PARLIAMENT of CANADA
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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

 
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A bill is carried forward through all the stages of the legislative process “by a long chain of standardized motions” which must be adopted by the House before the bill becomes law.[129] It is these motions, and not the bill, that are the subject of the debates and decisions of the House. The stages to which the motions correspond “constitute a simple and logical process in which each stage transcends the one immediately before it, so that although the basic motions—that the bill be read a first (second or third) time—appear the same, and seem repetitious, they have very different meanings”.[130] Moreover, the House does not commit itself conclusively to a bill until the final stage, when it takes a decision on whether or not the bill should receive final passage.[131]

The Standing Orders of the House require that every bill receive three readings, on different days, before being passed.[132] The practice of giving every bill three separate readings derives from an ancient parliamentary practice which originated in the United Kingdom.[133] At that time, when the technology was not yet available to reproduce large numbers of copies at low cost, bills were introduced in handwritten form, one copy at a time. In order for Members to discern the content of the bill, the Clerk read it to them; thus, the idea of “reading” the bill was originally taken literally.[134]

Today, while a bill is no longer read aloud, the readings have remained as formalities. When the Speaker declares that the motion for first reading has passed, a clerk at the Table rises and announces “First reading of this bill”, thus signifying that the Order of the House has been obeyed. This scenario is repeated when the House has ordered a second and then a third reading of the bill.

A certification of reading must be affixed to every bill immediately after the motion for each of the three readings is adopted. The Clerk of the House is responsible for certifying each reading, and entering the date of passage at the foot of the bill.[135] A bill remains in the custody of the Clerk throughout the stages of consideration. No substantive alteration to the bill is permitted without the express authority of the House or of a committee, in the form of an amendment. The original bills, certified by the Clerk, form part of the official records of the House.[136]

All bills must pass through the same stages of the legislative process, but they do not necessarily follow exactly the same route. Since the House adopted new rules to make the legislative process more flexible,[137] three avenues have existed for the adoption of legislation (see Figure 16.1):

*       After appropriate notice, a Minister or a private Member may introduce a bill, which is given first reading immediately. The bill is then debated generally at the second reading stage, after which it is sent to a committee for clause‑by‑clause study.

*       A Minister may propose a motion that a committee be instructed to prepare a bill. A bill will be presented by the committee and carried through the second reading stage without debate or amendment.

*       A Minister may move that a bill be referred to a committee for study before second reading.

 

Image depicting three columns, composed of a series of boxes linked by lines, that shows each step in three different options for the legislative process: 1. the process by which a bill is referred to committee before second reading; 2. the process by which a bill is referred to committee after second reading; and 3. the process by which a committee prepares and brings in a bill.

 

Regardless of the avenue taken, the bill will have to be carried through report stage, be read a third time and be sent to the Senate for consideration and passage before receiving Royal Assent.

At the start of a new session, a government bill may, if it is identical to a bill introduced in the preceding session, be reinstated at the stage it had reached at the time of prorogation.[138] This may be accomplished by passing a motion to that effect.[139] Private Members’ bills, on the other hand, are not affected by prorogation and do not, therefore, require reinstatement at the beginning of a new session. A separate procedure is set out for the reinstatement of Senate bills.[140]

On urgent or extraordinary occasions, if the House so decides, a bill may receive two or three readings on the same day, or be advanced two or more stages in one day.[141] This provision of the Standing Orders applies only to the reading stages.[142] It is up to the House itself, and not to the Chair, to determine whether the matter is sufficiently urgent.[143]

The following are the stages that a bill must pass through before becoming law:

*       Notice of motion for leave to introduce and placement on the House of Commons Order Paper;

*       Preparation of a bill by a committee (where applicable);

*       Introduction and first reading;

*       Reference to a committee before second reading (where applicable);

*       Second reading and reference to a committee;

*       Consideration in committee;

*       Report stage;

*       Third reading (and passage);

*       Consideration and passage by the Senate;

*       Passage of Senate amendments by the Commons (where applicable);

*       Royal Assent; and

*       Coming into force.

A bill that is introduced in the Senate must pass through essentially the same stages, except that it is considered first in the Senate and subsequently in the House of Commons.[144] Most bills may be introduced in either House, except for bills which involve spending or relate to taxation, which must be introduced in the House of Commons.

*   Notice of Motion for Leave to Introduce and Placement on the Order Paper

Forty-eight hours’ written notice is required prior to the introduction of any public bill.[145] Once notice has been given for the introduction of a bill, no further notice is required in respect of the bill at the other stages of consideration (with the exception of motions to concur in Senate amendments, and to amend at the report stage). Separate requirements apply in respect of the notice required for private bills.[146]

A private Member or a Minister who intends to introduce a bill in the House of Commons must first give notice to the Clerk of the House before 6:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. on Friday).[147] The title of the bill to be introduced is then placed on the Notice Paper. The day after it appears on the Notice Paper, the title of the bill will appear in the Order Paper in the order in which the notices were received, together with the titles of other bills awaiting introduction in the House. This is understood to satisfy the 48‑hour notice requirement in the Standing Orders. The title of the bill remains on the Order Paper, under the rubric “Order of Business”, until such time as the private Member or Minister decides to introduce the bill.

There are special rules dealing with the introduction of bills that contemplate the expenditure of public funds and of bills based on ways and means motions. These are described in Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

*   Preparation of a Bill by a Committee

The Standing Orders provide that a motion to appoint or to instruct a committee to prepare a bill[148] may be moved by a Minister.[149]

In order to instruct a committee to prepare and bring in a bill, a Minister must give 48 hours’ written notice of the requisite motion.[150] Once the notice period has elapsed, the motion is placed on the Order Paper under Government Orders. When it is called by the government, it may be debated for a maximum of 90 minutes, after which the Speaker will interrupt the debate and put all questions necessary to dispose of the motion.[151]

Once a motion to concur in a report of a committee instructed to prepare and bring in a bill is adopted by the House, it becomes an order to bring in the bill.[152] If, at the time the motion for first reading of the bill is proposed, the mover states that the bill is based on the committee report, the motion for second reading will be moved at a later date, without debate or amendment. Consideration of a government bill at the second reading stage may not begin before the third sitting day after first reading.[153] After second reading, the bill will then be subjected to the other ordinary stages for public legislation.

*   Introduction and First Reading

The first real stage in the legislative process is the introduction and first reading of a bill in the House. The notice period having elapsed, the sponsor of the bill, once ready to do so, notifies the Chair of his or her intention to proceed during Routine Proceedings when the rubric “Introduction of Government Bills” (if the sponsor is a Minister) or “Introduction of Private Members’ Bills” is called. Leave to introduce a bill is granted automatically, and the motion is deemed carried, without debate, amendment or question put.[154] A Minister seldom provides any explanation when requesting leave to introduce a bill, but may do so.[155] On the other hand, a private Member normally provides a brief explanation of the bill he or she is introducing in the House.[156]

First reading allows a bill to be formally brought before the House, printed and distributed to all Members.[157] It is at that point that it is assigned a specific bill number. Passage of the motion for first reading involves no commitment on the part of the House beyond agreement that the bill be made generally available for the information of Parliament and the public.[158] No discussion is permitted at this stage. Once leave to introduce the bill has been granted, the Speaker proposes the following motion to the House: “That this bill be read a first time and be printed”. The motion is deemed carried, without debate, amendment or question put.[159] The Speaker then asks: “When shall the bill be read a second time?”, and answers, “At the next sitting of the House”. The question is in fact a formality which enables the bill to be placed on the Order Paper under the heading Government Orders or Private Members’ Business, as the case may be.[160]

Since Senate bills have already been printed when they are sent to the House of Commons, no request for leave to introduce the bill is required. The motion for first reading is deemed carried without debate, amendment or question put.[161] Senate bills then pass through the same stages as House of Commons bills.

*   Reference to Committee Before Second Reading

Traditionally, adoption of the motion for second reading amounts to approval by the House of the principle of the bill. This effectively limits the scope of any amendments that may be made during committee study and at report stage. In order to provide more flexibility in the legislative process, the House amended its Standing Orders in 1994,[162] instituting a new procedure that allows Ministers to move that a government bill be referred to committee before second reading.[163] This empowers Members to examine the principle of a bill before second reading, and enables them to propose amendments to alter its scope.[164] The procedure also applies to bills based on ways and means motions.[165]

When the Order of the Day is read for second reading of a government bill, a Minister may,[166] after notifying representatives of the opposition parties, propose a motion that the bill be forthwith referred to a committee before second reading. The Standing Orders are silent as to the manner in which the representatives of the opposition parties are to be notified. The current practice is for the Government House Leader to give such notice during the Thursday Statement,[167] although it is not uncommon for a Minister to inform the House of the government’s intention at the time of the introduction and first reading of the bill.[168] The motion to refer forthwith the bill to a committee is not subject to amendment, and debate is limited to five hours. At the end of the five hours, or when no Member rises to speak, the Speaker puts the question.[169] If the motion is adopted, the bill is referred to a standing, special or legislative committee for consideration.

In general, during clause‑by-clause consideration of a bill, the committee follows the same rules and procedures as those that apply to the consideration of bills in committee after second reading.[170] It may hear witnesses and receive briefs. However, the scope of the amendments that may be made to the bill is much wider, given that the committee study is not limited by the principle of the bill, the principle not yet having been approved by the House. At the conclusion of its study, the committee reports the bill to the House, with or without amendment. The report stage of the bill may not commence prior to the third sitting day following the presentation of the report.[171]

After the committee has reported the bill to the House, the next stage essentially fuses report stage and second reading. Members may propose amendments, after giving written notice two sitting days prior to the bill being called.[172] When consideration of report stage is concluded, a motion “That the bill (as amended) be concurred in at report stage (with (a) further amendment(s)) and read a second time” or “That the bill be concurred in at report stage and read a second time” is put and forthwith disposed of by the House, without debate or amendment.[173] Once concurred in at report stage and read a second time, the bill is set down for third reading and passage at the next sitting of the House.

*   Second Reading and Reference to a Committee

Central to the second reading stage is a general debate on the principle[174] of a bill. Although the Standing Orders make no specific reference to this practice, it is deeply rooted in the procedural tradition of the House.[175] Accordingly, debate must focus on the principle of the bill and not on its individual provisions.[176]

Perceptions of the importance of this stage of the legislative process have evolved over the years. Traditionally, it was felt that second reading was the most important stage in the legislative process.[177] In 1968, the Special Committee on Procedure and Organization of the House stated in its report, after examining the stages of the process, that the significance of the second reading stage had been over-emphasized in the past, and that the decisive stage should occur later in a bill’s passage, after it had been reported by a committee.[178] In the Committee’s view, passage of the motion for second reading simply implied that the House had given preliminary consideration to the bill, without any commitment to its final passage, and had authorized its reference to a committee for detailed scrutiny and possible amendment.[179]

Second reading of a bill and reference to a committee are moved in a single motion which specifies the committee (standing, special, legislative) to which the bill is referred.[180] In most cases, this allows the sponsor of the bill to select the committee to which it is to be referred. The Standing Orders require, in certain cases, that a bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole.[181]

Debate on second reading begins when the Minister or Member, as the case may be, rises when the Order of the Day is read for the second reading of the bill and moves “That Bill (number and title) be now read a second time and referred to the (name of committee) Committee”.

The Standing Orders regulate the length of speeches of Members during debate.[182] Only speeches by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition are not subject to time limits. Otherwise, during the initial round of speeches and during the first five hours of debate that follow, Members may speak for no more than 20 minutes, after which, a period not exceeding 10 minutes is made available for questions and comments.[183] If there are no questions or comments, or if the time has not been fully used, another Member may then speak. Questions and comments must be relevant to the Member’s speech.[184]

After the initial round of debate and the five hours of debate that follow, any other Member rising to speak has a maximum of 10 minutes, followed by a 5‑minute period for questions and comments. The Whip of a party may indicate to the Chair at any time during a debate that one or more of the 20‑minute or 10‑minute periods of debate allotted to Members of his or her party will be divided in two.[185] Alternatively, Members may themselves advise the Speaker of their intention to divide their time when they are recognized to speak.[186] By custom, every Member who moves a substantive motion is allowed a reply. In current practice, a Member who proposes a motion for second reading of a bill is also permitted a reply.[187] In the case of government bills, a Parliamentary Secretary may exercise that right on behalf of the Minister only with the unanimous consent of the House.

Amendments to the Motion for Reading

A public bill not referred to a committee before second reading may not be amended before being read a second time and referred to a committee.[188] On the other hand, the motion for second reading of a bill may itself be amended,[189] but only three types of amendments may be moved without notice: a three or six months’ hoist; a reasoned amendment; and a motion for referral of the subject matter to a committee.

*   The Hoist Amendment

The hoist is an amendment that may be moved to a motion for the second reading of a bill. Its effect is to prevent a bill from being “now” read a second time, and to postpone the reading for three or six months.[190] If it is adopted, the bill is deemed withdrawn for the remainder of the current session. If it is defeated, the debate has nonetheless been extended as a result and Members enabled to speak a second time.

The hoist amendment originated in British practice during the eighteenth century as a method of postponing the resumption of consideration of a bill. It was subsequently agreed that the adoption of such an amendment by the House was tantamount to the rejection of the bill, since the length of the postponement was intended to prevent further consideration before the end of the session. Normally, if the session continued beyond the anticipated date, the bill was not placed again on the Order Paper.[191]

Historical events were responsible for the establishment of three or six months as the postponement period. A hundred years ago, sessions rarely lasted longer than six months, and so a six months’ hoist amendment would be proposed at the beginning of a session, and a three months’ hoist in the final weeks of a session. Today, sessions of the House of Commons of Canada are longer, but their length is neither regular nor fixed in advance.

An analysis of hoist amendments moved in the House of Commons since Confederation reveals that the cases in which this procedure has been used fall within two specific periods: 1867 to about 1920, and 1920 until the present day.

The first hoist amendment was moved on November 28, 1867.[192] Prior to 1920, it was the government, not the opposition, that resorted to hoist amendments most often.[193] Because the House had little time for government business during the short-lived sessions of that era, the government sometimes felt obliged to make use of hoist amendments in order to dispose of a great number of private Members’ bills, thereby gaining more time to devote to its own legislation.

Since 1920, the period set aside for government business has expanded to occupy the largest share of the time in the House, and hoist amendments have gradually come to be used almost exclusively by the opposition as a means of prolonging debate. The precedents indicate that hoist amendments were moved to motions for second and third reading during periods of considerable tension between the parties, and that they rarely passed. Indeed, of the scores of occurrences recorded in the Journals, only four succeeded. In each of those four cases, the hoist amendment was moved by the government with the intent of disposing of a private Member’s bill.[194]

A hoist amendment must satisfy a number of requirements if it is to be ruled in order. Since the amendment seeks to neutralize the word “now” in the motion for reading, it must propose the elimination of all of the words following “That” in the motion and replace them with the following proposition: “Bill (number and title) be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day three months (or six months) hence”. A hoist amendment requires no notice and is debatable but may not be amended.[195]

When a hoist amendment is rejected, debate continues on the main motion; however, only one hoist amendment may be moved in respect of a particular reading motion.[196] The adoption of a hoist amendment (whether for three or six months) postpones further consideration of the bill for an indefinite period.[197] For this reason, the bill disappears from the Order Paper and may not be introduced again, even after the period specified in the hoist amendment has elapsed.[198] The bill is thus defeated indirectly and any attempt to place it back on the Order Paper would be ruled contrary to the decision of the House. Attempts to apply the hoist amendment to a resolution[199] or to include it in the text of a reasoned amendment[200] have been ruled out of order by the Chair.[201]

*   The Reasoned Amendment

The reasoned amendment, which may also be moved during debate on a motion for second reading, allows a Member to state the reasons for his or her opposition to second reading of a bill with a relevant proposal replacing the original question.[202] A reasoned amendment is introduced in the form of a motion, and deletes and replaces all of the text of the main motion after the word “That”.

It is believed that the first reasoned amendment was introduced in 1882.[203] An analysis of those that have been proposed since Confederation reveals an initial period, from about 1882 to 1930, in which great latitude was allowed in their wording. Throughout that period, the admissibility of reasoned amendments was rarely contested, and the Chair rarely intervened. In the early 1930s, regular requests began to be made to Speakers to rule as to whether reasoned amendments were in order and a number of precedents were established. By the 1970s, it had become increasingly difficult for Members to move reasoned amendments that were procedurally acceptable[204] thanks to the accumulating body of precedent in this regard.

While the Standing Orders of the House of Commons make no explicit provision for reasoned amendments,[205] rules of procedure respecting the latter have become established over the years by precedent. These rules govern both the form and the substance of such amendments. Today, a reasoned amendment generally takes the form of a proposal that the House decline to give a bill second reading, for a specific reason.[206] The reasons put forward in recent practice fall into two broad categories:

*       The reasoned affirmation of a principle adverse to or differing from the principles, policy or provisions of the bill; or

*       An opinion as to any circumstances connected with the introduction or consideration of the bill, or with any other initiative opposed to its progress.

For a reasoned amendment to be in order, it must observe the following rules:

*       It must be strictly relevant to the bill being considered.[207] A reasoned amendment is irrelevant, for example, if it relates to another bill;[208] is intended to divide the bill;[209] proposes that the bill be withdrawn and replaced by another bill;[210] relates to the parent Act rather than to the amending bill;[211] goes beyond the scope of the bill;[212] or involves the expenditure of funds or proposes changes that exceed the scope of the royal recommendation.[213]

*       It must not be a direct negation of the principle of the bill. The procedure to be followed when a Member does not agree with the principle of a bill and wants to reject it is simply to vote against the motion for second reading of the bill.[214]

*       It must not relate to particulars of the bill[215] if what is sought may be accomplished by amendments in committee.[216]

*       It must not attach a condition to the adoption of the second reading motion.[217]

A reasoned amendment which is merely a statement of opposition to portions of the bill is not admissible.[218] On the other hand, a reasoned amendment need not necessarily oppose the principle of a bill in order to be admissible.[219]

When a reasoned amendment is ruled in order, the House must dispose of it. To date, the House has never decided in favour of a reasoned amendment. Were it to do so, debate on the bill would end, as would debate on the motion for second reading of the bill.[220] The order relating to the bill would then disappear from the Order Paper.

