‑2, 8927‑8; April 29, 2004, pp. 2609‑10, 2614; February 18, 2005, pp. 3715‑7, 3722‑3; June 14, 2006, pp. 2391‑3, 2398‑9.

[234] See, for example, Debates, March 16, 1992, p. 8243; March 18, 1992, p. 8466; November 30, 1992, pp. 14236, 14238; October 18, 1995, p. 15552; October 2, 2001, p. 5895; February 25, 2004, p. 1072.

[235] See Debates, September 19, 1996, p. 4480; March 25, 1998, p. 5356; February 25, 2004, p. 1069; March 10, 2005, p. 4299; June 1, 2005, p. 6514; November 14, 2007, p. 885. See also Debates, November 21, 2007, p. 1187 (where the sponsor of the item under debate (Serge Ménard (Marc‑Aurèle‑Fortin)) sought and received consent to split the time he had available for his five-minute right of reply); February 5, 2008, pp. 2634‑7 (where the sponsor of the item under debate (Ken Dryden (York Centre)) sought and received consent to split the time he had available for his 15-minute speaking time and the five-minute questions and comments period following).

[236] See, for example, Debates, September 28, 1994, p. 6289; October 29, 2003, p. 8922; February 4, 2004, p. 131; May 14, 2004, p. 3212; February 3, 2005, p. 3076; April 6, 2005, p. 4774; September 26, 2005, p. 7983.

[237] Standing Order 93(3). See, for example, Debates, May 1, 2003, p. 5739; October 3, 2003, p. 8174; March 10, 2005, p. 4299; April 15, 2005, p. 5175; November 27, 2006, p. 5338; February 21, 2007, p. 7165; May 10, 2007, pp. 9355‑6; March 4, 2008, p. 3647; May 6, 2008, p. 5531. In one case, an amendment (in effect a completely new motion) was proposed to Motion M-398 by Gurmant Singh Grewal (Surrey Central) and refused by the sponsor, Peter Adams (Peterborough). Later in Private Members’ Hour, by unanimous consent, the new text was substituted and Mr. Grewal was substituted for Mr. Adams as the sponsor. After further debate, the motion was adopted (Journals, February 17, 2004, pp. 92-3, Debates, pp. 712-6). In another instance, the sponsor refused to allow an amendment (Debates, April 20, 2004, p. 2171).

[238] See, for example, the point of order raised on September 29, 2005 (Debates, pp. 8229‑31) concerning an amendment proposed by Pierre Paquette (Joliette) to Motion M‑164 during debate on June 1, 2005 (Journals, p. 822, Debates, p. 6516) which Speaker Milliken ruled out of order (Journals, p. 1064). Later in the September 29, 2005 sitting, during debate on the motion, another amendment was moved and found procedurally in order (Debates, p. 8246). See also the point of order raised on October 20, 2005 (Debates, pp. 8832‑4, 8838) concerning an amendment proposed by Ed Broadbent (Ottawa Centre) to Motion M‑153, and Acting Speaker Marcel Proulx’s ruling that the amendment was in order.

[239] See, for example, Debates, March 31, 2003, pp. 4889‑90. In other cases, the mover of the amendment may indicate that they have the support of the sponsor before moving the amendment. See Debates, March 30, 2004, pp. 1896‑7; June 1, 2005, p. 6516; September 29, 2005, p. 8246.

[240] Standing Order 95(3).

Move Up

 

Any recorded division requested on a votable item of Private Members’ Business, on the motion to concur in the report of a committee that a private Member’s bill not be proceeded with, or in the report of a committee that requests an extension of time for the consideration of a private Member’s bill in committee is deferred to the next Wednesday that the House sits, immediately before Private Members’ Hour.[241] Such a vote may be further deferred by the Chief Government Whip, with the agreement of the Whips of all recognized parties and that of the sponsor of the item.[242]

When a recorded division is taken on an item of Private Members’ Business, the bells ring for a maximum of 15 minutes.[243] If present and voting in favour of the question, be it the main motion, an amendment or a subamendment, the vote of the Member sponsoring the bill or motion is recorded first, followed by the votes of the other Members on the same side of the House, starting with the back row, who are in favour of the bill or motion and then the Members on the other side of the House, starting with the back row, who are in favour of the item. Votes against are recorded in the same order.[244]



[241] Standing Orders 93(1)(b), 97.1(2)(c)(iii), 97.1(3)(a) and 98(4)(b). For further information, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

[242] Standing Order 45(7).