*   Referral of the Subject Matter of a Bill to a Committee

During debate on the motion for second reading, a Member may propose an amendment to withdraw the bill and to refer its subject matter to a committee for the latter to consider and report to the House. This type of amendment replaces all the words after “That” with a proposal that the bill be not now read a second time, that the order for second reading be discharged, the bill withdrawn from the Order Paper and the subject matter referred to a committee.[221]

Certain conditions must be met, however, for this type of amendment to be in order. First, the subject matter of the bill may be referred neither to more than one committee[222] nor to a non-existent body.[223] Second, an amendment that would attach a condition to the adoption of the motion for reading of a bill is out of order.[224] Third, the actual provisions of the bill may not be referred to a committee since this would amount to instructing the committee to consider certain provisions of a bill even before it has been read a second time and referred to a committee.[225]

Unless the amendment specifies a deadline for reporting to the House, the committee to which the subject matter of a bill is referred is free to do so within a time frame of its own choosing.[226]

Motions of Instruction

Once a bill has been referred to a committee, the House may instruct the committee by way of a motion authorizing what would otherwise be beyond its powers, such as, for example, examining a portion of a bill and reporting it separately,[227] examining certain items in particular,[228] dividing a bill into more than one bill,[229] consolidating two or more bills into a single bill,[230] or expanding or narrowing the scope or application of a bill.[231] A committee that so wishes may also seek an instruction from the House.[232]

The House may give instructions to a Committee of the Whole or indeed to any of its committees. More than one motion of instruction may be proposed in relation to the same bill, but each such motion must be moved separately.[233] Motions of instruction respecting bills are permissive rather than mandatory[234] in that it is left to the committee to decide whether or not to exercise the powers given to it by the House.[235]

Motions of instruction derive from British practice during the second half of the nineteenth century. They were carried over into the practice of the Canadian House of Commons, although they have rarely been used. Nearly all of the precedents on instructions relating to bills are drawn from a period when bills were referred to a Committee of the Whole after second reading. During debate on the motion “That the Speaker do now leave the Chair”, a Member could propose a motion of instruction to that committee. Today, when a bill is referred to a Committee of the Whole,[236] the House’s instructions, if any, are typically conveyed by means of a special order.[237]

A motion of instruction is not admissible as an amendment to the motion for second reading of a bill, and may not be moved while the bill in question is still in the possession of the House.[238] Motions of instruction may be moved immediately after the motion for second reading where it refers the bill to a Committee of the Whole.[239] No notice is required and a motion of instruction made at this stage of the legislative process is neither debatable nor amendable.[240]

A motion of instruction may also be moved in the form of an independent motion.[241] Forty‑eight hours’ written notice is required[242] and, when the motion is moved in the House, it may be debated and amended.[243] Debate on a motion of instruction must be strictly relevant to the instruction, and may not be directed to the substance of the bill.[244] A motion of instruction may be moved in the House even after a committee has begun its deliberations on the bill.[245]

A Minister proposing such a motion may choose to have it placed either under Government Business or under “Motions” in Routine Proceedings on the Order Paper. When moved by a private Member, however, such a motion would usually be placed under Private Members’ Business, unless the motion were in connection with a bill presently before a committee. In the latter event, the motion may be placed under “Motions” in Routine Proceedings on the Order Paper.[246] When it is called, a motion of instruction is dealt with as an independent substantive motion, even though it is meaningful only in connection with the bill before the committee. Should debate on the motion be adjourned or interrupted before the end of the sitting, the motion is transferred to Government Orders and the time for resumption of the debate is left to the pleasure of the government.[247]

There are a number of reasons for which the Chair may rule a motion of instruction out of order. A motion of instruction may not be used to deal with an item in a bill that could properly constitute a distinct measure, or to attempt to interfere in the work of a committee which has not yet reported.[248] A motion of instruction which is not in proper form, or which is not worded in such a way that the committee will clearly understand what the House wants, is also out of order.[249] A motion of instruction will be ruled out of order if it does not relate to the content of the bill, if it goes beyond the scope of the bill (for example, by embodying a principle that is foreign to it or by proposing to amend Acts that are not related to it), if it is not sufficiently specific, or if it attempts to delete a portion of the bill.[250] A motion of instruction will also be ruled out of order if it attempts to confer upon a committee powers which it already possesses,[251] if it enables a committee to divide a bill that does not lend itself to such division,[252] or if it extends the financial prerogatives of the Crown without a royal recommendation for that purpose.[253]

Royal Consent

Royal Consent (which should not be confused with Royal Assent or royal recommendation) is derived from British practice, and is among the unwritten rules and customs of the House of Commons of Canada. Any legislation that affects the prerogatives, hereditary revenues, property or interests of the Crown requires Royal Consent, which in Canada originates with the Governor General in his or her capacity as representative of the Sovereign.[254] Consent is necessary when property rights of the Crown are postponed, compromised or abandoned, or for any waiver of a prerogative of the Crown.[255] It was, for example, required for bills in connection with railways on which the Crown had a lien,[256] with property rights of the Crown (in national parks and Indian reserves),[257] with the garnishment, attachment and diversion of pensions[258] and with amendments to the Financial Administration Act.[259]

The consent of the Crown is not required where the bill relates to property held by the Crown for its subjects.[260] The consent of the Crown does not, however, signify approval of the substance of the measure; it means only that the Crown agrees to remove an obstacle to the progress of the bill so that the latter may be considered by both Houses, and ultimately submitted for Royal Assent.[261]

Although Royal Consent is often signified when a bill is read for the second time,[262] this may take place at any stage prior to final adoption by the House.[263] It may take the form of a special message,[264] but it is normally transmitted by a Minister[265] who rises in the House and states: “His/Her Excellency the Governor General has been informed of the purport of this bill and has given his/her consent, as far as Her Majesty’s prerogatives are affected, to the consideration by Parliament of the bill, that Parliament may do therein as it thinks fit”. If consent is not given in advance, the Speaker will refuse to put the question for passage at third reading.[266] If, through inadvertence, a bill requiring Royal Consent were to pass all its stages in the House without receiving consent, it would be necessary to declare the proceedings in relation to the bill null and void.[267]

*   Consideration in Committee

During consideration in committee, Members examine the clauses of a bill in detail. It is at this stage that they have their first opportunity to propose amendments to its text. It is also at this stage that witnesses may be invited to present their views and to answer Members’ questions. A bill is referred to a standing, special or legislative committee for consideration,[268] normally after second reading in the House, but sometimes before second reading.[269] While any bill based on a supply motion must be referred to a Committee of the Whole,[270] any bill may be referred to a Committee of the Whole by unanimous consent,[271] typically after having passed through more than one stage of the legislative process in a single sitting.[272] The House may also adopt a special order to refer a bill to a Committee of the Whole.[273]

Mandate of the Committee

When a bill is referred to a committee, the order of reference is understood exclusively as a mandate to examine the bill and to report it to the House, with or without amendment.[274] If the bill has already received second reading, the committee is bound by the decision of the House and may not amend it contrary to its principle.[275] This is not the case when the committee considers a bill that has not yet been read the second time.[276]

During consideration of a bill, a committee may receive clarification from the House of its order of reference. Such “instructions” from the House may extend the committee’s mandate by giving it additional powers.[277]

A committee may be asked by the House to reconsider a bill which it has already reported. This reference is normally proposed in the form of an amendment to the motion for third reading of the bill. The House may refer a bill back to a committee to have only certain clauses amended or reviewed; it may refer the bill several times, and it may refer it with or without any limitation. In the latter case, the whole bill is open to reconsideration. When a bill is referred with limitations, the committee can consider only the clauses or amendments referred to it.[278]

Role of a Committee on a Bill

The role of the committee is to consider a bill clause-by-clause and, if necessary, word by word, and to approve the text or to modify it.[279]

The committee has the power to modify the provisions of a bill to the extent that when it is reported to the House it may be completely different in substance from the bill referred to the committee.[280] For example, the committee may negative a clause or clauses of a bill (even to the extent that nothing is left of the text of the bill) and report the bill to the House with amendments; the committee may also negative all the clauses of a bill and substitute new clauses, as long as the new clauses respect the rules of admissibility.[281]

Length of Speeches

Every member of a committee may speak as often and as long as he or she wishes, subject only to the provisions of any relevant motions previously adopted by the committee.[282] Frequently, a committee will pass motions governing its proceedings, such as motions limiting the length of speeches, establishing a rotation of speakers (usually according to political parties) and imposing time limits for the proposal of certain types of motions or amendments.[283] The length of speeches may, furthermore, be subject to limitations imposed by an order of the House.[284]

A committee itself may also limit the time it devotes to consideration of a bill by adopting a motion to that effect. Such a motion may be debated and amended. A committee may also adopt the equivalent of a time allocation motion, allotting time for the examination of each clause,[285] or terminating consideration of a bill at a particular time or date.[286] Motions have also been adopted suspending consideration of particular bills until certain conditions have been met.[287]

Hearing of Witnesses

A committee to which a bill is referred usually chooses to hold public hearings.[288] Its steering committee (referred to as the subcommittee on agenda and procedure), or the whole committee, if no steering committee has been established, may discuss a timetable for meetings and compile a list of witnesses whom the members wish to invite to appear. A steering committee will usually present its recommendations to the whole committee in the form of a report. The committee may then adopt the report with or without amendments. It may also elect to call upon the services of the research officers of the Library of Parliament,[289] or to retain any other specialist it deems necessary to assist it in its work.[290]

Before proceeding with clause-by-clause examination of the bill, the Chair of the committee calls Clause 1 for debate (or Clause 2, if Clause 1 contains the short title[291]) to permit general discussion of the bill and questioning of witnesses, if any are appearing. Ordinarily the first witness to appear before the committee is either the sponsor of the bill, the Minister responsible for it or the Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary. Other witnesses may then be invited to express their views on the bill. Such witnesses may include individuals, experts or representatives of organizations potentially affected by the legislative measure. At this stage, discussion is wide-ranging, and relates both to the general principle and to the details of the bill. Later, upon commencement of clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, the Minister responsible, or the Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, may again address the committee.[292] Departmental officials will also make themselves available during this phase, to provide explanations of complex or technical aspects of the legislative proposal.[293]

On occasion, committees have considered two bills at a single meeting in order to question a Minister and witnesses on both bills at the same time.[294] The bills in question had points in common that made it practical to consider them simultaneously. Notwithstanding these similarities, the bills were examined separately at the clause‑by‑clause stage.[295] A committee has also simultaneously considered a bill referred to it and the subject matter of another bill.[296]

Clause-by-Clause Consideration

Once the witnesses have been heard, the committee proceeds to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. It is during this phase of the committee’s deliberations that members may propose amendments to the bill.

*   Order in Which the Elements of the Bill Are Examined

Unless the committee decides otherwise, clause-by-clause consideration is ordered as follows:

*       Clauses;

*       Clauses allowed to stand (if any);

*       Schedules;

*       Clause 1 (short title);

*       Preamble (if any); and

*       Title.

The elements of a bill must be considered in a prescribed order: consideration of the preamble (if the bill has one) is postponed until after the clause-by-clause examination;[297] consideration of Clause 1, if that clause contains only the short title, is also postponed; the other clauses and the schedules are considered in the order in which they appear in the printed version of the bill.[298] The new clauses and new schedules are considered in the order in which they would appear in the bill. While some authorities on parliamentary procedure recommend a different order for examining new clauses and schedules,[299] committees have generally preferred the practice of proceeding with new clauses and new schedules in the same manner as with proposed amendments to clauses, that is, in the order in which they would appear in the bill. Indeed, this approach has been used to such an extent that it is now solidly entrenched in the practice of the House of Commons.[300] Once all the provisions have been decided, the committee considers Clause 1 (if it was postponed), the preamble and, finally, the title.[301]

*   Consideration of the Clauses

Each clause of the bill is a distinct question requiring separate consideration. The committee Chair calls each clause successively by number and, after discussion, puts the question on the clause if no amendment is proposed. If an amendment is proposed, the Chair recognizes the mover, who reads the amendment. A new question is then placed under consideration and there is a new debate. When debate has concluded, the Chair first puts the question on the amendment to the clause and then on the clause itself (as amended, if applicable). Once the clause is carried, it may not be discussed further without unanimous consent.[302]

The committee may adopt a motion to divide a clause in order to debate its parts separately or to put the question on the parts separately.[303]

*   Clauses Allowed to Stand

The committee may, by motion, decide to stand a clause, provided that the committee has not already adopted or negatived an amendment to the clause in question.[304] If, however, an amendment has been proposed and withdrawn, the clause may be stood. In practice, committees often decide, by unanimous consent, to postpone examination of a clause even if an amendment to the clause has been proposed. A committee may also stand part of a bill, or a group of consecutive clauses en bloc. However, a motion to stand part of a clause, or to postpone consideration of the only effective clause of a bill until the subordinate clauses have been considered, is out of order.[305]

Debate on a motion to postpone consideration of a clause is limited to the issue of postponement, and may not touch upon the merits of the bill or of the clause in question. Unless provision to the contrary is made in the motion, clauses which were allowed to stand are considered after all the other clauses of the bill have been disposed of.[306]

*   Amendments

Proposed during debate on a clause, an amendment attempts to modify the text of the clause under consideration so that it will be more acceptable, or to propose an alternate text to the committee. An amendment must be relevant to the clause it is proposed to amend,[307] and may therefore relate only to a single clause of the bill.[308] This said, the Chair, for practical reasons, may permit debate to range over several other amendments which are interconnected or which raise different aspects of the amendment under consideration.[309] The purpose of a subamendment is to alter or clarify an amendment. A subamendment must relate to the amendment; it may not increase the scope of the amendment by bringing up a matter that is foreign to it.[310] A committee may consider only two amendments at a time, that is, an amendment to a clause and a subamendment to the amendment. Once an amendment has been proposed, it may be withdrawn only at the request of the mover and with the unanimous consent of the members of the committee.[311]

Only a member of the committee, or his or her designated substitute,[312] may move an amendment or vote on an amendment.[313] The Chair of the committee, like the Speaker of the House, may neither move motions nor vote, except in the event of an equality of voices.[314] It is generally acknowledged that in the case of an equality of voices, a Chair should vote in such a way as to permit further discussion of the question. A Chair is not required to state reasons for his or her casting vote, or to explain it.[315] This practice does not apply when a private bill is before a committee; in this event, the Chair may vote on any matter concerning the bill and is entitled to a second (casting) vote if there is an equality of voices.[316]

Legislative drafting services are available to committee members who wish to move amendments to a bill. When Members choose to avail themselves of these services, it is understood that all communications between them, the staff of the office of the Legislative Counsel and any other House of Commons staff in connection with the proposed amendments are to be treated as strictly confidential. Each amendment must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the committee, and may be moved in either official language. In contrast to the rules that apply to motions presented to the House, no seconder is required.[317]

Although there is no formal notice requirement for amendments, the normal practice is for movers to communicate with the Chair and clerk of the committee in order to arrange for the translation, compilation and circulation of the amendments to all members of the committee.[318] If the Chair has advance notice, he or she will then be able to ensure that a proposed amendment is considered at the appropriate point during consideration of the bill. To ensure that clause-by-clause consideration proceeds in an orderly manner, a committee may consider a motion imposing a deadline for the acceptance of proposed amendments.[319]

*   Order in Which Amendments Are Considered

Three types of amendments may be moved during consideration of a clause of a bill:[320]

*       an amendment to leave out certain words in order to insert or add others;

*       an amendment to leave out a word or words; and

*       an amendment to insert or add other words, or to add new clauses or schedules to the bill.

The committee Chair calls the proposed amendments in the order in which they would appear in the bill except when several amendments are moved to the same clause. In the latter case, an amendment to leave out words and insert other words takes precedence over an amendment to leave out words. The Chair may rule that an amendment is not moved in the right place, or that it should be moved as a new clause.[321]

Amendments should be proposed following the order of the text to be amended. If part of a clause has already been amended by the committee, a member may not move an amendment to an earlier part of the clause.[322]

*   Admissibility of Amendments

Amendments and subamendments that are moved by Members in committee must comply with certain rules of admissibility. It is incumbent upon the Chair to decide upon the admissibility of amendments once they have been moved; the Chair does not rule on hypothetical motions. He or she relies on the procedural rules that have been established as precedents over the years and upon the authorities on parliamentary procedure and practice.

In contrast to practice in the House, where there is no appeal from the Speaker’s decisions,[323] the decision of a committee Chair may be appealed to the committee by motion.[324] However, neither the decision of the Chair nor the motion to appeal may be debated. The Chair’s decision may be reversed only by a majority vote. Consequently, if a motion asking that the Chair’s decision be upheld results in a tie, the decision is upheld.[325]

If, during debate, the Chair determines that an amendment that was moved (but on which no decision has yet been made) is out of order, the Chair so informs the committee and halts consideration of the motion by the committee.[326]

Rules

The rules concerning the admissibility of amendments are essentially the same for a bill referred to a committee before or after second reading, or for a bill being considered at report stage.[327] However, the rules respecting the principle or scope of a bill do not apply to a bill referred to a committee before second reading, since the principle of the bill has not yet been adopted by the House.

The rules governing the admissibility of amendments to the clauses of a bill may be grouped according to the following characteristics and elements:

Principle and Scope: An amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.[328] (This rule does not apply to a bill referred to a committee before second reading, since the principle of the bill has not yet been agreed to by the House.) Similarly, an amendment which is equivalent to a simple negation of the bill or which reverses the principle of the bill as agreed to at second reading[329] is out of order.

Relevance: An amendment to a bill must be relevant in that it must always relate to the subject matter of the bill or to the clause thereof under consideration. In the case of a bill referred to a committee after second reading, an amendment is inadmissible if it proposes to amend a statute that is not before the committee[330] or a section of the parent Act, unless the latter is specifically amended by a clause of the bill.[331] Conversely, an amendment of that nature would be admissible in the case of a bill referred to a committee before second reading, as long as the amendment was relevant. In that case, the principle and scope of the bill would not yet have been defined, making a broader examination possible.

Consistency: The committee’s decisions concerning a bill must be consistent with earlier decisions made by the committee. An amendment is accordingly out of order if it is contrary to or inconsistent with provisions of the bill that the committee has already agreed to, if it is inconsistent with a decision that the committee has made regarding a former amendment,[332] or if it is governed by[333] or dependent on[334] amendments which have already been negatived.

Financial Initiative of the Crown: Since an amendment may not infringe upon the financial initiative of the Crown, it is inadmissible if it imposes a charge on the public treasury,[335] or if it extends the objects or purposes or relaxes the conditions and qualifications specified in the royal recommendation.[336] An amendment is also inadmissible if it exceeds the scope of the ways and means motion on which a bill is based, or if it imposes a new charge on the people[337] that is not preceded by the adoption of a ways and means motion or not covered by the terms of a ways and means motion already adopted.[338]

Form: An amendment that attempts to delete an entire clause is out of order, since voting against the adoption of the clause in question would have the same effect.[339] An amendment is also out of order if it is moved at the wrong place in the bill, if it is tendered in a spirit of mockery, or if it is vague or trifling.[340] Moreover, an amendment is out of order if it refers to, or is not intelligible without, subsequent amendments or schedules of which notice has not been given, or if it is otherwise incomplete.[341] Lastly, an amendment which would render a clause unintelligible or ungrammatical is also out of order.[342]

Interpretation Clause: The interpretation clause of a bill is not the place to propose a substantive amendment to a bill.[343] In addition, an amendment to the interpretation clause of a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading must always relate to the bill and may neither exceed the scope of nor be contrary to the principle of the bill. This rule does not apply to a bill that has been referred to a committee before second reading.[344]

Marginal Notes and Headings: It has long been held that because the marginal notes attached to each of the clauses of a bill are not part of the text, they cannot be amended, nor can the headings of the various parts of a bill.[345] In recent years, however, committees have on occasion amended headings without objection, and relevant jurisprudence has caused some authorities on the legislative process to take a more permissive view in this regard.[346]

Coming into Force Clause: An amendment intended to alter the coming into force clause of a bill, making it conditional, is out of order[347] since it exceeds the scope of the bill and attempts to introduce a new question into it.

Schedules: An amendment may generally be moved to a schedule, and it is also possible to propose new schedules[348] except in the case of a bill giving effect to an agreement (a treaty or convention) that is within the prerogatives of the Crown. If the schedule to such a bill contains the Agreement itself, the schedule may not be amended. Notwithstanding this, amendments may be proposed to the clauses of the bill, as long as they do not affect the wording of the Agreement in the schedule, even if the consequence of the amendments is to withhold legislative effect from all or part of the Agreement.[349]

Preamble: In the case of a bill that has been referred to a committee after second reading, a substantive amendment to the preamble is admissible only if it is rendered necessary by amendments made to the bill.[350] In addition, an amendment to the preamble is in order when its purpose is to clarify it or to ensure the uniformity of the English and French versions.[351] If the bill is without a preamble, the committee may not introduce one.[352] In the case of a bill that has been referred to a committee before second reading, if there is not already a preamble, one may be proposed as long as it is relevant to the bill; in addition, substantive amendments to an existing preamble are admissible.[353]

The Enacting Formula: The enacting formula is not subject to the approval of the committee or the House and therefore may neither be debated nor amended.[354]

The Title: Amendment to the long title is sometimes possible once consideration of the bill is concluded.[355] The title may be amended only if the bill has been so altered as to necessitate such an amendment.[356] Any change made to the title by a committee becomes effective when the bill, as amended, is adopted by the House at report stage.[357]

Consequential Amendments: When an amendment is ruled inadmissible, the ruling applies as well to any other amendments consequential to it.[358]

*   Putting the Question on Amendments

When an amendment and a subamendment have been moved in committee, the Chair of the committee puts the question first on the subamendment. If it is negatived, the question is then put on the amendment; if the subamendment is carried, the question is put on the amendment, as amended. Sometimes, by unanimous consent, the committee may arrange a group of amendments to be disposed of as if each amendment had been moved and voted on separately.[359]

Adoption of the Bill

Once the committee has concluded its clause-by-clause consideration, the bill in its entirety, with or without amendments, is submitted for the approval of the committee. While the normal practice is for the committee to agree at this point to the question “Shall the bill carry?”, opposition to the bill is normally expressed either by voting against all the clauses of the bill before adoption, or by adopting a motion that the bill not be further proceeded with (see section in this chapter entitled “Abandonment of a Bill”).

*   Leave to Report to the House

After the bill is adopted, the Chair asks the committee for leave to report the bill to the House. The standard formula is as follows: “Shall I report the bill (as amended) to the House?” If the committee agrees, the Chair reports the bill to the House as soon as possible, unless the committee declines to report the bill immediately, in which case, it must do so later.

*   Reprinting of the Bill

If the number of amendments adopted necessitates it, the committee generally orders that the bill be reprinted for the use of the Members who will have to consult it at report stage.[360]

Report to the House

The committee is bound by its order of reference—the bill—and may only report the bill with or without amendment to the House.[361] Consequently, the committee may not include substantive recommendations in its report.[362] On several occasions, the Speaker has ruled reports containing recommendations[363] or motions to concur in reports containing recommendations out of order.[364] In 1973, Speaker Lamoureux ruled that “… there is no authority to support the contention that a committee of the House when considering a bill should report anything to the House except the bill itself”.[365]

On the other hand, after a bill has been reported, there is nothing to prevent a standing committee, under its permanent mandate in the Standing Orders, from presenting another report in which it sets out substantive recommendations with respect to the subject matter of the bill.[366]

*   Obligation to Report

Every committee is bound to report to the House every bill referred to it, together with any amendments which have been made to the bill,[367] and every bill reported from any committee, whether amended or not, must be received by the House.[368] However, no committee has the authority to submit two reports to the House on one bill, as the effect of this would be to divide the bill.[369] A committee may negative all of the clauses, the title, and even reject the bill. It then reports the bill with amendments, even though only the bill’s number may be left.[370]

Unless an order of the House[371] or a provision of the Standing Orders[372] imposes a deadline by which a committee must report a bill to the House, it is up to the committee to decide when it reports the bill.[373] The House retains the right to modify the terms of the committal of a bill to a committee. If a Minister or a Member believes that a committee to which a bill has been referred is defying the authority of the House by refusing to consider the bill or to report it to the House, he or she may choose to bring this fact to the attention of the House and to propose a time limit for consideration of the bill in committee. This may be done by placing on notice a motion to require the committee to report by a certain date. The notice may, as appropriate, be placed under Government Orders or Private Members’ Business.[374]

Private Member’s Public Bill

A committee to which a private Member’s public bill has been referred must, within 60 sitting days of the date of the bill’s reference to the committee, either report the bill to the House with or without amendment, or present a report containing a recommendation not to proceed further with the bill[375] or requesting a single extension of 30 sitting days, giving the reasons therefore.[376] If no bill or report is presented by the end of the 60 sitting days, or the 30 sitting day extension if approved by the House, the bill is deemed to have been reported without amendment.[377]

Abandonment of a Bill

On a number of occasions, a committee has presented a report to the House either recommending that a bill be withdrawn[378] or informing the House that the committee has agreed that the bill not be further proceeded with.[379] As well, a committee will occasionally decide not to proceed with consideration of a bill, without reporting it to the House.[380]

In such circumstances, the final decision as to the fate of a bill lies with the House as a whole, and not solely with the committee, whose function is to discharge its mandate from the House and to report the bill. The House alone has the power to refuse the passage of a bill or to order its withdrawal.[381] While reminding the House that the Chair does not become involved in the conduct of business within a committee, Speaker Fraser pointed out that there is nothing to prevent any Member or Minister from placing on notice a motion to have the House exercise its authority by ordering the committee to resume its consideration of the bill and report it to the House.[382]

*   Report Containing Inadmissible Amendments

Since a committee may appeal the decision of its Chair[383] and reverse that decision, it may happen that a committee will report a bill with amendments that were initially ruled out of order by the Chair. The admissibility of those amendments, and of any other amendments made by a committee, may therefore be challenged on procedural grounds when the House resumes its consideration of the bill at report stage.[384] The admissibility of the amendments is then determined by the Speaker of the House, whether in response to a point of order[385] or on his or her own initiative.[386]

In a 1992 decision, Speaker Fraser ruled: 

When a bill is referred to a standing or legislative committee of the House, that committee is only empowered to adopt, amend or negative the clauses found in that piece of legislation and to report the bill to the House with or without amendments. The committee is restricted in its examination in a number of ways. It cannot infringe on the financial initiative of the Crown, it cannot go beyond the scope of the bill as passed at second reading, and it cannot reach back to the parent act to make further amendments not contemplated in the bill no matter how tempting this may be.[387]

*   Presentation of Report

The report of a committee which has completed its examination of a bill is presented to the House by the Chair of the committee,[388] during Routine Proceedings, when the rubric “Presenting Reports from Committees”[389] is called. No debate is permitted at that point.

*   Report Stage

Once a bill has been examined in committee, it is considered again by the whole House. At this stage, called “report stage”, Members may, after giving written notice, propose amendments to the text of the bill as it was reported by the committee. Those motions are then debated.

Historical Perspective

At Confederation, the Standing Orders of the House set out the procedure to be followed for the consideration of bills in committee and the presentation of reports to the House. Although bills could be referred to a standing or special committee, they had nonetheless to be considered in a Committee of the Whole.[390] The amendments adopted in committee had to be communicated to the House, which received them immediately. In addition, the Standing Orders provided that if bills were reported with amendments by a Committee of the Whole, these could be debated and amended before the House ordered third reading. If bills were not amended during consideration in a Committee of the Whole, consideration at third reading would proceed forthwith or at a time to be set by the House.

Over the years, it was observed that amendments were being proposed only in committee, and that when they were presented to the House, a motion to concur in the amendments was made and the question on the motion called immediately.[391] In 1955, the House amended its Standing Orders to reflect this practice. It was agreed that amendments had to be presented to the House and that the motion for concurrence in the amendments had to be disposed of forthwith before the bill was ordered for debate at third reading at the next sitting of the House.[392] The effect of these amendments to the Standing Orders was to eliminate what then constituted the equivalent of report stage. In 1968, the House undertook a thorough revision of its legislative process with the result that all bills, except for those based on supply or ways and means motions, were thenceforth to be referred to standing or special committees, and would not be reconsidered by a Committee of the Whole House. In addition, the House restored report stage and empowered the Speaker to select and group amendments. It also adopted provisions relating to notice of amendments and the length of speeches at this stage of the legislative process.[393]

In recommending that report stage be restored, the 1968 Special Committee on Procedure believed that stage to be essential in order to provide all Members of the House, and not merely members of the committee, with an opportunity to express their views on bills under consideration and to propose amendments, where appropriate. For all that, the intent of the Committee was not for this stage to become a repetition of committee stage. Unlike committee stage during which the bill is considered clause‑by‑clause, there was not to be any debate at report stage unless notices of amendment had been given, and then debate would have to be strictly relevant to those proposed amendments.

The provisions of the Standing Orders relating to report stage have been amended on a number of occasions since 1968. In 1986, the House made changes in respect of the length of speeches,[394] clarified the purpose of report stage and added a “note” setting out guidelines for the Speaker in selecting and grouping amendments.[395] In 1994, further changes were made respecting the procedure allowing a Minister to propose that a government bill be referred to committee before second reading.[396]

Most recently, in 2001, an additional paragraph was added to the above-mentioned “note”. This occurred in response to the flooding of the Notice Paper with hundreds of amendments in respect of certain controversial bills.[397] The new text emphasized that the Speaker will not select motions which are “repetitive, frivolous, vexatious or serve only to prolong debate unnecessarily”.[398]

Drafting of Motions in Amendment at Report Stage

Members frequently obtain drafting advice and assistance from the office of the Legislative Counsel. While there is general agreement that the communications necessary to this process should be treated as confidential, questions of privilege asserting this principle[399] led to the adoption, in March 2000, of a motion referring the issue to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The Committee recommended “That the process for drafting Members’ amendments to bills, and Private Members’ Bills and Motions, including the confidentiality accorded thereto and the people with whom information is shared, be clearly outlined in practice guidelines” but the report was not concurred in. Nonetheless, existing administrative practices were modified to reinforce the confidentiality of the drafting process.[400]

Notice of Amendment

In order that a motion to amend a bill[401] may be considered at report stage, notice must be given in writing[402] at least one sitting day prior to the commencement of report stage, if the bill was referred to committee after second reading,[403] and two sitting days before, if the bill was referred to committee before second reading.[404] Notice must be received by the Clerk of the House before 6:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and before 2:00 p.m. on Friday, to appear on the Notice Paper for the next sitting day.[405] During an adjournment period, the deadline for giving notice is 6:00 p.m. on the Thursday before the House resumes sitting.[406] No notice may be given on the day on which consideration of report stage of a bill commences, or on the days following.[407]

Amendment as to Form Only

The Standing Orders provide one exception to the above notice requirements. A Minister may propose an amendment without notice, if the amendment is in relation only to the form of a government bill.[408] In that case, debate must relate solely to the amendment. The purpose of this rule is to facilitate the incorporation into a bill of amendments consequential to other amendments adopted by the committee. It is then up to the Chair to determine whether each such amendment flows necessarily from the acceptance of another amendment, or whether it would change the intent of the bill.

Notice of Royal Recommendation

In the case of an amendment containing financial implications which requires a royal recommendation,[409] the Standing Orders require that notice of the Royal Recommendation be given no later than the sitting day before report stage is to commence. The notice must be printed on the Notice Paper along with the text of the amendment to which it pertains.[410]

Admissibility of Motions in Amendment

It is up to the Speaker to decide what amendments will be considered at report stage. The Speaker rules not on whether the purport of the amendment or its substance is worthy of debate, but rather on whether the amendment is procedurally acceptable within the framework of the rules established for the admissibility of amendments presented at report stage.[411]

At report stage, a bill is examined as a whole and not clause-by-clause as is the case at committee stage. Generally, the rules relating to the admissibility of amendments presented at committee stage also apply to motions in amendment at report stage.[412] However, certain rules apply only to report stage. For instance, since 1968 when the rules relating to report stage came into force, a motion in amendment to delete a clause from a bill has always been considered by the Chair to be in order, even if such a motion would alter or go against the principle of the bill as approved at second reading;[413] and a motion to amend a number of clauses of a bill has been considered out of order.[414]

At report stage, the Speaker has ruled out of order a motion in amendment that infringed upon the financial initiative of the Crown;[415] that proposed to alter an agreement that was within the prerogatives of the Crown;[416] that proposed to amend a statute or a section of a statute not amended by the bill[417]; and that proposed to alter the long title of a bill, when no substantial changes had been made to the bill that would have necessitated a change in the title.[418]

The Chair has also ruled out of order motions in amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading, although the same motions in amendment would have been admissible had the bill been referred to a committee before second reading. For example, the Speaker has ruled out of order a motion in amendment that exceeded the scope of the bill or the clause in question;[419] that was contrary to the principle of the bill as adopted at second reading;[420] that proposed to change the interpretation clause by making a substantive amendment which exceeded the scope of the bill;[421] that would amend a statute not contemplated by the bill;[422] that would amend, not a clause of the bill amending the parent Act, but a section of the parent Act itself;[423] and that was equivalent to a complete negation of the bill.[424]

The Chair has also ruled that because report stage is not a reading stage, motions in amendment cannot be moved in the form of reasoned amendments, since the latter can only be moved on second and third reading of a bill.[425]

Since motions in amendment at report stage are open to debate, they fall into the category of substantive motions that are subject to amendment and subamendment.[426] An amendment to a report stage motion must be strictly relevant to that motion[427] and the debate thereon is limited to the amendment itself. An amendment with the same objective as a motion already at report stage has been ruled out of order, because it was in reality a new substantive motion for which notice should have been given before the commencement of report stage.[428]

Power of the Speaker to Select Amendments

In 1968, fearing that Members would take advantage of report stage to move similar amendments which were insubstantial or dilatory in nature,[429] the Special Committee on Procedure recommended in its report that a rule be adopted to empower the Speaker “to select and combine the amendments of which notice had been given”.[430] Such a rule was thereupon adopted.[431]

In 1985, the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (McGrath Committee) deplored the fact that “[a]lthough successive Speakers since 1968 have used the power under the Standing Order to combine amendments, they have never used the power to select”.[432] The Committee pointedly recommended that the Speaker exercise the power to select motions in amendment at report stage. In 1986, the House decided to add a “note” to that effect to the relevant Standing Order.[433] Speakers were thereby encouraged to exercise their power to select amendments, particularly after the addition to the note, in 2001, of an additional paragraph emphasizing the breadth of the Speaker’s discretion in this regard.[434]

Under the Standing Order, the Speaker has the power to select or group motions in amendment to be proposed at report stage.[435] The process of selecting and grouping motions in amendment has been refined since the 1970s. In the early years of the new rule, Speaker Lamoureux regularly consulted the House before making a final decision as to the admissibility and grouping of amendments.[436] Over the years, however, Speakers came to consult the House only when they were experiencing difficulties as to whether an amendment was in order. As Speaker Fraser explained in a ruling, the Chair followed a review process whereby motions in amendment were the subject of very extensive discussion, in some cases, between the Member filing the motion and the Clerk’s staff.[437] Until 1994, all motions in amendment proposed by Members appeared on the Notice Paper, even those that were subsequently determined to be out of order. In June 1994, the Standing Orders were changed to provide that only those motions found to be in order by the Speaker were to appear on the Notice Paper.[438] When a motion is found to be out of order, the Member is now informed of the reasons for the decision by letter.

As a general principle, the Speaker seeks to forestall debate on the floor of the House which is simply a repetition of the debate in committee.[439] Normally, the Speaker will not select a motion in amendment previously ruled out of order in committee, unless the reason for that ruling was the requirement for a royal recommendation[440] or that the amendment moved in committee had proposed the deletion of an entire clause of the bill. Furthermore, the Speaker will normally only select motions in amendment that could not have been presented in committee.[441] A motion previously defeated in committee will only be selected if the Speaker judges it to be of such significance to Members as to warrant further consideration at report stage.[442] For the purpose of debate, the Speaker will also group motions that have the same intent and are interrelated. In so doing, the Speaker will consider whether individual Members will be able to express their concerns during the debate on another motion.

On the other hand, the Speaker may, if he or she thinks fit, call upon any Member who has given notice of an amendment to explain it so as to enable the Speaker to form a judgement upon it. When an amendment that has been submitted by more than one Member is selected, the Speaker, after consultation, will designate the Member who will propose it (normally, the Member who first gave notice of the motion).[443]

The Speaker’s decision on the grouping of motions in amendment at report stage addresses two matters: the grouping for debate and the voting arrangements.

Motions in amendment are grouped for debate according to two criteria: their content and their position in the bill. Motions which could form the subject of a single debate are grouped according to content; if, once adopted, they would have the same effect in different parts of the bill or if they relate to the same provision or similar provisions of the bill. Motions in amendment are combined according to the location at which they are to be inserted in the bill when they relate to the same line (or lines). These motions in amendment will then be part of a single scheme for voting purposes.

When the Speaker selects and groups motions in amendment, he or she also decides on how they will be grouped for voting, that is, the Speaker determines the order in which the motions in amendment will be called and the effect of one vote on the others. The purpose of the voting scheme is to obviate any requirement for two or more votes on the same issue.

The Speaker delivers his or her decision regarding the grouping of motions in amendment after the order for the consideration of report stage of the bill has been read. The Speaker informs the House of the motions in amendment that he or she has selected and grouped for debate, of the voting arrangements[444] and, where applicable, of the motions in amendment that have not been selected, stating the reasons for this.[445] Speakers have sometimes intervened at a later stage of the debate to revise the selection and grouping for debate of the motions in amendment.[446]

Debate

When the Order of the Day for the consideration of a bill at report stage is called, the House first considers any motion in amendment of which notice has been given, and each motion in amendment is open to debate and amendment.[447] However, if no notice of motion(s) in amendment has been given at report stage, no debate is held.[448] Consideration at report stage may commence without regard to the availability to Members of committee evidence or minutes.[449]

The consideration at report stage of any bill that has already been adopted at second reading cannot begin prior to the second sitting day following the presentation of the committee’s report.[450] In the case of a bill that has not yet been adopted at second reading, consideration at report stage must await the third sitting day following the presentation of the report.[451] These procedural intervals are strictly observed.[452]

After ruling on the grouping of motions for debate, the Chair reads the motions in the first group (or the motion in that group, if there is only one). The motions that have been moved and seconded are then debated. Once a motion has been moved, it may be withdrawn only with unanimous consent.[453]

When the time comes for a particular motion in amendment to be taken up by the House, and the Member who gave notice of it is absent, the motion may not be debated unless it is moved by another Member with the unanimous consent of the House.[454] When notice of a motion in amendment is given by the government, the motion may be moved by any Minister in the absence of the Minister responsible.