[243] Standing Order 45(3).

[244] See the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on November 26, 1997 (Journals, p. 270), and concurred in on November 4, 1998 (Journals, p. 1238). Prior to the adoption of this Report, votes were taken in the same manner but starting with the front row. See the Twenty‑Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on House Management (Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 11 and 13, 1992, Issue No. 24, p. 17), presented to the House on February 14, 1992 (Journals, p. 1025), and concurred in on April 29, 1992 (Journals, p. 1337). Prior to that, votes were taken by party unless a Member sought and received unanimous consent to have the vote taken row by row. See, for example, video archive of divisions on the amendment and on the main motion as amended taken on Motion M-383 concerning the Old Age Security Program, sponsored by Louise Thibault (Rimouski–Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques), on March 5, 2008. The amendment to the motion was moved by Mario Silva (Davenport). As Ms. Thibault supported the amendment, she was the first to rise when the division was taken and as sponsor of the main motion she was also the first to rise to vote on the main motion. On October 16, 2001, there was some confusion during the recorded division on Bill C-217, An Act to provide for the taking of samples of blood for the benefit of persons administering and enforcing the law and good Samaritans and to amend the Criminal Code (Debates, pp. 6220-2). On October 18, 2001, Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg–Transcona) rose on a point of order claiming that during this vote, called row by row, Members from the government side abstained, and when the vote was over, they rose to say that they had meant to vote a certain way. He argued that those votes should not have been counted. Speaker Milliken agreed that, in most instances, unanimous consent should be sought when Members wish to record their votes outside the usual sequence and stated that Members intending to vote must stand when their row is called (Debates, pp. 6293-4). On occasion, unanimous consent will be given to apply the result of one vote on an item of Private Members’ Business to other votes on Private Members’ Business. See, for example, Journals, March 28, 2007, pp. 1173-7, Debates, pp. 8055-65. See also the point of order raised by Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa–Vanier) concerning applied votes and the ruling of the Acting Speaker (Andrew Scheer), Debates, April 18, 2007, pp. 8398-400. The Speaker does not participate in debate and votes only in cases of an equality of voices; in such an eventuality, the Speaker is responsible for breaking the tie by casting a vote. On June 22, 2005, upon the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion M‑228 (House of Commons Symbol) in the name of Derek Lee (Scarborough–Rouge River), there was an equality of voices. The Deputy Speaker (Chuck Strahl) cast his vote in the negative and the motion was defeated. It later came to light that no tie had occurred. The Speaker made a statement about the result of the vote noting that Mr. Strahl had correctly cast his vote in the negative. However, after the vote, Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères–Les Patriotes) brought an error to the attention of the Table. He pointed out that he was recorded as having voted with the Nays, while in fact he had remained seated and did not vote. Having investigated the matter, the Speaker concluded that Motion M‑228 had been in fact agreed to by a count of 143 Yeas and 142 Nays. He directed the Table to correct the Journals so that the true decision of the House would be duly noted. See Journals, June 22, 2005, pp. 966‑8, Debates, pp. 7645‑6; Journals, June 23, 2005, p. 976, Debates, pp. 7694‑6.

Move Up

 

Prorogation of a session usually brings to an end all proceedings before Parliament. Unfinished business dies on the Order Paper and must be started anew in a subsequent session. However, for the purposes of Private Members’ Business, prorogation has almost no practical effect.[245] The List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, established at the beginning of a Parliament, and the Order of Precedence continue from session to session.[246] Private Members’ bills and motions originating in the House, including motions for papers which have been transferred for debate, need not be reintroduced in a new session as they automatically are deemed to have passed all stages completed in the previous session and retain the same place on the Order Paper. Thus, items placed in the Order of Precedence remain there. Items designated as non-votable maintain that designation.[247] Private Members’ bills are deemed to have been adopted at all stages of the legislative process agreed to in the previous session. Bills read a third time and passed are deemed to have been done so and a new message is sent to the Senate to that effect. If consideration of an item at a certain stage had begun but had not been completed, the item is restored at the beginning of that stage, as if no debate had yet occurred. Bills that were referred to a committee in the previous session are deemed referred back to the same committee. For the purposes of the Standing Orders, the deadline for reporting a private Member’s bill from committee is 60 sitting days following the day it is deemed referred to the committee, usually on the first day of the session.[248] For ease of reference, all bills and motions under Private Members’ Business retain the same number from session to session.