During debate at this stage, no Member may speak more than once or longer than 10 minutes on any motion (or group of motions) in amendment. The sole exception to this is the 20-minute limit applicable to the first round of speeches on the first motion in amendment at report stage of a bill that has not yet been read the second time.[455] Members’ speeches are followed by 10‑minute (following the 20-minute speeches discussed above) or 5‑minute (after all other speeches) questions and comments periods.[456] Of course, debate at report stage is subject to the general rules of debate, such as the rule of relevance.[457]

Deferral of Recorded Division

When a recorded division is demanded on any motion in amendment proposed during consideration of a bill at report stage, the Speaker may defer the calling in of the Members for the vote until some or all subsequent motions in amendment to the bill have been debated. In practice, the Speaker usually defers all recorded divisions until the consideration at report stage has been completed. A recorded division, or divisions, is deferred in this manner from sitting to sitting.[458] In cases in which there are an unusually large number of motions in amendment for consideration at report stage, the Speaker may, after consulting with the representatives of the parties, direct that deferred divisions be held before all motions in amendment have been considered.[459]

Concurrence at Report Stage

The report stage of a bill that has not yet been read a second time is an integral part of the second reading stage of the bill.[460] At the end of report stage, a motion “That the bill (as amended) be concurred in at report stage (with (a) further amendment(s)), and be read a second time” or “That the bill be concurred in at report stage and read a second time” is moved, the question is put on the motion, and the House disposes of it forthwith, without amendment or debate.[461]

At the end of report stage of a bill that has already been read a second time, the motion for concurrence at report stage is also put forthwith, without amendment or debate. The wording of the concurrence motion will vary, depending on whether the original bill has been amended or not, and depending on the stage at which the amendments were made. If, for example, a bill was not amended in committee or at report stage, the motion is as follows: “That the bill be concurred in at report stage”. However, if a bill was amended in committee, but not at report stage, the motion will read as follows: “That the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage”. When the bill was amended at report stage, but not in committee, the motion is as follows: “That the bill be concurred in at report stage, with an amendment or with amendments”. Lastly, if the bill was amended in committee and at report stage, the following motion is made: “That the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage, with (a) further amendment(s)”.

If no motion in amendment is moved at report stage of a bill that has already been read a second time, no debate may take place and consideration of report stage becomes the simple adoption (or rejection) of the motion for concurrence at report stage[462], before proceeding to third reading.[463] A bill that is reported from a Committee of the Whole, with or without amendments, may not be debated or amended at report stage.[464] The House must dispose of the bill at report stage as soon as it is received from a Committee of the Whole.[465]

*   Third Reading (and Passage)

Third reading is the final stage through which a bill must pass in the House of Commons. It is then that Members must decide whether the bill should be adopted by the House. Although third reading is often regarded as a formality, it is in fact a decisive stage in the legislative process. This is particularly so in the case of a highly controversial bill.[466]

Third reading and passage of a bill are proposed in the same motion, which may be debated in the same sitting as report stage if no amendment has been proposed at that stage or if the bill has been reported from a Committee of the Whole, with or without amendment.[467] Otherwise, when debate has taken place on a bill at report stage, it may not be presented for third reading and passage before the next sitting of the House.[468] In like manner, when a bill has been considered by a committee before second reading and the report and second reading stages have then been combined, it may not proceed to third reading and passage until the next sitting of the House.[469]

Debate on third reading commences when the Order of the Day is read for third reading and the Minister or Member, as the case may be, moves: “That the bill be now read a third time and do pass”.[470] The rules relating to the length of speeches during debate are the same as those applicable to speeches and to questions and comments at second reading.[471]

Debate at this stage of the legislative process focuses on the final form of the bill. The amendments that are admissible at this stage are similar to those that were admissible at second reading stage.[472] It is in order to propose an amendment for a three‑ or six‑month hoist,[473] as well as a reasoned amendment.[474] However, at third reading stage, reasoned amendments must deal strictly with the bill and may not be contrary to the principle of the bill as adopted at second reading.[475]

An amendment to refer the subject matter of a bill to a committee at second reading stage becomes, at third reading, an amendment to recommit the bill to a committee with instructions to reconsider certain clauses for a specific purpose.[476] The purpose of such an amendment may be to enable the committee to add a new clause, to reconsider a specific clause of the bill or to reconsider previous amendments.[477] Despite this, an amendment to recommit a bill should not seek to give a mandatory instruction to a committee,[478] nor should it seek to recommit a bill to a committee other than the one which previously considered it.[479] If the amendment to recommit a bill to a committee is carried, the committee may consider only that part of the bill specified in the order of reference.[480]

When the motion for third reading has carried, the Clerk of the House certifies that the bill has passed, and records the date of passage at the foot of the bill.[481] The bill is then sent to the Senate for approval. Defeat of a motion for third reading will result in the withdrawal of the bill.[482]

*   Consideration and Passage by the Senate

Once the House of Commons has passed a bill, it is sent (in the form of a parchment) to the Senate with a message requesting its passage by that House.[483] Any bill may be returned summarily to the House of Commons in the event that it is determined to have been sent to the Senate by mistake or that a serious error is discovered in the bill.[484] The legislative process through which bills must pass in the Senate is very similar to that in the House of Commons. When the Senate has passed a bill, it so informs the House of Commons by message.

Because most government bills originate in the House of Commons, the Senate is sometimes asked to expedite its consideration of a bill. The Rules of the Senate provide for a procedure known as pre‑study, which involves referring the subject matter of a bill that has been introduced in the House of Commons, but has not yet been adopted at first reading in the Senate, to a standing committee of the Senate.[485] In this way, the Senate may consider the bill and form its opinion even before the bill is sent to it. When the bill does arrive, the Senate is accordingly in a position to adopt or to amend it in a very short time. As always, these and other requests to the Senate are dependent on the willing cooperation of the latter. As Speaker Parent, in other circumstances, reminded the House, “The rules of one House cannot be applied to the other, nor can one House compel the other to conduct its work in a specific manner or according to a specific timetable”.[486]

*   Passage of Senate Amendments (if any) by the House of Commons

When the Senate adopts a bill without amendment, a message is sent to the House of Commons to inform it that the bill has been passed,[487] and it normally receives Royal Assent very shortly thereafter, or during the following few days. The bill itself is not sent back to the House, unless it is a supply bill.[488] However, when the Senate amends the bill, it informs the House of the amendments in the message it sends back to the House,[489] along with the bill. The Senate sometimes includes observations or recommendations of the Senate committee that examined the bill in its message to the House.[490] Messages received from the Senate are printed in the Journals.

Once they are received, Senate amendments to a bill are brought before the House for consideration.[491] It is not for the Speaker of the House of Commons to rule as to the procedural regularity of proceedings in the Senate and of the amendments it makes to bills.[492] Rather, it is for the House itself to decide whether it accepts or rejects the amendments proposed by the Senate and whether it wishes to inform the latter of the reasons for its decision. A motion for the consideration of Senate amendments requires 24 hours’ written notice.[493] In such a motion, the sponsor of a bill may propose that the House concur in,[494] amend or reject[495] the amendments made by the Senate. The motion may simultaneously reject some amendments made by the Senate, and concur in or amend others. The motion must relate exclusively to the Senate amendments, and not to other provisions of the bill not contemplated by the amendments.[496] The House may elect to reject the Senate amendments for a variety of reasons, for instance, because it believes that they contradict the principle of the bill[497] or that they infringe upon the financial initiative of the Crown (and the House of Commons).[498] “Motions Respecting Senate Amendments to Bills” appear on the Notice Paper under that heading. Such motions are considered during Government Orders, if the bill in question is a government bill, or during Private Members’ Business, if it is a private Member’s bill.

The Senate amends bills fairly often, and the House is normally disposed to accept such amendments, since they are usually intended to correct drafting errors or to improve administrative details.[499] When debate takes place on Senate amendments, Members who speak must confine themselves to the amendments being considered and may not address other aspects of the bill, or the bill as a whole.[500] The motion for the consideration of Senate amendments is itself open to amendment and subamendment during debate.[501] Members opposed to Senate amendments may move reasoned amendments to them.[502] With the exception of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, Members may not speak for more than 20 minutes.[503] Following each 10 or 20‑minute speech, a period not exceeding 5 or 10 minutes respectively is made available for questions and comments. Motions for time allocation[504] and for closure[505] may be moved by the government to limit or close debate.[506]

When the House agrees to Senate amendments, a message to that effect is sent to the Senate and the bill is returned to it while awaiting Royal Assent. If the House amends or rejects Senate amendments, it so acquaints the Senate by message as well. The Senate may then reconsider its amendments, having regard to the message from the House. It may decide to accept the decision of the House, to reject that decision and insist that its amendments be maintained, or to amend what the House has proposed. Regardless of what the Senate decides, it sends another message to the House to inform it of the decision. Communication between the two Houses continues in this fashion until they ultimately agree on a text. If agreement cannot be reached by exchanging messages, the House in possession of the bill may request that a conference be held.

Conference Between the Houses

When a disagreement arises between the House of Commons and the Senate as to the amendments to be made to a bill, there are two possible ways of proceeding: the disagreement may be communicated in a message (this is normally the first step taken), or a conference may take place. Although this practice has fallen into disuse,[507] a conference may be requested by either of the two Houses in the following cases: to communicate a resolution or an address to which the concurrence of the other House is desired; to discuss the privileges of Parliament; to discuss any matter that warrants the use of this procedure; to require or to communicate statements of facts on which bills have been passed by either House; or to offer reasons for disagreeing to, or insisting on, amendments to a bill.[508]

Either of the two Houses may request that a conference be held, as long as the initiator of the request is in possession of the bill or other matter that is to be the subject of the conference.[509] The Standing Orders of the House stipulate that the House is to agree upon the reasons to be given before a message is sent to the Senate requesting a conference.[510] On the other hand, the terms and conditions for consent to and preparation for the holding of the conference, and the course of proceedings at conferences, are governed by custom and tradition rather than by the Standing Orders.[511]

Until 1906, the process relating to the holding of conferences was rather complex. The role of representatives at the conference was limited to communicating the reasons to the representatives of the other House and no discussion was permitted. In October 1903, three conferences were held, only one of which was a “free conference”, to attempt resolution of a dispute arising from amendments that the Senate wished to make to a bill passed by the House.[512] New rules were incorporated into the Standing Orders in 1906,[513] following the passage of a joint resolution of the two Houses the preceding year.[514] The purpose of that amendment to the Standing Orders was to make conferences “free”[515] in order to facilitate agreement. The representatives (referred to as managers) were thereby given the freedom to talk and to negotiate as they saw fit.[516]

Although the two Houses frequently transmit messages to each other, they have rarely held conferences. No conference has taken place since 1947, and there have been only 16 since 1903.[517] Of these 16 conferences, 13 were held after the provisions relating to the holding of free conferences came into effect in 1906.[518] All of these “free” conferences were held at the request of the House of Commons to resolve disputes in respect of bills. A long-standing disposition on the part of the Senate to leave the initiative in such matters to the House of Commons is reflected in the Senate rule respecting conferences, which specifies messages as the normal method of resolving differences and adds, “unless at any time the House of Commons wishes to communicate the same at a conference”.[519]

Over the years, the exchange of messages and the appearance of Ministers before House and Senate committees have considerably reduced the need for this procedure,[520] which is nevertheless held in reserve in case of a deadlock in connection with Senate amendments to a bill. In this event, a Member, usually the Member responsible for the bill, could propose that a message be sent to the Senate asking it to participate in a free conference on the amendment or amendments in dispute. Once the message was approved and sent to the Senate, the Senate would in turn respond to the House by means of a message. If the Senate agreed to participate in the conference, a message would also be sent to the House of Commons to inform it of the time and place chosen for the conference, and of the names of the Senators (“managers”) who would represent the Senate. A similar motion would be moved in the House of Commons to designate the representatives of the House (who would normally include the Member responsible for the bill)[521] and to order that a message to this effect be sent to the Senate.

At the time agreed upon, the managers would meet to try to resolve the impasse. The records of proceedings show that in the event that the House was sitting at the time chosen for the conference, the Speaker would rise and announce that the time had come to hold the conference, and the Clerk would announce the names of the managers who would then go to the Senate.[522] When the House managers arrived in the Senate, the Speaker of the Senate would announce the names of the Senate managers, who would immediately leave the Senate Chamber. Since no official report or minutes were prepared for those conferences, there is very little information available as to how free conferences were held in the past and on who attended them in addition to the managers from the two Houses.

A “free conference” is one in which discussion may continue as long as is required for an agreement to be reached, but a successful outcome is by no means guaranteed. There are, in fact, three possible outcomes: the conference fails; a compromise is reached; the House accepts the Senate amendments, or the Senate accepts the House amendments, as the case may be. If the conference fails, the matter is closed and the bill simply remains on the Order Paper where it dies at the end of the session.[523] During that time, no new bill may be introduced in the House in respect of the same subject matter and containing similar provisions. If a compromise is reached, one of the representatives of the House submits a report to the House concerning the conference and moves that the report be approved and a message informing the Senate be sent to the latter. Lastly, if the House decides not to press for the approval of its amendments, it accepts the Senate amendments and sends a message to this effect to the Senate.

*   Royal Assent

Royal Assent brings all three constituent elements of Parliament together (the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons). An integral part of the legislative process, it is the stage that a bill must complete before officially becoming an Act of Parliament. A version of the bill identical to that passed by the two Houses is approved by a representative of the Crown and thereby attains “the complement and perfection of a law”.[524] This approval may be conveyed in either of two ways: by ceremony or by written declaration. The traditional way is an essentially ceremonial procedure which takes place in the presence of Members and Senators, after the Members have been summoned by the Usher of the Black Rod to go to the Senate to attend the Royal Assent ceremony. Since relevant statutory provisions came into effect in 2002, this formal ceremony is frequently dispensed with and Royal Assent to bills is signified by written declaration.[525]

The origins of Royal Assent date back to the reign of Henry VI (1422‑61; 1470‑71),[526] during which the practice arose of introducing bills in both Houses in the form of complete statutes, and not in the form of petitions as had been the case since the early days of the British Parliament. Royal Assent was granted by the Sovereign in person until 1541; in that year, to spare King Henry VIII the discomfort of having to give Royal Assent to the bill for the execution of his wife, Katharine Howard, the task was assigned for the first time to a royal commission.[527] It then became common practice to appoint Lords Commissioners with responsibility for signifying Royal Assent on behalf of the Sovereign. Royal Assent was last refused by a Sovereign on March 11, 1707, when Queen Anne refused to assent to a bill for settling the militia in Scotland.[528] The last time that the Monarch granted Royal Assent in person in Great Britain was on August 12, 1854, during the reign of Queen Victoria.[529] In 1967, the British Parliament passed the Royal Assent Act whereby a bill now acquires the force of law on simple report of Royal Assent by the Speakers of the two Houses.[530] This procedure eliminates the need for holding a ceremony.[531]

In the Canadian House of Commons, while the formal ceremony of Royal Assent has sometimes been criticized,[532] these criticisms were effectively addressed in 2002. In its retention of the formal ceremony, however, Parliament has remained faithful to conventions expressed in rules derived from those in effect in Great Britain at the time of Confederation.[533] Neither the Standing Orders of the House nor the Constitution Act specifically mentions the procedure for granting Royal Assent (although the Royal Assent Act now does so). Initially, Royal Assent was customarily deferred to the end of a parliamentary session, when the Governor General’s presence was in any case required for the prorogation of Parliament. This practice gradually disappeared over time, and today Royal Assent is given to bills at any time during a session.[534]

Since it was assented to on June 4, 2002, the Royal Assent Act has provided for the signification of Royal Assent by written declaration (by the Governor General or his or her Deputy).[535] The Act preserved the traditional ceremony in the Senate Chamber by requiring its use at least twice each calendar year and in the case of the first appropriation bill of each session of Parliament. Moreover, during adjournments of the House, the Speaker may, at the request of the government[536], give notice that the House will meet at an earlier time for the purposes of Royal Assent; being convened “for those purposes only”, the House cannot proceed to any other business.[537] This has seldom been necessary since provision was made for the signifying of Royal Assent by written declaration while the House stands adjourned. New Standing Orders added in 2002, require that Members be informed of this in a special issue of the Journals,[538] and that messages received from the Senate during an adjournment be deposited with the Clerk. Such messages are deemed received by the House the same day.[539]

When the House is sitting and a formal ceremony is desired for the signifying of Royal Assent, the House may suspend its proceedings until a certain time,[540] “to the call of the Chair”,[541] or until the bells are sounded.[542] In the absence of any special arrangements to extend the sitting, the proceedings are interrupted at the normal hour of adjournment and the House stands adjourned until the next sitting day.[543] If the ceremony is scheduled for the same time as other items of business, a decision must be made as to which matter will take precedence.[544]

The Governor General may give Royal Assent in person, particularly in the case of laws of great importance. At other times, it is given by a deputy: the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada or one of the other (“puisne”) judges of the Supreme Court, either in person or via a written declaration.

Royal Assent by Ceremony

When a bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, a special copy is inscribed on parchment and endorsed by the Clerks of both Houses. When a ceremony is to take place, members of the Governor General’s staff inform the Speaker of the House of the date and time at which the Governor General or the Deputy Governor will attend the Senate to give Royal Assent to bills. The Speaker of the House then relays the message to the Members.[545]

At the appointed time, the Usher of the Black Rod (an officer of the Senate) informs the House that the Governor General or the Deputy Governor desires their presence in the Senate Chamber. Before entering the Commons Chamber, he or she knocks three times on the door.[546] Any proceeding then underway is interrupted by the Speaker.[547] Quorum is not required for the House to receive the message from the Usher of the Black Rod.[548] The Sergeant‑at‑Arms announces to the Speaker that the messenger from the Senate wishes to enter. The Speaker replies: “Admit the messenger”, after which the doors are opened to allow the Usher of the Black Rod to enter. Because the House cannot always arrange for its order of business to coincide with the time when Royal Assent is to be given, the messenger is sometimes obliged to wait. This has prompted considerable discussion regarding the scheduling of the House’s time, particularly as regards moving on to other business while the House awaits the Senate messenger.[549]

When the Usher of the Black Rod has entered and bowed three times, he or she stands before the Table and informs the Speaker of the desire of the Governor General or his or her Deputy that the House attend him or her immediately in the Senate Chamber.[550] The Usher of the Black Rod then leads the House to the Senate, followed, in order, by the Sergeant‑at‑Arms bearing the Mace, the Speaker, the Clerk and the Table Officers, and the Members.

While the Speaker and the Members gather at the Bar of the Senate, the Usher of the Black Rod moves toward the far end of the Senate Chamber. He or she bows to the Governor General or to the Deputy Governor and calls out: “Order!” The Speaker of the House then raises his or her hat and bows to the Governor General (or to the Deputy Governor). A clerk at the Table in the Senate Chamber then reads, in English and French, the titles of the bills that are to receive Royal Assent, with the exception of supply bills. The Clerk of the Senate displays the bills and states: “In Her Majesty’s name, His/Her Excellency the Governor General (the Honourable the Deputy of the Governor General) doth assent to these bills”.

If there is a supply bill to be assented to, the Speaker of the House of Commons brings it into the Senate Chamber and reads a message, in both official languages, asking that it be given Royal Assent, using the following formula:

May it please Your Excellency (Honour[551]): The Commons of Canada have voted Supplies required to enable the Government to defray certain expenses of the public service. In the name of the Commons, I present to Your Excellency (Honour) the following Bill: (title), to which Bill I humbly request Your Excellency’s (Honour’s) Assent.

A Senate clerk at the Table goes to the Bar, is handed the supply bill by the Speaker of the House of Commons, and returns with it to the Table. After reading the title of the supply bill in both official languages, the Clerk of the Senate reads the declaration of Royal Assent as follows:

In Her Majesty’s name, (the Honourable the Deputy to) His/Her Excellency the Governor General thanks Her Loyal Subjects, accepts their benevolence, and assents to this Bill.

The representative of the Crown consents to the enactment of the bills by nodding his or her head. This is the action by which Royal Assent is officially conveyed, and from that moment the bills have the force of law, unless one (or more) of them specifies another date of coming into force.[552] The Usher of the Black Rod then turns to face the main doors of the Senate, indicating thereby that the ceremony is concluded. The Speaker of the House raises his or her hat, bows to the representative of the Crown, and withdraws from the Chamber, returning directly to the Commons Chamber.

The Speaker then takes the Chair and informs the Members that the Governor General or his or her Deputy was pleased to give, in Her Majesty’s name, Royal Assent to certain bills. The House resumes the business that was interrupted, or adjourns if the hour for adjournment has already passed. Normally, the entire ceremony lasts no more than 20 minutes.[553]

Royal Assent by Written Declaration

The date on which Royal Assent is to be signified by written declaration is determined by the government once a bill has been passed by both Houses. If the Governor General is unavailable on that date, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is asked to advise which Justice of that court will act as Deputy of the Governor General for this purpose. Since the Royal Assent Act specifies no location, this also lies in the discretion of the government.

The Governor General (or his or her Deputy), the Clerk of the Parliaments (or his or her Deputy) and, at the government’s request, a representative of the Privy Council Office are always present for the signing of a written declaration of Royal Assent, as is a House Table Officer in the case of a supply bill.[554]

At the time of signing, parchment copies of the bills are presented to the Governor General or to his or her Deputy together with a signed letter from the Clerk of the Parliaments confirming that the bill(s) have been passed by both Houses which accordingly request that they receive Royal Assent. The Governor General or his or her Deputy signs a Declaration of Royal Assent, which is then witnessed by the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Letters advising that Royal Assent has been signified are delivered without delay to the Speakers of both Houses by the Clerk of the Senate. The Royal Assent Act requires that each House of Parliament be notified of a written declaration of Royal Assent by the Speaker of that House or by the person acting as Speaker. With few exceptions (for example, during an adjournment) the letters are read to the two Houses upon receipt.[555]

A bill may not receive Royal Assent if it has not passed through all stages of the legislative process in both Houses. However, a bill may be read three times and be given Royal Assent at the same sitting.[556] The Constitution Act, 1867 provides for the circumstances in which statutes may be disallowed or Royal Assent withheld, but does not specify the procedure to be followed.[557]

*   Coming into Force

A distinction must be made between the date on which a legislative measure is enacted by Parliament and the date on which it comes into force. The Interpretation Act contains provisions governing the coming into force of statutes.[558] A bill becomes law after it has been passed by both Houses in the same form; the resulting statute comes into force either when it receives Royal Assent, if no date of commencement is provided for in the Act,[559] or on another date provided for in the Act. Accordingly, an Act may come into force on one or more dates specified in the Act itself or fixed by an order of the Governor in Council.

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[129] Stewart, p. 81.

[130] Stewart, p. 81.

[131] Stewart, p. 84.

[132] Standing Order 71. The prohibition on giving more than one reading on the same day appears in the Rules, Orders, and Forms of Proceeding of the Legislative Assembly of Canada (Ottawa: Hunter, Rose & Co., 1866, rule 43). At Confederation, that text became one of the rules of the new House of Commons of Canada. Standing Order 81(17) and (18) allows for an exemption from the rule requiring three readings on separate days in the case of supply bills; when those bills are considered on the last allotted day in a supply period, they must be passed in the same sitting.

[133] Campion, G.F.M., An Introduction to the Procedure of the House of Commons, 3rd ed., London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1958, pp. 22‑3. Although the early Journals of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom mention the practice of giving a bill three readings on different days, it has never been laid down in the British Standing Orders (Stewart, p. 80).

[134] Before the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it was not uncommon for a bill to be read four, five or even six times in the House, to keep Members informed of its contents as amendments were made. By the end of the reign of Elizabeth I, the practice of adopting a limit of three readings was already established, and each reading was given to fill a specific need. A bill was given first reading in order to inform the House of its contents; this was generally the first the House knew of the purpose of the bill. Second reading gave interested Members a chance to hear the text of the bill again, in order that an informed debate could take place. If the House approved the legislation overall, but felt that amendments were required, the bill could be referred to a committee at this stage. However, it was not necessary or mandatory for a bill to be examined by a committee. The third reading enabled the House to hear the final, official text of the bill, including the amendments passed by the House (Neale, pp. 356‑61).

[135] Standing Order 72.

[136] Beauchesne, A., Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 3rd ed., Toronto: Canada Law Book Company, Limited, 1943, pp. 239‑40.

[137] Journals, February 7, 1994, pp. 112‑8.

[138] Points of order have been raised from time to time because of concerns that a reinstated government bill might not be identical in form to that introduced in the previous session. See, for example, Debates, February 23, 2004, pp. 932‑3.

[139] This procedure was used at the beginning of the Second Session of the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament (Journals, March 4, 1996, pp. 34‑5, 39‑41). A total of 14 government bills and 11 private Members’ bills, which had been introduced during the First Session of the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament and had already advanced through certain stages of the legislative process, were reinstated. Bill C‑7, respecting controlled drugs and substances, and Bill C‑22, respecting the Lester B. Pearson International Airport, which were in the Senate when Parliament was prorogued, were deemed to have been passed at all stages in the House. They were therefore sent directly to the Senate (Journals, March 6, 1996, p. 51; April 19, 1996, p. 235). As was the case at the beginning of the Second Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament, motions may be adopted which provide a mechanism whereby Ministers can effect reinstatement of bills individually and at their discretion (Journals, October 25, 2007, pp. 63‑4). See Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”.

[140] Standing Orders 86.1 and 86.2. 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). See also Debates, October 16, 2006, pp. 2‑3; February 12, 2008, p. 2921.

[141] Standing Order 71. For example, Bill C‑24, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services, advanced through second reading, consideration in a Committee of the Whole, report and third reading stages on the same day (Journals, December 2, 1997, pp. 314‑9). Although it seems that the usual and correct practice has been to let a day or two go by between the different stages in the consideration of a bill, the House has often agreed, since the First Parliament, to expedite the passage of bills by circumventing the prohibition in the Standing Orders (see Edward Blake’s remarks in Debates, June 1, 1886, p. 1714. In the first three parliaments from 1867 to 1878, bills were expedited on 27 occasions).

[142] In ruling on the application of this provision of the Standing Orders, successive Speakers have observed that it applied to “readings” of bills, and not to the stages of consideration of bills (Debates, April 15, 1878, pp. 2006‑7; April 24, 1878, p. 2157; October 11, 1949, pp. 667‑9; February 24, 1969, pp. 5893‑4). In February 1969, in response to a point of order questioning whether a bill could be read the third time on the day on which it had been concurred in at report stage, Speaker Lamoureux reiterated that report stage is not a reading. He pointed out that Standing Order 72 (now Standing Order 71) “always prevails. If there has been a previous reading in that sitting there cannot be a subsequent reading on the same day” (Journals, February 24, 1969, pp. 738‑9) unless, of course, the House decides otherwise.

[143] Bourinot, Sir J.G., Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, 4th ed., edited by T.B. Flint, Toronto: Canada Law Book Company, 1916, p. 540.

[144] In 1997, a Member rose on a question of privilege in regard to the matter of introducing government public bills in the Senate. The Speaker ruled that this question could not be regarded as a question of privilege since the Standing Orders of the House allow for bills to be brought down from the Senate (Debates, October 9, 1997, pp. 732‑5).

[145] Standing Order 54. For further information on notice requirements, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

[146] See Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”.

[147] Standing Order 54. If a private 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 without having appeared on the Notice Paper. The Member may then opt to second that bill by asking to be added as “seconder”. Up to 20 Members may jointly second a private Member’s bill (Standing Order 86(2), (3) and (4)).

[148] Standing Order 68(4), (5), (6) and (7). Between 1994 and 2003, private Members were also permitted to propose motions to have a committee prepare and bring in a bill. Such motions were subject to the rules governing Private Members’ Business. A restructuring of the procedures relating to Private Members’ Business saw the relevant provisions of Standing Order 68 suspended in March 2003 and deleted permanently in May 2005. 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 concurred in on March 17, 2003 (Journals, p. 495). The change was made permanent on May 11, 2005, when the House concurred in the Thirty-Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (Journals, pp. 738-9).

[149] On April 19, 1994, pursuant to a motion moved by a Minister, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was instructed to prepare and bring in a bill respecting the system of readjusting the boundaries of electoral districts for the House of Commons (Journals, p. 363). A few months later, the Committee presented a report to the House which included the text of a draft bill (Debates, November 25, 1994, p. 8299). Bill C‑69, An Act to provide for the establishment of electoral boundaries commissions and the readjustment of electoral boundaries, was given first reading on February 16, 1995 (Journals, p. 1141). The bill was passed by the House on April 25, 1995 (Journals, pp. 1368‑9), but was not passed by the Senate.

[150] Standing Order 54(1).

[151] Standing Order 68(4).

[152] Standing Order 68(6).

[153] Standing Order 68(7).

[154] Standing Order 68(2). Points of order alleging irregularities in bills have, however, been raised at the time of their introduction and first reading. See, for example, Debates, March 3, 2008, p. 3546.

[155] See the remarks of Speaker Fraser, Debates, December 1, 1987, pp. 11343‑4; April 7, 1989, pp. 228‑9. On one occasion, a Minister obtained the unanimous consent of the House that a bill already before the House be deemed not to have been introduced, read a first time, etc., in order to allow the government to honour a commitment to provide Members of Parliament with a briefing prior to introduction of the bill (Debates, October 30, 2002, pp. 1099‑100).

[156] Standing Order 68(2) provides that any Member must be permitted to give an explanation. That section was incorporated into the Standing Orders in 1955 to “spell out the existing practice” (Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 930‑1). In the past, it sometimes happened that after hearing a Member’s explanation the House decided to reject the motion for leave (Debates, February 22, 1932, pp. 380‑4; August 3, 1964, p. 6285; November 13, 1967, pp. 4165‑6; December 5, 1967, pp. 5035‑6; November 7, 1986, p. 1193). Since 1991, the motion has been deemed carried without debate, amendment or question put (Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2913‑4).

[157] What is printed at this time is referred to as the “House Copy”. The limited edition of a government bill produced in the Justice Department (or of a private Member’s bill produced by the Member with the assistance of the Legislative Counsel) prior to the introduction of the bill in the House is referred to as the “Secret Copy”.

[158] Report of the Special Committee on Procedure and Organization of the House, Journals, December 6, 1968, pp. 432‑3. Once notice has been given, and before its introduction in the House, disclosure of the contents of a bill, even by the sponsor or via pre-introduction briefings from which Members of Parliament are excluded, may cause procedural difficulties. See, for example, Debates, March 19, 2001, pp. 1839‑40.

[159] Standing Order 69(1).

[160] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, May 24, 1988, pp. 15722‑3.

[161] Standing Order 69(2). Although their right to do so is not explicit in the Standing Orders, Members sponsoring Senate bills have been permitted by the Chair to give explanations of their purpose. See, for example, Debates, October 31, 2006, p. 4446.

[162] See Journals, February 7, 1994, p. 112. In 1991, the Standing Committee on Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Government Operations had been instructed to do a pre‑study, after first reading, of Bill C‑22, An Act to enact the Wage Claim Payment Act, to amend the Bankruptcy Act and to amend other acts in consequence thereof (Journals, June 19, 1991, p. 242). This was the first time that the House had used this procedure, and the initiative was very favourably received by opposition Members (see Debates, October 7, 1991, p. 3388). Subsequently, in 1993, in its study of parliamentary reform, the Standing Committee on House Management recommended that government bills be referred to committee after first reading. The Committee argued that this “process … would assist Members and the House in playing a more meaningful role in the development and passage of legislation” (see Eighty‑First Report of the Committee, Proceedings and Evidence, April 1, 1993, Issue No. 53, pp. 22-3).

[163] Standing Order 73(1). This must not be confused with the pre‑study procedure in the Senate, which applies before first reading of a bill. For an overview of the differences between the procedure followed in the House of Commons and the procedure in the Senate, see LeBlanc, R. and Parent, G., “Parliament of Canada: Pre‑study of legislation in the Canadian Parliament”, The Parliamentarian, Vol. LXXV, No. 3, July 1994, (Canada Supplement), pp. C3‑C6.

[164] During the Thirty‑Eighth Parliament (2004‑05), 17 bills were referred to committees before second reading, and during the Thirty-Ninth Parliament (2006-08), three bills were referred to committees before second reading. In the British House of Commons, Standing Order 90 permits the debate on motion for second reading to take place in committee provided that 20 or more Members do not object. “If the committee recommends that the Bill be read a second time, the actual second reading is decided by the House without amendment or debate.” (Griffith, J.A.G. and Ryle, M., Parliament: Functions, Practice and Procedures, 2nd ed., edited by R. Blackburn and A. Kennon with Sir M. Wheeler‑Booth, London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2003, p. 323).

[165] See Chair’s ruling, Debates, April 10, 1997, p. 9531.

[166] In 1994, Speaker Parent ruled that only Ministers may refer bills to a committee, and that this prerogative “cannot be invoked by private members” (Debates, May 11, 1994, pp. 4226‑7; June 1, 1994, pp. 4710‑1). Subsequently, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs recommended in its Fifty‑Third Report, presented to the House on December 9, 1994 (Journals, p. 1014), that the Standing Orders be amended to indicate clearly that only government bills can be referred to committee before second reading (Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 8, 1994, Issue No. 36, p. 5). The House concurred in the report and the Standing Orders were amended accordingly on February 6, 1995 (Journals, p. 1081).

[167] Exceptions even to this practice have been common. On a number of occasions, for example, when a Minister rose for this purpose during debate on an opposition motion, no objection was raised. See, for example, Debates, February 24, 2004, p. 1001.

[168] See, for example, Debates, November 13, 2007, p. 776.

[169] Standing Order 73(1)(b), (c) and (d). See, for example, Journals, April 30, 2001, p. 339. In 2005, Standing Order 73(1)(d) was provisionally amended to increase the time provided for debate on the motion from three to five hours (Journals, February 18, 2005, pp. 452, 455). The change was made permanent in 2006 (Journals, October 25, 2006, p. 579).

[170] For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Consideration in Committee”.

[171] Standing Order 76(1).

[172] Standing Order 76(2). One sitting day’s notice is required for amendments proposed at the report stage of bills that have already been read a second time (Standing Order 76.1(2)).

[173] Standing Order 76(9).

[174] Other expressions may be used to refer to the “principle” (or “principles”) of a bill. Sometimes the expressions “scope”, “general scope” and “general objectives” are used.

[175] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 509. The Senate Rules include a provision that the principle of a bill is “usually debated on second reading”.

[176] See, for example, Debates, March 24, 1970, p. 5434; April 27, 1970, p. 6334; June 10, 1970, p. 7973; see also Speaker’s rulings, Journals, November 14, 1949, pp. 237‑8; October 15, 1962, pp. 76‑7. Individual provisions of private Members’ bills have been amended from time to time at this stage by unanimous consent. See, for example, Journals, December 14, 2004, p. 354.

[177] May, T.E., A Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, 13th ed., edited by Sir T. Lonsdale Webster, London: Butterworths & Co., 1924, p. 389.

[178] Journals, December 6, 1968, p. 433.

[179] Journals, December 6, 1968, p. 433.

[180] See Chapter 20, “Committees”. Following the adoption of the changes to the Standing Orders during the Thirty-Third Parliament, bills were regularly referred to legislative committees. Beginning, however, in the Thirty-Fifth Parliament, bills were again routinely referred to standing committees. It has only been during the last few Parliaments that bills have once again been referred to legislative committees from time to time.

[181] This is the case for supply bills (Standing Order 73(4)). With the unanimous consent of the House, urgent or non‑controversial bills which often go through more than one stage of the legislative process in a single sitting are generally referred to a Committee of the Whole. See also Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[182] Standing Order 74. These provisions also apply to third reading. Under Standing Order 73(5), a maximum of two sitting days is set aside for the consideration of any bill respecting Borrowing Authority at second reading. Fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders, the Speaker interrupts the proceedings and puts forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment, every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill.

[183] Before the concurrence of the House, on September 18, 2003 (Journals, p. 995), in the Fourth Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, Standing Order 74 had provided 40 minutes of speaking time for the first three Members recognized to speak.

[184] Standing Order 44(2).

[185] Standing Order 74(2). That provision applies to the length of speeches and, where applicable, the period set aside for questions and comments.

[186] Standing Order 74(2) was provisionally amended in 2005, in recognition of what had gradually become the accepted practice of the House (Journals, February 18, 2005, pp. 452‑3). The change was made permanent in 2006 (Journals, October 25, 2006, p. 579). Although the Standing Orders do not provide for this, Members have also occasionally been permitted to split 20-minute first‑round speaking apportionments by unanimous consent. See, for example, Debates, June 6, 2005, pp. 6672‑3.

[187] Standing Order 44(2).

[188] Standing Order 73(2). Debates, October 28, 1991, p. 4085.

[189] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 199. An amendment to a motion for a reading does not affect the provisions of the bill; rather, its purpose is to prevent the House from disposing of the bill, or to delay scrutiny of the bill.

[190] Postponement for one month was ruled to be in order, as it was regarded, on the whole, as a hoist amendment (Debates, November 4, 1985, p. 8331).

[191] May, T.E., A Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, 10th ed., edited by Sir R.F.D. Palgrave and A. Bonham-Carter, London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited, 1893, p. 446; May, 23rd ed., p. 583, note 7.

[192] Journals, November 28, 1867, p. 40.

[193] Of the 62 hoist amendments recorded in the Journals for that initial period, no fewer than 44 were moved by the government and passed by the House.

[194] See Journals, February 23, 1933, pp. 253‑4; April 18, 1933, pp. 416‑7; June 14, 1938, pp. 449‑50; April 21, 1953, pp. 537‑8.

[195] Beauchesne, A., Beauchesne’s Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 5th ed., edited by A. Fraser, G.A. Birch and W.F. Dawson, Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1978, p. 225. See, for example, Debates, November 20, 1986, p. 1381; November 21, 1986, p. 1413; March 21, 2003, p. 4522.

[196] “On the rejection of a motion to postpone the second or third reading of a bill for three or six months, no further time amendment was to be permissible” (Redlich, Vol. I, p. 195).

[197] In Quebec, an amendment to postpone the consideration of a bill for 20 years was ruled out of order (Quebec, National Assembly of Quebec, Débats de l’Assemblée nationale, December 14, 1977, pp. 4750‑3).

[198] It seems that the House of Commons has always observed the principle of postponement for an indefinite period, except in one case. Canadian parliamentary annals contain an old case in which a bill was placed on the Order Paper again after expiry of the time for which it had been postponed (Journals, March 2, 1882, pp. 96‑7). The postponement had been for one month only. The uncertainty surrounding the consequences of the postponement were undoubtedly the reason that the bill was placed back on the Order Paper one month later (in April) (Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 510). Before and after that one case, passage of a hoist amendment has always resulted in the withdrawal of the bill, which was not placed back on the Order Paper afterward.

[199] See, for example, Journals, March 20, 1924, p. 67. A Member proposed to move an amendment to a government motion creating a special committee by adding the words “in eight months from this day”. In making his decision, the Chair stated, “because we do not know whether it will be possible to appoint this committee eight months from now, the same result would be produced if the original motion were simply negatived” (Journals, June 21, 1960, pp. 673‑4).

[200] See, for example, Journals, February 24, 1970, pp. 485‑7.

[201] Speakers have occasionally overlooked irregularities in the wording of hoist amendments when they have not changed their effect. See, for example, Debates, October 31, 2007, pp. 630, 632.