 

Bills and motions that are adopted, defeated, withdrawn or dropped from the Order Paper are no longer before the House and are therefore not carried over following a prorogation. These may, however, be reintroduced (with the exception of bills given Royal Assent). No item can be carried over from one Parliament to the next.

Some private Members’ bills originate in the Senate and are sent to the House after passage by the Senate. As they are the result of proceedings in the other place, these bills cannot automatically be carried over from session to session. However, should the Senate decide to adopt a bill that is identical to one sent to the House in a previous session of the same Parliament, the sponsor of the bill in the House may ask that it be reinstated at the same stage of the legislative process. Such reinstatement can occur only within the first 60 sitting days of the session.[249] If the bill receives first reading later than 60 days into the session, no reinstatement is possible and the bill must continue through the regular legislative process. In addition, only Senate public bills can be reinstated. Private bills, which are subject to a number of other requirements, are not eligible for reinstatement.

The request for reinstatement of a Senate bill is made by the sponsor at the moment of the bill’s first reading. If the Speaker agrees that the bill is in the same form as a previous bill, he or she then announces that the bill is deemed to have passed whatever stages the House had agreed to in the previous session.[250] If consideration of the bill at a certain stage had begun but had not been completed, the item is restored at the beginning of that stage as if no debate had yet occurred. Bills that were referred to a committee in the previous session are deemed referred back to the same committee.



[245] Standing Order 86.1.

[246] Standing Order 87.

[247] See, for example, Motion M‑322 in the name of Stéphane Dion (Saint‑Laurent–Cartierville), designated non-votable on May 10, 2007 during the First Session of the Thirty‑Ninth Parliament and reinstated in the Second Session on October 16, 2007 (Debates, May 10, 2007, pp. 9287‑8; Order Paper and Notice Paper at Prorogation, September 14, 2007, pp. 39, 41; Order Paper and Notice Paper, October 17, 2007, pp. 17‑8).

[248] Standing Order 97.1(1). See, for example, the Speaker’s statements at the opening of the Third Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament (Debates, February 2, 2004, pp. 10-1) and the Second Session of the Thirty‑Ninth Parliament (Debates, October 16, 2007, pp. 2‑3).

[249] Standing Order 86.2(1).

[250] See, for example, Debates, November 30, 2007, p. 1589; December 12, 2007, p. 2095; February 12, 2008, p. 2921.

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The Speaker is responsible for the orderly conduct of Private Members’ Business, ensuring that there is a minimum 24 hours’ notice of items to be considered during Private Members’ Hour, identifying identical or similar items of Private Members’ Business, arranging the exchange of items in the Order of Precedence and rescheduling debate if Private Members’ Hour is delayed for more than 90 minutes.

 

The Clerk of the House is responsible for most of the administrative and procedural duties associated with Private Members’ Business. These include making arrangements for the draw for the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business, establishing and replenishing the Order of Precedence, ensuring that Members and their staff know when their items of business are to be taken up during Private Members’ Hour and providing the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business with procedural advice on Private Members’ Business.

Parliamentary Counsel (Legislation) from the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel assist private Members in drafting bills for introduction in the House and in drafting amendments to government bills and private Members’ bills. Priority in drafting private Members’ bills is accorded to those Members whose names are about to be placed in the Order of Precedence and to those Members who have not previously had a bill drafted by Parliamentary Counsel during that session.[251] Legislative advice usually involves taking into account existing laws, constitutional and formal requirements, and drafting conventions. While Members may draft their own bills or retain outside counsel for that purpose, before these bills are introduced in the House, they are reviewed by Parliamentary Counsel and certified as to their correctness in form.



[251] See the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on November 26, 1997 (Journals, p. 270), and concurred in on November 4, 1998 (Journals, p. 1238).

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