[202] See, for example, Debates, September 25, 2006, p. 3175.

[203] Journals, May 8, 1882, pp. 410‑4.

[204] As early as 1958, Speaker Michener acknowledged to the House that it was not always easy “to draw the line between an amendment which is simply a negating of the principle of the bill and an amendment which is declaratory of a principle” (Debates, September 2, 1958, p. 4477). Similarly, in the early 1970s, Speaker Lamoureux reminded Members that they themselves had admitted that it was “difficult for the Chair to rule on the procedural aspect of reasoned amendments” (Debates, September 13, 1971, p. 7771). A few months later, on May 19, 1972 (Debates, p. 2433), the Acting Speaker also said that there was little doubt in the mind of the Chair that “a reasoned amendment at the second reading stage of a bill involves one of the more difficult parliamentary procedures”.

[205] In the past, the Chair has expressed the wish that a committee would look at this matter (Debates, May 19, 1972, p. 2433; October 19, 1978, p. 284).

[206] For examples of reasoned amendments that were found to be in order, see Debates, September 17, 1991, p. 2227; May 20, 1992, pp. 10955‑6; February 16, 2005, p. 3585; September 25, 2006, p. 3175.

[207] See, for example, Journals, November 20, 1962, pp. 298‑9; May 14, 1964, p. 323; Debates, April 28, 2003, p. 5474, 5479. In the early 1970s, a number of Members unsuccessfully tried to propose reasoned amendments, which in many cases were nothing more than substantive motions proposed “in the guise of so‑called reasoned amendments” (Debates, May 18, 1972, p. 2412). Some Members, citing a revision of the Standing Orders and changes to the legislative process, then tried to introduce amendments which quite often had no direct and substantive connection with the principle of the bill (Debates, May 19, 1972, pp. 2428‑34).

[208] See, for example, Debates, February 9, 1990, pp. 8109‑10, 8134‑5.

[209] See, for example, Journals, May 7, 1971, p. 534.

[210] Journals, May 14, 1971, pp. 554‑5.

[211] Journals, May 13, 1959, pp. 436‑7; October 15, 1962, pp. 76‑7.

[212] Journals, June 5, 1972, p. 354; Debates, April 28, 2003, p. 5479. For further information on the “scope” of reasoned amendments, see Debates, September 24, 2001, pp. 5465, 5474.

[213] Journals, June 5, 1972, p. 354.

[214] See, for example, Debates, August 11, 1988, pp. 18212‑3; October 3, 1989, pp. 4265, 4272.

[215] See, for example, Journals, February 2, 1954, p. 257; February 13, 1969, pp. 697‑8; January 26, 1971, pp. 285‑6.

[216] See, for example, Debates, February 9, 1990, pp. 8109‑10, 8134‑5.

[217] See, for example, Debates, November 28, 1984, pp. 689, 707; May, 23rd ed., p. 584.

[218] See Speaker Jerome’s ruling, Debates, February 6, 1975, pp. 2971‑2.

[219] See, for example, Debates, August 30, 1966, p. 7808; March 13, 1995, p. 10363.

[220] May, 23rd ed., p. 585.

[221] Journals, September 26, 1995, p. 1952; February 18, 2002, p. 1301. This type of amendment does not exist in the British and Australian Parliaments (May, 23rd ed., p. 583, note 7; House of Representatives Practice, 5th ed., pp. 306‑7).

[222] Journals, January 26, 1971, pp. 285‑6.

[223] Journals, January 21, 1971, pp. 273‑4.

[224] On February 17, 1970, Speaker Lamoureux ruled out of order an amendment providing that the bill not be read a second time, but that the subject matter of the bill first be put to a referendum (Journals, pp. 454‑5). See also Journals, November 22, 1967, pp. 525‑6.

[225] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 201.

[226] The adoption of such amendments has proved an effective method of frustrating attempts to legislate on controversial topics. For example, in 2002, a private Member’s bill providing for the decriminalization of marijuana use was effectively nullified by the adoption of an amendment withdrawing the bill and referring its subject matter to a special committee. (Journals, April 17, 2002, pp. 1302‑4). Since May 11, 2005, a new Standing Order provision prevents this or any other amendment from being moved at the second reading stage of a private Member’s bill without the consent of the bill’s sponsor. 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).

[227] May, 23rd ed., p. 597.

[228] See, for example, Journals, May 6, 1982, p. 4803.

[229] See, for example, Journals, March 19, 1948, p. 269 (motion negatived); July 30, 1956, pp. 942‑3 (motion negatived); February 21, 2001, pp. 121‑2 (debate adjourned; question not decided); May 30, 2005, pp. 800‑5 (debate adjourned; question not decided).

[230] See, for example, Journals, April 15, 1920, p. 146.

[231] See, for example, Journals, March 15, 1948, p. 255 (motion negatived).

[232]Beauchesne, A., Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada, 4th ed., Toronto: The Carswell Company Limited, 1958, p. 182.

[233] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 516.

[234] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 203; Debates, December 18, 1990, pp. 16916‑7. A mandatory instruction is an instruction whose purpose is to direct the deliberations of a committee.

[235] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 203. In one ruling, the Chair clearly decided that whatever effect a permissive instruction given to a committee may have on the committee, it is for the committee to decide what to do with it without intervention from the Chair (Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17508). More recently, in ruling against a point of order alleging that an amendment to the motion for third reading of a bill had sought to provide a mandatory instruction to a committee, Speaker Milliken found that the committee had been instructed to reconsider a clause of the bill, but that it had not been directed as to how or even whether to modify it. He concluded that the text of the amendment provided the Committee with “ample discretion in how it wishes to reconsider the particular clause in question” (Debates, May 8, 2008, p. 5632).

[236] The motion “That the Speaker do now leave the Chair” is no longer in use, since Standing Order 100 provides for the Speaker to leave the Chair without question put. See Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[237] See, for example, Journals, December 2, 1997, pp. 313‑4; June 9, 1999, pp. 16123, 16140‑1.

[238] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17505.

[239] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17505. See, for example, Journals, March 19, 1948, p. 269. See also Speaker Beaudoin’s rulings, Journals, May 23, 1956, pp. 602‑3; July 30, 1956, p. 942.

[240] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17505. See also Standing Order 56(2).

[241] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17505. See, for example, Journals, March 26, 1888, p. 136.

[242] In 1956, after ruling that notice was not necessary, the Speaker subsequently reversed his ruling and acknowledged that notice was indeed required (Debates, May 28, 1956, p. 4370; Journals, July 30, 1956, p. 942).

[243] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 516. However, amendments must be drawn in such a way that, if accepted, the question as amended would retain the form and effect of an instruction (May, 23rd ed., p. 599).

[244] May, 23rd ed., p. 599.

[245] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, pp. 15706‑7.

[246] See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17506.

[247] Standing Order 66(1). See, for example, Debates, April 17, 2008, pp. 5052‑6. See also Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, July 13, 1988, p. 17506.

[248] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 204.

[249] May, 23rd ed., p. 598.

[250] May, 23rd ed., pp. 597‑8.

[251] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 513. See, for example, Journals, May 2, 1872, p. 79; May 23, 1956, pp. 598‑603.

[252] May, 23rd ed., pp. 597‑8.

[253] May, 23rd ed., pp. 597‑8.

[254] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 413; May, 23rd ed., p. 708.

[255] May, 11th ed., pp. 448, 561 (cited by Speaker Sévigny, Journals, March 29, 1916, p. 207).

[256] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 414‑5 and footnotes.

[257] Journals, April 21, 1955, p. 418; July 14, 1959, pp. 706‑7.

[258] Journals, November 25, 1983, p. 6598.

[259] Journals, June 13, 1961, p. 664.

[260] Journals, December 14, 1970, pp. 201‑2.

[261] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 413.

[262] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 414. The consent of the Crown may also be required for an amendment to an existing Act (Journals, April 26, 1978, p. 696).

[263] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 413.

[264] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 413.

[265] A Parliamentary Secretary may not perform this function on behalf of a Minister (Debates, April 9, 1992, p. 9606; June 18, 1992, p. 12424; Journals, June 18, 1992, p. 1801). When a private Member wishes to obtain royal consent, he or she must ask the House to agree to an address for leave to seek Royal Consent before the introduction of his or her bill (Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 413‑4). Royal Consent may also be signified in the Senate by a Senator who is a Minister (see, for example, Debates of the Senate, June 29, 2000, p. 1896).

[266] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 414. See also Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, April 25, 1966, pp. 434‑5.

[267] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 414; Journals, April 25, 1966, pp. 434‑5.

[268] Standing Order 73(3). Notwithstanding changes to the Standing Orders in 1994, it remained the usual practice of the House to refer bills to standing committees. Bills were also sometimes referred to joint committees. See, for example, Bill C‑136, Canada Pension Plan Act (Journals, November 16, 1964, p. 876); Bill C‑170, Public Service Staff Relations Act (Journals, April 25, 1966, p. 437; May 9, 1966, p. 519); and Bill C‑70, Act to amend the Public Service Staff Relations Act (Journals, July 15, 1975, p. 711). The Second Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament saw the House return to the practice of referring certain bills to legislative committees, typically controversial ones, as in the case of the Clarity Act (Journals, February 10, 2000, pp. 869‑71). A few such referrals occurred in the years that followed. See, for example, Journals, May 4, 2005, pp. 698‑701; February 13, 2008, pp. 434-6.

[269] Standing Order 73(1).

[270] Standing Order 73(4).

[271] See Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[272] See, for example, Bill C‑13, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Journals, October 29, 1997, pp. 166‑7); Bill C-38, An Act to permit the resumption and continuation of the operation of the National Research Universal Reactor at Chalk River (Journals, December 11, 2007, pp. 295‑6). Consideration of the latter bill involved a rare invitation of witnesses to appear before the Committee of the Whole on the floor of the House (Debates, December 11, 2007, p. 2049).

[273] See, for example, Bill C-76, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of government services (Journals, March 23, 1999, pp. 1649‑63); Bill C-28, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act, the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act and the Salaries Act (Journals, June 4, 2001, p. 475).

[274] Standing Order 75(2). See also Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, April 28, 1992, p. 9801.

[275] May, 23rd ed., p. 600.

[276] Standing Order 73(1).

[277] For example, authority to travel, to broadcast meetings or to divide a bill. For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Motions of Instruction”.

[278] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 215. For examples of proposed amendments to motions for third reading which, if adopted, would have had this effect, see Journals, February 7, 2003, pp. 385‑6; May 2, 2008, p. 758.

[279] May, 23rd ed., p. 600.

[280] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 205.

[281] May, 23rd ed., p. 601. On November 21, 2007, when all report stage motions (each of them intended to reinstate a clause) on a private Member’s bill (C‑284, An Act to amend the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act (Canada access grants)) were negatived, the bill was left empty of all content, and the Speaker ruled that the order for consideration at report stage be discharged and that the bill be dropped from the Order Paper (Debates, pp. 1178‑9).

[282] Standing Order 116 provides that the Standing Orders of the House apply in a standing committee so far as they may be applied, with the exception of those governing the election of a Speaker, the seconding of motions, the number of times a Member may speak, and the length of speeches.

[283] For further information, see Chapter 20, “Committees”.

[284] The House may adopt a time allocation motion (Standing Order 78) which applies to the committee stage of a bill (see, for example, Journals, March 22, 1995, pp. 1259‑60; April 25, 1996, pp. 260‑1; February 24, 2000, pp. 1018‑9). The House may also adopt a special order to that effect (see, for example, Journals, March 22, 1982, pp. 4626‑8).

[285] Standing Committee on Industry, Minutes of Proceedings, March 23, 1999, Meeting No. 104. The Speaker has declined to intervene when Members have risen on points of order concerning time allocation motions adopted in committee (see, for example, Debates, November 6, 2006, pp. 4755‑6).

[286] Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings, October 15, 1997, Meeting No. 3; April 2, 1998, Meeting No. 67; May 5, 1998, Meeting No. 80; Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, November 8, 2006, Meeting No. 31; Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Minutes of Proceedings, February 11, 2008, Meeting No. 11. On occasion, a committee’s examination of bills may become particularly acrimonious and the committee may find that it has reached a deadlock. On March 19, 1990, when the Standing Committee on Finance was considering Bill C‑62, An Act to implement the goods and services tax, a motion was made to establish a timetable for completing the examination of the bill which resulted in a debate that went on for 31 hours. The Chairman then decided to terminate the debate and imposed a form of closure. His action was based on a case which occurred in the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs in 1984, where the Chairman had made an identical ruling in similar circumstances (see Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 6, 1984, Issue No. 36, pp. 3‑7). The Chairman’s right to make such a ruling was challenged and appealed, but the ruling was upheld by a majority of the Committee. The Finance Committee then commenced its consideration of the bill, in accordance with the ruling of the Chair (Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 19, 1990, Issue No. 103, pp. 665‑9). Later, when the action of the Chairman was challenged in the House, the Speaker ruled that this was a matter within the competence of the Finance Committee, and stated that it was not the role of the Speaker to supervise committee Chairmen (Debates, March 26, 1990, pp. 9756‑8). The Standing Committee on Finance subsequently presented a report in the House in which it asked that the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections examine the rules and procedures as they relate to the limitation of debate in cases where a committee has reached an impasse. The House concurred in the report and, consequently, the Committee on Privileges and Elections undertook the study in question (Journals, April 30, 1990, pp. 1612‑3; Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 30, 1990, Issue No. 111, pp. 3‑7). In its Twenty‑Fifth Report, presented to the House on March 20, 1991, the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections indicated that Standing Order 78 on time allocation is the appropriate mechanism to limit debate on a bill when there is an impasse in committee. The report was never concurred in by the House (Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 14, 1991, Issue No. 41, pp. 3‑15; Journals, March 20, 1991, p. 2727).

[287] See, for example, Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Minutes of Proceedings, July 26, 2007, Meeting No. 61.

[288] For a variety of reasons, some committees have not heard any witnesses other than the Minister and his or her officials, and have immediately commenced clause‑by‑clause consideration of the bill. See, for example, Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, March 4, 2008, Meeting No. 16. An uncontroversial bill may be considered at a single meeting. See, for example, Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, Minutes of Proceedings, October 27, 2005, Meeting No. 60; Standing Committee on Health, Minutes of Proceedings, January 31, 2007, Meeting No. 35.

[289] In addition to offering the services of research officers, the Library of Parliament produces “legislative summaries”. These documents provide Members of Parliament with explanatory information on most government bills. The departments also often provide members of the committee and their staff with very detailed information packages on the bill.

[290] Standing Order 120.

[291] In that case, examination of Clause 1 is postponed, as provided by Standing Order 75(1).

[292] For an example of the appearance of a Minister during clause-by-clause consideration: Special Committee on Electoral Reform, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 15, 1993, Issue No. 16, pp. 3, 7; for the appearance of a Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary during clause‑by‑clause consideration: Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Minutes of Proceedings, November 25, 2004, Meeting No. 9.

[293] In general, officials who are specialists in the matters affected by the bill attend most or all of the meetings of the committee devoted to the consideration of the bill.

[294] In 2007, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, in anticipation of hearing witnesses, considered Bills C‑6, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (visual identification of voters) and C‑18, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (verification of residence) at the same time in a televised meeting at which Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, appeared before the Committee (Minutes of Proceedings, November 22, 2007, Meeting No. 6; November 27, 2007, Meeting No. 7).

[295] See, for example, Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 24, 1994, Issue No. 65, p. 3; March 15, 1995, Issue No. 89, p. 3; March 16, 1995, Issue No. 91, p. 3; Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, December 4, 2007, Meeting No. 9; December 11, 2007, Meeting No. 11.

[296] Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, June 17, 1996, Issue No. 32, pp. 1‑2.

[297] During its consideration of Bill C‑32, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1998, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development decided to examine the preamble before considering the clauses. The Committee had first decided, by unanimous consent, to allow the clauses and schedules to stand. A general discussion of the preamble was held, and no amendments were proposed. The preamble was then allowed to stand and examination of the preamble resumed at the end of the process, at which time amendments to it were proposed (Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Minutes of Proceedings, November 3, 1998, Meeting No. 79).

[298] Standing Order 75(1). See also Journals, October 9, 1964, p. 780.

[299] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 205; May, 23rd ed., pp. 601, 613‑5.

[300] See, for example, Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings, May 7, 1996, Issue No. 10, pp. 3‑4, 9‑13; Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, March 26, 1998, Meeting No. 47; Legislative Committee on Bill C-38, Minutes of Proceedings, June 15, 2005, Meeting No. 21; Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Minutes of Proceedings, November 3, 2005, Meeting No. 61. Sometimes, only a single new clause is added to a bill. See, for example, Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Minutes of Proceedings, June 5, 2007, Meeting No. 66; Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Minutes of Proceedings, December 13, 2007, Meeting No. 8.

[301] During its consideration of Bill C‑32, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1998, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development examined the preamble and, after it was carried, began its consideration of an element of the bill called the “Declaration”; it then went on to examine the title (Minutes of Proceedings, March 25, 1999, Meeting No. 116).

[302] See, for example, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Minutes of Proceedings, November 19, 1998, Meeting No. 83; Standing Committee on Health, Minutes of Proceedings, December 10, 2002, Meeting No. 16; Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, Minutes of Proceedings, May 13, 2003, Meeting No. 40.

[303] See, for example, Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 29, 1983, Issue No. 132, pp. 8, 48.

[304] See, for example, Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Minutes of Proceedings, November 29, 2007, Meeting No. 4.

[305] May, 23rd ed., pp. 602‑3.

[306] May, 23rd ed., p. 603.

[307] May, 23rd ed., p. 400.

[308] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 207.

[309] May, 23rd ed., p. 606.

[310] See, for example, Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 14, 1985, Issue No. 12, p. 6.

[311] May, 23rd ed., p. 605. See, for example, Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, March 26, 1998, Meeting No. 47; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑2, Minutes of Proceedings, June 14, 2006, Meeting No. 27.

[312] Standing Order 114.

[313] Standing Order 119. See, for example, Legislative Committee on Bill C‑6, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, October 29, 1986, Issue No. 1, p. 95; Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 18, 1993, Issue No. 33, pp. 18‑9.

[314] Standing Order 9.

[315] See, for example, Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, Evidence, November 22, 2007, Meeting No. 3, p. 16. For further information regarding the casting vote, see Chapter 7, “The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House”.

[316] Standing Order 141(3).

[317] Standing Order 116.

[318] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 206. See also May, 23rd ed., p. 603.

[319] See, for example, Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Minutes of Proceedings, March 23, 2004, Meeting No. 8; Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri‑Food, Minutes of Proceedings, April 21, 2005, Meeting No. 37. The Chair of the committee may also simply urge timely submission of amendments. See, for example, Legislative Committee on Bill C‑126, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 27, 1993, Issue No. 3, p. 29.

[320] May, 23rd ed., p. 399.

[321] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 206.

[322] Beauchesne, 6th ed., pp. 206‑7. See, for example, Legislative Committee on Bill C‑55, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 11, 1987, Issue No. 10, p. 24.

[323] Standing Order 10.

[324] Standing Order 117. For examples of decisions regarding the admissibility of amendments that have been appealed, see Standing Committee on Human Resources and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Minutes of Proceedings, April 30, 1998, Meeting No. 33; Standing Committee on National Resources and Government Operations, Minutes of Proceedings, November 24, 1998, Meeting No. 47; Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings, May 30, 2007, Meeting No. 88; Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Minutes of Proceedings, January 30, 2008, Meeting No. 10.

[325] See, for example, Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 18, 1995, Issue No. 47, p. 7.

[326] May, 23rd ed., p. 612.

[327] For further information regarding report stage, see the section in this chapter entitled “Report Stage”.

[328] May, 23rd ed., p. 607. See, for example, the decision of the Chair: Legislative Committee on Bill C‑144, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 9, 1988, Issue No. 7, pp. 8, 10; Standing Committee on Official Languages, Minutes of Proceedings, October 20, 2005, Meeting No. 46; Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, October 24, 2006, Meeting No. 24.

[329] May, 23rd ed., p. 608. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 13, 1982, Issue No. 52, pp. 5, 82‑3; Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, August 31, 1983, Issue No. 124, pp. 8‑9; September 14, 1983, Issue No. 134, p. 5; September 19, 1983, Issue No. 138, pp. 3‑4.

[330] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 207. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 8, 1983, Issue No. 129, p. 4; Standing Committee on Communications and Culture, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 20, 1985, Issue No. 29, pp. 3‑4, 29‑30; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑58, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, July 5, 1988, Issue No. 3, p. 9; Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, May 31, 2007, Meeting No. 73.

[331] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 207. See, for example, the decisions of the Chair: Legislative Committee on Bill C‑84, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, August 25, 1987, Issue No. 9, p. 9; Legislative Committee on Bill C-2, Minutes of Proceedings, November 20, 2007, Meeting No. 8; Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minutes of Proceedings, February 7, 2008, Meeting No. 12.

[332] May, 23rd ed., pp. 607‑8. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Communications and Culture, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 21, 1985, Issue No. 30, pp. 5‑6; Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 28, 1992, Issue No. 50, pp. 8‑9.

[333] May, 23rd ed., p. 607. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Legislative Committee on Bill C‑62, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, January 23, 1986, Issue No. 13, pp. 3, 6‑7; January 28, 1986, Issue No. 14, p. 7; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑144, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 9, 1988, Issue No. 7, pp. 8, 11.

[334] May, 23rd ed., p. 607. See, for example, decision of the Chair: Standing Committee on Regional Economic Expansion, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 17, 1985, Issue No. 24, pp. 15‑6.

[335] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 207. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, July 10, 1980, Issue No. 12, p. 11; Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 13, 1984, Issue No. 20, p. 5; Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 5, 1995, Issue No. 111, pp. 64‑6; Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri‑Food, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, October 8, 1996, Issue No. 36, p. 2; November 27, 1996, Issue No. 50, p. 3; December 12, 1996, Issue No. 6, p. 5; Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, February 18, 1999, Meeting No. 90; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑30, Evidence, March 27, 2007, Meeting No. 21, p. 16.

[336] See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Labour, Manpower and Immigration, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 2, 1982, Issue No. 19, p. 6; Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 19, 1983, Issue No. 138, p. 4; Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 13, 1984, Issue No. 19, p. 6; Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 18, 1985, Issue No. 27, pp. 3‑4; Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri‑Food, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, October 22, 1996, Issue No. 4, p. 10; Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Evidence, December 11, 2007, Meeting No. 7, p. 1.

[337] See Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[338] May, 23rd ed., p. 609. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Government Operations, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 3, 1991, Issue No. 29, pp. 4‑6, 16‑32; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑30, Minutes of Proceedings, March 28, 2007, Meeting No. 24.

[339] May, 23rd ed., pp. 608‑9. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, July 8, 1980, Issue No. 11, p. 8; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑144, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 9, 1988, Issue No. 7, p. 20; Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 7, 1991, Issue No. 12, pp. 18, 29‑30; Standing Committee on Human Resources and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Minutes of Proceedings, April 30, 1998, Meeting No. 33; Standing Committee on National Resources and Government Operations, Minutes of Proceedings, November 24, 1998, Meeting No. 47; Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Evidence, February 20, 2007, Meeting No. 50, p. 1.

[340] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 207; May, 23rd ed., p. 609. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, July 7, 1982, Issue No. 75, p. 4; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑79, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 7, 1985, Issue No. 7, p. 4; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑45, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 10, 1986, Issue No. 8, pp. 7‑8.

[341] May, 23rd ed., p. 608. See, for example, decision of the Chair: Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 13, 1984, Issue No. 19, pp. 4‑5.

[342] May, 23rd ed., p. 609. See, for example, decision of the Chair: Standing Committee on Communications and Culture, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 18, 1986, Issue No. 40, p. 7.

[343] See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, May 21, 1970, pp. 835‑7. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, August 31, 1983, Issue No. 124, p. 5; September 21, 1983, Issue No. 143, pp. 14‑5; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑45, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 10, 1986, Issue No. 8, pp. 5‑6; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑37, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 24, 1987, Issue No. 10, p. 4; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑55, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 10, 1987, Issue No. 9, pp. 3‑4; Standing Committee on Industry, Minutes of Proceedings, December 4, 1997, Meeting No. 16; Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings, April 23, 2002, Meeting No. 92.

[344] See, for example, Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri‑Food, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 28, 1996, Issue No. 51, p. 1; Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings, April 23, 2002, Meeting No. 92.

[345] May, 23rd ed., p. 606‑7; Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 194; Journals, May 17, 1956, p. 568; Debates, July 13, 1981, p. 11463. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Subcommittee (of the Standing Committee on Communications and Culture) on Bill C‑62, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 12, 1993, Issue No. 9, pp. 51‑3; Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, December 6, 2007, Meeting No. 10. Nonetheless, this kind of technical drafting change may be made in a subsequent reprinting of the bill, to reflect amendments to the bill and changes in the order of clauses and schedules (May, 23rd ed., pp. 606-7). Editorial and technical amendments are not the responsibility of Parliament. That task falls instead to the legislative revisors who verify the accuracy of the marginal notes and headings before the statute is published. See, for example, Standing Committee on Environment, Evidence, December 1, 1998, Meeting No. 87.

[346] See footnote 125.

[347] See Acting Speaker’s ruling, Journals, May 14, 1970, p. 807; Speaker Jerome’s ruling, Journals, October 16, 1975, pp. 772‑3; and Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, August 15, 1988, p. 18308. See also, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on Labour, Manpower and Immigration, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 13, 1978, Issue No. 20, pp. 5‑6; Special Committee on the Non-medical Use of Drugs (Bill C-38), Minutes of Proceedings, November 5, 2003, Meeting No. 10.

[348] Beauchesne, 6th ed., pp. 206, 209.

[349] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 209.

[350] May, 23rd ed., pp. 615‑6.

[351] See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, January 19, 1970, pp. 322‑3.

[352] May, 23rd ed., p. 616. See, for example, decisions of the Chair: Standing Committee on National Resources and Public Works, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 25, 1981, Issue No. 69, pp. 82‑3; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑18, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 14, 1989, Issue No. 11, pp. 4‑5.

[353] See, for example, Standing Committee on Transport, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 7, 1996, Issue No. 10, p. 14.

[354] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 193. See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, June 11, 1973, pp. 394‑5 and the decision of the Chair: Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 15, 1973, Issue No. 11, p. 3.

[355] Standing Order 75(1). It was only in 1964 that the House adopted a rule providing that the question be called on the title at the end of the consideration of the bill (Journals, October 9, 1964, p. 780).

[356] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 209. See, for example, Journals, February 13, 1970, pp. 433‑4. See also Speaker Sauvé’s rulings, Debates, July 30, 1982, p. 19866; August 3, 1982, pp. 19958‑9; Chair’s ruling, Debates, July 7, 1988, p. 17287; Chair’s decision, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Minutes of Proceedings, December 1, 1998, Meeting No. 57; Committee’s decisions (unopposed by the Chair), Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Minutes of Proceedings, November 3, 2005, Meeting No. 61.

[357] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 209; Journals, February 20, 1970, p. 477. See, for example, Journals, November 23, 2005, p. 1325.

[358] See, for example, Standing Committee on Finance, Minutes of Proceedings, December 5, 2006, Meeting No. 55.

[359] See, for example, Standing Committee on Industry, Minutes of Proceedings, November 5, 1998, Meeting No. 70; Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, Minutes of Proceedings, November 17, 1998, Meeting No. 81; Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Minutes of Proceedings, March 10, 2005, Meeting No. 27.

[360] See Debates, April 6, 1970, p. 5520; Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 209.

[361] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 233.

[362] See, for example, Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 13, 1976, Issue No. 99, p. 4; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑79, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 7, 1985, Issue No. 7, pp. 13‑5; 19‑20; Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 10, 1986, Issue No. 17, pp. 26‑30; Legislative Committee on Bill C‑130, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, August 4, 1988, Issue No. 23, pp. 19‑20.

[363] See, for example, Debates, June 29, 1983, p. 26943; June 13, 1984, p. 4624.

[364] See, for example, Journals, December 20, 1973, pp. 774‑5; December 9, 1974, pp. 179‑81.

[365] Journals, December 20, 1973, p. 774. See also Journals, December 13, 1973, p. 745.

[366] Standing Order 108(2). See, for example, the Eighth and Ninth Reports of the Standing Committee on Industry on Bill C‑20, An Act to amend the Competition Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts (Journals, May 27, 1998, p. 896); Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Evidence, May 28, 2003, Meeting No. 49.

[367] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 520‑1.

[368] Standing Order 75.

[369] Standing Committee on Justice and Legal affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 6, 1976, Issue No. 45, pp. 5‑7.

[370] See, for example, Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Minutes of Proceedings, March 24, 1999, Meeting No. 130; Journals, April 19, 1999, p. 1733; Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Minutes of Proceedings, June 12, 2007, Meeting No. 80; Journals, June 13, 2007, p. 1519. See also Legislative Committee on Bill C‑289, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 18, 1993, Issue No. 3, pp. 4‑5; Journals, February 23, 1993, p. 2546 (the Committee reported solely to inform the House that it disagreed to all the clauses, the title and the bill itself); Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 7, 1995, Issue No. 115, pp. 20‑2 (the Committee decided not to report a bill that it had negatived, with all its clauses and its title).

[371] For example, an order made after the adoption of a motion to allot time that applies to the committee stage of a bill (Standing Order 78).

[372] Standing Order 97.1.

[373] See Speaker Parent’s ruling, Debates, September 23, 1996, p. 4561.

[374] The Speaker may also allow such a motion to be placed under the rubric “Motions” and be dealt with under Routine Proceedings, on the condition that debate on the motion be strictly limited to the terms of the committal of a bill to the committee and that it not amount to an attempt to interfere with the committee’s proceedings. In so doing, the House would have an opportunity to determine whether the bill should remain in committee or be reported back.

[375] See, for example, the Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Health, presented to the House on April 11, 2005 (Journals, p. 601).

[376] See, for example, the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Health, presented to the House on June 1, 2005 (Journals, p. 816); Eleventh Report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented to the House on February 15, 2007 (Journals, p. 1015).

[377] Standing Order 97.1. The first version of the Standing Order came into force on the first sitting day of 1999 (Journals, November 30, 1998, p. 1329) and was amended to its present form on May 11, 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 2008, in order to avoid having a bill which it had been considering deemed reported, a committee reported the bill with some amendments and immediately presented a second report explaining the circumstances which had prevented it from effectively completing its study of the bill (Debates, April 29, 2008, p. 5199).

[378] See, for example, Journals, April 20, 1909, p. 312; March 16, 1915, pp. 140‑1; June 26, 1919, p. 467; May 16, 1929, p. 415; April 4, 1939, p. 297.

[379] See, for example, Special Joint Committee on Bill C‑116, Conflicts of Interests of Public Holders Act, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 2, 1993, Issue No. 5, p. 4; Journals, June 3, 1993, p. 3107, Debates, p. 20292; Twentieth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, presented to the House on October 5, 2005, (Journals, pp. 1105‑6) and concurred in on October 18, 2005 (Journals pp. 1169-70); Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented to the House on May 7, 2008 (Journals, p. 784).

[380] See, for example, Legislative Committee H on Bill C‑203, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, February 18, 1992, Issue No. 10, p. 3 (the Committee adjourned its proceedings sine die); Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, May 14, 1996, Issue No. 17, pp. 2‑4; May 16, 1996, Issue No. 18, p. 1; June 18, 1996, Issue No. 35, pp. 1‑2; October 21, 1996, Issue No. 54, p. 34; December 4, 1996, Issue No. 89, pp. 26‑7 (the Committee decided not to report to the House).

[381] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 520‑1.

[382] Debates, February 26, 1992, p. 7624. See also Speaker Parent’s ruling, Debates, September 23, 1996, pp. 4560‑2.

[383] Standing Order 117.

[384] In 1993, the members of a committee rejected the decision of their Chair, who had ruled three proposed amendments to a bill to be out of order (Standing Committee on Agriculture, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 31, 1992, Issue No. 35, pp. 4‑5, 38‑43, 48). The amendments were then adopted by the Committee and included in the report to the House. Following a point of order raised in the House in respect of this matter, the Speaker upheld the ruling of the Chair and ordered that the three amendments be struck from the bill. The House subsequently agreed to two of the three amendments, by unanimous consent (Journals, April 28, 1992, pp. 1326‑7; Debates, April 28, 1992, pp. 9801‑2). See also Debates, February 26, 2007, pp. 7311‑4; February 27, 2007, pp. 7343‑6, 7386‑7. In 2006, after a committee upheld their Chair’s ruling of admissibility (Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Minutes of Proceedings, June 21, 2006, Meeting No. 13) with respect to an amendment, the ruling was challenged in a point of order in the House. The Speaker found the bill as reported to the House to be procedurally in order. He added that the House might choose to revisit the particular amendment that had given rise to the point of order, using “the appropriate mechanisms provided for under the Report Stage rules” (Debates, October 26, 2006, pp. 4308‑9).

[385] In 2007, a point of order was raised in the House dealing with the admissibility of three of the amendments to a bill contained in a report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Debates, February 26, 2007, pp. 7311‑3, February 27, 2007, pp. 7343‑6, 7386‑7). Speaker Milliken ruled two of the amendments out of order, finding that they imported into the bill concepts and terms not present in the bill, and were therefore beyond the scope of the bill. He ordered that the amendments be declared null and void, and no longer form part of the bill as reported to the House (Journals, February 27, 2007, p. 1075).

[386] In 1981, Deputy Speaker Francis, on his own initiative (that is, no point of order having been raised in this respect), ruled an amendment agreed to by the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates to be out of order, as it went beyond the terms of the original Royal Recommendation and offended the financial initiative of the Crown (Journals, April 7, 1981, p. 1671). Conversely, on a number of occasions the Chair has ruled that amendment(s) adopted in committee have had the effect of eliminating the need for a royal recommendation. See, for example, Debates, November 23, 2005, pp. 10060‑1; October 17, 2007, p. 53.

[387] Debates, April 28, 1992, p. 9801.

[388] A member of the committee may be designated by the Chair of the committee to present the report. See, for example, Journals, October 30, 1998, p. 1218; February 15, 2008, p. 452.

[389] See, for example, Journals, December 10, 2007, p. 283; February 11, 2008, pp. 416‑7.

[390] See, for example, Debates, May 26, 1954, p. 5115. See also Stewart, p. 85; Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[391] Dawson, W.F., Procedure in the Canadian House of Commons, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962, p. 234.

[392] Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 932‑3.

[393] Journals, December 6, 1968, pp. 432‑4; December 20, 1968, pp. 554‑62.

[394] Between 1968 and 1982, Standing Order 76(7) imposed a 20‑minute limit on speeches at report stage, but provided certain exemptions. In 1982, the House decided to limit all speeches to 10 minutes at this stage (Journals, November 5, 1982, p. 5328; November 29, 1982, p. 5400; see also the Third Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, presented to the House on November 5, 1982, Issue No. 7, pp. 3, 18). In 2005, the Standing Order was provisionally amended to restore the 20-minute limit to the first Member from each of the recognized parties speaking during proceedings on the first amendment at report stage (Journals, February 18, 2005, pp. 453, 455). The change was made permanent in 2006 (Journals, October 25, 2006, p. 579). Standing Order 43 was amended at the same time to provide for a five‑minute period for questions and comments following each 10-minute speech (Journals, February 18, 2005, p. 451).

[395] Journals, February 6, 1986, pp. 1665‑6; February 13, 1986, p. 1710.

[396] Journals, February 7, 1994, p. 112. Sections (1) to (10) of the present Standing Order 76 were added at that time.

[397] Among these were Bill C-9, An Act to give effect to the Nisga’a Final Agreement, with 469 motions in amendment selected for debate at report stage (see Journals, December 2, 1999, p. 264) and Bill C-20, An Act to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference, with 411 motions in amendment selected for debate at report stage (see Journals, March 3, 2000, pp. 1068‑9).

[398] This “note” is appended to Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5). See Journals, February 26, 2001, pp. 131‑2; February 27, 2001, pp. 141‑2, See also Speaker Milliken’s statement concerning this addition to the rules (Debates, March 21, 2001, pp. 1991‑3).

[399] Debates, March 1, 2000, pp. 4211‑3; March 13, 2000, pp. 4375‑6; Journals, March 16, 2000, p. 1403.

[400] Thirty-Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on June 9, 2000 (Journals, p. 1836).

[401] This means “… any motion to amend, delete, insert or restore any clause in a bill” (Standing Orders 76(2) and 76.1(2)). See, for example, Journals, April 9, 2008, p. 676 (amend); January 31, 2008, p. 367 (delete); June 20, 2006, pp. 301‑2 (insert); April 30, 2007, pp. 1278‑9 (restore).

[402] Notice sent by facsimile is not proper notice. In 1993, Speaker Fraser ruled: “… all notices submitted for the Notice Paper and received by fax … are accepted as advance notice and cannot be considered official unless supported by the member’s original signature on the document in question …” (Debates, February 15, 1993, pp. 15899‑900). Since 2005, however, Members have also been able to satisfy the requirement for written notice by submitting items electronically following a secure protocol by means of which their identities are confirmed (see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”).

[403] Standing Order 76.1(2).

[404] Standing Order 76(2).

[405] Standing Order 54(1). Even once a motion in amendment has been found admissible and placed on the Notice Paper, it may be withdrawn unilaterally (by written notification to the Clerk) by its sponsor until such time as it has been proposed to the House (see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”).

[406] Standing Orders 28(2) and 54(2).

[407] In practice, this may create a problem for Members because, with the exception of the minimum notice of two or three sitting days required by Standing Orders 76(1) and 76.1(1), the day on which consideration of the report stage commences is normally unknown. To overcome this difficulty, most notices are filed as soon as possible after the report of the committee is presented to the House. In 1970, when a Member tried to move an amendment after consideration of a bill at report stage had commenced, the Chair refused to accept the motion, pointing out that the Chair’s task of selecting and grouping amendments at report stage would be “practically impossible” if the Chair “were faced a few days later with a discussion on another series of similar motions” (Journals, June 2, 1970, pp. 908‑9).

[408] Standing Orders 76(4) and 76.1(4). See also Chair’s ruling, Debates, December 30, 1971, pp. 10886‑7.

[409] See Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[410] Standing Orders 76(3) and 76.1(3). See, for example, Notice Paper, December 7, 2006, p. V.

[411] See Speakers Fraser and Milliken’s rulings (Debates, September 21, 1987, p. 9142; June 2, 1992, p. 11247; November 15, 2004, p. 1299). Some motions ruled inadmissible by Speakers have been reinstated by unanimous consent (see, for example, Debates, June 17, 2002, p. 12797).

[412] See the section in this chapter entitled “Rules”.

[413] For further information, see, for example, Notice Paper, June 11, 1999, pp. V‑IX. See also Speaker Jerome’s ruling, Debates, June 29, 1976, pp. 14961‑5. In 2008, a Parliamentary Secretary rose on a point of order to argue that a number of motions in amendment proposing to delete specific clauses of a bill infringed upon the financial initiative of the Crown by failing to respect the conditions and qualifications set out in the Royal Recommendation attached to the bill (Debates, May 5, 2008, pp. 5431-2; May 6, 2008, pp. 5502‑3).

[414] Debates, June 20, 1969, p. 10497. While motions to delete clauses in a schedule are in order, Speakers have ruled that the deletion of all of the clauses in a schedule ought to be accomplished by means of a single motion, rather than by a separate motion for each clause (see, for example, Debates, October 19, 1999, p. 335).

[415] A motion in amendment that requires the expenditure of additional public funds, and is not accompanied by a royal recommendation, is out of order (Debates, August 15, 1988, p. 18307; May 2, 1996, p. 2214; June 7, 2000, p. 7633; November 26, 2001, p. 7479; June 4, 2007, p. 10059). An amendment that would in some way change the objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications of a royal recommendation is also out of order (Debates, February 5, 1973, pp. 957‑8; March 31, 1987, pp. 4744‑5), as is an amendment that would impose a tax on the population that was not preceded by the adoption of a ways and means motion or that exceeds the scope or limitations of that motion (Debates, December 19, 1984, p. 1380). In the past, with the unanimous consent of the House, a new ways and means motion has been adopted and a Minister has moved amendments to bills that exceeded the provisions of the original ways and means motion. For an example in which the House gave unanimous consent at report stage, see Debates, May 26, 1981, pp. 9931‑2, 9948.

[416] Debates, August 15, 1988, p. 18306.

[417] Debates, June 27, 2005, pp. 7792‑3.

[418] Debates, October 3, 1983, p. 27675.

[419] See, for example, Debates, April 16, 1969, pp. 7604‑5; October 16, 1975, p. 8290; June 23, 1977, pp. 7052‑3; July 15, 1977, pp. 7717, 7727; July 15, 1988, p. 17617; December 9, 1997, p. 2947; January 29, 2008, pp. 2312‑3.

[420] See, for example, Debates, July 20, 1973, pp. 5841‑2; June 29, 1976, pp. 14960‑1; April 30, 2007, p. 8848.

[421] See, for example, Debates, May 21, 1970, pp. 7166‑7; September 27, 1971, pp. 8189‑90; August 15, 1988, p. 18306.

[422] See, for example, Debates, June 7, 1971, pp. 6435‑6; March 19, 1993, p. 17290; April 2, 1993, p. 18003; June 27, 2005, pp. 7792‑3.

[423] See, for example, Debates, June 19, 1970, pp. 8368‑9; June 11, 1973, pp. 4624‑5; June 27, 2005, pp. 7792‑3.

[424] See, for example, Debates, April 2, 1974, pp. 1101‑2.

[425] See Speaker Lamoureux’s rulings, Debates, April 16, 1969, pp. 7601‑2; April 25, 1969, p. 7963.

[426] Standing Orders 76(6) and 76.1(6). See Chair’s rulings, Debates, April 28, 1969, p. 8068; November 28, 1973, p. 8233. See, for example, Journals, June 15, 1995, p. 1766; November 4, 1996, p. 818; December 9, 1997, pp. 365‑6; April 30, 2007, pp. 1289‑92.

[427] See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Debates, April 29, 1969, pp. 8147‑8.

[428] See Chair’s ruling, Debates, June 11, 1973, pp. 4647‑8.

[429] Stewart, p. 86.

[430] Journals, December 6, 1968, p. 434.

[431] See the present Standing Order 76.1(5).

[432] See the Third Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, presented to the House on June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839), pp. 40‑2, in particular p. 41.

[433] Journals, February 13, 1986, p. 1710. See also Journals, February 6, 1986, pp. 1665‑6; page 6 of the Response of the Government to the Third Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, presented to the House on October 9, 1985 (Journals, p. 1082).

[434] Journals, February 26, 2001, pp. 131‑2; February 27, 2001, pp. 141‑3.

[435] Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5) (see, more specifically, the notes accompanying those Standing Orders).

[436] See, for example, Debates, May 21, 1970, pp. 7166‑7; June 11, 1973, pp. 4624‑5.

[437] Debates, December 6, 1990, p. 16357.

[438] Standing Orders 76(2) and 76.1(2). See also Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 9, 1994, Issue No. 16, p. 6; Journals, June 8, 1994, p. 545; June 10, 1994, p. 563.

[439] See Speaker Milliken’s statement, Debates, March 21, 2001, pp. 1991‑3.

[440] In this case, the amendment may be selected if notice of the recommendation has been given in accordance with Standing Orders 76(3) or 76.1(3).

[441] Note accompanying Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5). See, for example, Debates, January 31, 2007, p. 6218. Motions not selected by the Speaker for this reason have sometimes been reinstated by unanimous consent. See, for example, Debates, November 15, 2004, pp. 1299, 1308‑9; June 20, 2006, pp. 2627, 2647.

[442] Note accompanying Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5). See, for example, Debates, April 3, 2000, pp. 5558‑9, 5608‑9. Speakers have also declared their willingness to hear arguments from Members for selection on this basis. See, for example, Debates, November 21, 2006, p. 5125.

[443] Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5) were amended to this effect on February 7, 1994 (Journals, pp. 113‑4).

[444] See, for example, Debates, November 17, 1998, pp. 10055‑6; December 2, 1998, p. 10794; February 6, 2007, p. 6485; April 10, 2008, p. 4768.

[445] See, for example, Debates, February 9, 2005, p. 3282 (a royal recommendation was not obtained for an amendment that required such a recommendation); March 10, 2008, p. 3823 (the same amendment had been negatived in committee).

[446] See, for example, Debates, April 16, 2002, p. 10421; June 10, 2005, pp. 6926‑7, 6941. If already proposed to the House, motions reassigned to another group are not proposed to the House a second time when debate begins on that group of motions.

[447] Standing Orders 76(6) and 76.1(6).

[448] See Chair’s rulings, Debates, February 3, 1969, pp. 5084‑5; November 17, 1982, p. 20746.

[449] See, for example, Debates, March 3, 2000, p. 4350; June 3, 2003, pp. 6812‑3.

[450] Standing Order 76.1(1).

[451] Standing Order 76(1).

[452] See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, October 6, 1970, pp. 1417‑20; and Speaker Jerome’s rulings, Debates, July 15, 1977, p. 7712; March 9, 1979, pp. 3999‑4000. The intervals imposed by Standing Orders 76(1) and 76.1(1) are occasionally waived by unanimous consent. See, for example, Journals, October 5, 2000, p. 2045.

[453] See, for example, Debates, June 14, 1995, p. 13847; June 20, 2006, p. 302.

[454] See, for example, Debates, February 12, 1993, p. 15828; June 5, 1995, p. 13267; November 26, 1998, p. 10525; February 25, 2002, p. 9216; June 27, 2005, p. 7793. For examples of motions that were not debated in the absence of the Member, see Debates, March 23, 1992, p. 8592; November 27, 1995, p. 16846; March 4, 1997, pp. 8603, 8613; February 23, 2003, p. 3042. For examples of motions that were not debated in the absence of the Member and where the House did not consent to the amendments being moved by another Member, see Debates, June 3, 1992, p. 11366; April 24, 1997, pp. 10156‑7; January 28, 2003, p. 2767.

[455] Standing Orders 76(7) and 76.1(7).

[456] Standing Order 43(1).

[457] See Chair’s rulings, Debates, May 17, 1972, p. 2360; April 1, 1974, p. 1039. For more information on the rules of debate, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[458] Standing Orders 76(8) and 76.1(8).

[459] Notes accompanying Standing Orders 76(8) and 76.1(8). During the 1970s, recorded divisions were held on a number of motions in amendment at report stage before consideration of all of the motions moved at that stage had been concluded. See, for example, Journals, July 8, 1976, pp. 1410‑5; July 9, 1976, pp. 1417‑9; July 13, 1977, pp. 1350‑63; July 14, 1977, pp. 1371‑8.

[460] Standing Order 76(10).

[461] Standing Order 76(9). See, for example, Debates, March 25, 1996, p. 1207; November 7, 2006, p. 4808.

[462] Recorded divisions are sometimes demanded in cases in which there is no report stage debate. See, for example, Journals, April 25, 2007, pp. 1263‑4.

[463] Standing Order 76.1(11). See, for example, Journals, March 11, 1999, p. 1595. On one occasion, the rapidity with which this occurred led Members inadvertently to adopt the motion for third reading. Once Members understood that there could thus be no debate at third reading, the House consented unanimously to debate a motion that notwithstanding the adoption of the bill at third reading, the House take note of the bill, and that at the end of Government Orders, the motion be deemed withdrawn (Debates, June 6, 2006, pp. 1984‑5, 2006‑7).

[464] Standing Order 76.1(12).

[465] See, for example, Journals, October 6, 1998, pp. 1125‑6; December 6, 2007, p. 273.

[466] The Special Committee on Procedure (1968) believed it to be very important that there be an opportunity for debate at this stage of the legislative process (Journals, December 6, 1968, p. 433).

[467] Standing Order 76.1(11). See, for example, Journals, October 5, 1995, p. 2002. See also Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, February 24, 1969, pp. 738‑9. However, the interpretation of this provision must take into account the prohibition in Standing Order 71, which provides that the three readings of a bill must take place on different days.

[468] Standing Order 76.1(10).

[469] Standing Order 76(10).

[470] See, for example, Journals, April 16, 1997, p. 1474; May 2, 2008, p. 757.

[471] Standing Order 74.

[472] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 214. Motions ordinarily inadmissible at this stage have sometimes been adopted by unanimous consent. See, for example, Journals, October 24, 2005, pp. 1193‑4.

[473] See, for example, Debates, September 19, 1996, pp. 4467‑8; March 8, 2004, p. 1196.

[474] See, for example, Debates, November 9, 1995, p. 16402.

[475] Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 214. See, for example, Chair’s rulings, Debates, March 2, 1967, p. 13658; March 24, 1969, p. 7055; May 12, 1969, p. 8595; December 11, 1969, pp. 1858‑60; December 16, 1971, pp. 10545‑7.

[476] See, for example, Debates, November 24, 1970, pp. 1416‑7; Journals, April 23, 1993, p. 2854; May 2, 2008, p. 758.

[477] Debates, December 20, 1966, p. 11427; March 1, 1967, pp. 13636‑7; Journals, June 22, 2006, p. 349.

[478] Debates, December 18, 1990, pp. 16916‑7. Points of order have occasionally been raised alleging that amendments ruled admissible by the Chair sought to provide a mandatory instruction to a committee. See, for example, Debates, May 8, 2008, p. 5632.

[479] Journals, March 9, 1999, pp. 1580‑1; Debates, March 9, 1999, p. 12646.

[480] See, for example, Journals, May 16, 2008, p. 834.

[481] Standing Order 72.

[482] In 1968, a tax bill introduced by the Pearson government was defeated at third reading (Journals, February 19, 1968, pp. 702‑3). See also Journals, February 23, 1968, p. 713; Debates, February 23, 1968, p. 6923; Journals, February 28, 1968, pp. 719‑21.

[483] See, for example, Journals of the Senate, October 31, 1995, p. 1235; February 6, 2008, p. 487. The Senate may defeat a bill (see, for example, Bill C‑43, An Act respecting Abortion, Debates of the Senate, January 31, 1991, p. 5307) and even, although it rarely does so, refuse to consider a bill (see, for example, Bill C‑280, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan Act (disability pension), Journals of the Senate, February 13, 1992, pp. 528‑31; Journals, February 13, 1992, p. 1020).

[484] See, for example, Journals of the Senate, June 13, 2000, pp. 696‑9; Debates, November 22, 2001, pp. 7416‑7, 7455‑6.

[485] Senate Rule 74(1). This procedure arose during the 1940s, when the Estimates were examined by the Senate Finance Committee even before the subsequent supply bills were sent to the Senate. During the 1970s, this practice was extended to other bills at the initiative of Senator Hayden, and since then it has also been referred to as the “Hayden formula”. See, for example, Journals, November 2, 2001, p. 788.

[486] Debates, October 16, 2000, p. 9043. On February 11, 2008, the government had introduced a motion that “a message be sent to the Senate calling on the Senate to pass Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, by March 1, 2008” (Journals, pp. 415‑6). In order to call attention to their strong objections to any motion purporting to direct the Senate, Members of the Official Opposition left the Chamber en masse, immediately before the recorded division (Journals, February 12, 2008, pp. 425‑6).

[487] See, for example, Journals, April 9, 1997, p. 1369; February 12, 2008, p. 428.

[488] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 446; May, 23rd ed., pp. 567‑8. See also Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[489] See, for example, Journals, April 16, 1997, pp. 1479‑80; February 7, 2008, p. 407.

[490] See, for example, Journals, January 23, 1990, pp. 1091‑101.

[491] Speaker Milliken ruled that in the absence of a message from the Senate communicating its decisions in connection with a particular bill, the House ought not to consider what has not been properly brought to its attention (Debates, December 4, 2002, pp. 2267‑8).

[492] See Speaker Fraser’s rulings, Debates, July 11, 1988, pp. 17382‑5; April 26, 1990, pp. 10719‑26. See also Speaker Parent’s ruling, Debates, November 19, 1996, pp. 6410‑1, and Deputy Speaker Milliken’s ruling, Debates, June 9, 1999, pp. 16104‑5. Speakers have ruled that the division of a bill by the Senate is a matter of privilege only when the latter declines to seek the concurrence of the House. See, for example, Debates, December 5, 2002, pp. 2334‑6.

[493] Standing Order 77(1). It was not until 1991 that a specific requirement for notice with respect to the consideration of Senate amendments was incorporated into the Standing Orders (Journals, April 11, 1991, p. 2915).

[494] See, for example, Journals, May 9, 2008, p. 801.

[495] See, for example, Journals, November 20, 2006, pp. 705‑12; April 23, 2007, pp. 1245‑6.

[496] See, for example, Debates, May 5, 2005, pp. 5739‑40.

[497] See, for example, Journals, August 21, 1987, pp. 8283‑4; November 20, 2006, pp. 705‑12.

[498] See, for example, Journals, July 18, 1959, pp. 750‑1; May 8, 1990, p. 1661.

[499] See, for example, Debates, June 11, 1996, p. 3642; January 29, 2007, pp. 6065‑6.

[500] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 535.

[501] See, for example, Journals, July 12, 1988, p. 3160; May 8, 1990, p. 1663; February 6, 2008, p. 400. Speaker Parent ruled that a subamendment requesting the Senate to respond to a message from the House within a specific time was out of order because it went outside the scope of the amendment (Debates, November 19, 1996, p. 6452).

[502] See, for example, Journals, January 30, 2002, p. 983.

[503] Standing Order 43(1).

[504] Standing Order 78. See Debates, November 28, 1996, pp. 6831‑2; Journals, March 20, 1997, pp. 1322‑3; March 30, 2000, pp. 1513‑4; February 4, 2002, pp. 998‑9; May 6, 2003, pp. 739‑40.

[505] Standing Order 57. See Journals, March 13, 1990, pp. 1331‑2; June 20, 1995, pp. 1817‑8.

[506] On April 10, 2003, Speaker Milliken ruled that since the consideration of Senate amendments “is intrinsic to the legislative process”, there is no procedural impediment to the application of time allocation to this stage of the process (Debates, pp. 5363‑4).

[507] The last conference was held in 1947 (Journals, July 14, p. 905).

[508] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 274.

[509] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 278.

[510] Standing Order 77(4).

[511] See May, T.E., A Treatise Upon the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints Inc., 1971 (reprint of 1st ed., 1844), pp. 249‑58; Campion, 3rd ed., pp. 227‑32; Hatsell, J., Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, Vol. IV, South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints Inc., 1971 (reprint of 4th ed., 1818), pp. 1‑55; Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 79‑88; Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 274‑80; Kunz, F.A., The Modern Senate of Canada 1925‑1963: A Re‑Appraisal, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965, pp. 347‑65; Armitage, B., “Parliamentary Conferences”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, Summer 1990, pp. 29‑30.

[512] The first conference, which was held at the initiative of the House, took place at 8:30 p.m. on October 22, 1903 (Journals, p. 716); the second, at the initiative of the Senate, took place a little later in the evening, at 11:00 p.m. (Journals, p. 723). After hearing the report of the representatives when they returned from the second conference, the House asked that a third, free, conference be held “forthwith” (Journals, October 23, 1903, p. 727). The representatives at that conference reported to the House on October 23 (Journals, October 23, 1903, pp. 757‑8) and the issue was resolved on October 24 (Journals, October 24, 1903, p. 759).

[513] Journals, July 10, 1906, pp. 579‑80. At the time of Confederation, there was only one Standing Order providing that when the House requested a conference with the Senate, the reasons for disagreement had first to be “prepared and agreed to before a Message” was to be sent “forthwith”.

[514] Journals, July 12, 1905, pp. 500‑1.

[515] Standing Order 77(3).

[516] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 280.

[517] A review of the indexes to the Journals does not reveal a single instance of a conference being held between 1867 and 1902.

[518] These 13 conferences were held on the following dates: Journals, May 4, 1910, pp. 619‑20; June 18, 1919, p. 386; July 4, 1919, p. 521; May 27, 1921, p. 382 and May 28, 1921, p. 385; June 27, 1922, p. 519 (two conferences); July 16, 1924, p. 572; June 25, 1925, p. 532; May 27, 1933, p. 650; June 29, 1934, p. 562; June 24, 1938, p. 522; July 31, 1940, p. 307; July 14, 1947, p. 905. On one occasion, the Senate declined an invitation to participate in a free conference (Journals, July 19, 1924, p. 653).

[519] Senate Rule 78(3).

[520] In the British Parliament, the exchange of messages between the Commons and the House of Lords has made conferences obsolete (May, 23rd ed., p. 715, note 5). In Canada, in recent years, the Senate has tried to revive the procedure on two occasions. On November 18, 1987, the Senate passed a motion that the Leader of the Government in the Senate ask his Cabinet colleagues whether they would agree to a conference on Bill C‑22, An Act to amend the Patent Act. On November 19, the Leader of the Government in the Senate informed the Senators that the government would not recommend such a conference to the House of Commons (Debates of the Senate, November 18, 1987, pp. 2179‑84; November 19, 1987, pp. 2212‑3). On May 22, 1990, when the Senate was examining the possibility of sending to the House a message respecting the amendments it wished to make to Bill C‑21, An Act to amend the Unemployment Insurance Act, Senator Allan J. MacEachen moved that the motion being considered be referred to a conference between the two Houses of Parliament. Senator MacEachen’s amendment was negatived on October 22, 1990 (Journals of the Senate, May 22, 1990, pp. 991‑2; October 22, 1990, pp. 1848‑9).

[521] The number of managers has varied for each conference. For the conferences held in 1903, the numbers of Members and Senators were 12 and 6 respectively. For the conferences held in 1919, the numbers were 11 and 8; in 1922, 8 and 5; and in 1924, 5 and 3. In each of the other conferences, the numbers of Members and Senators were equal. For 5 of the 14 free conferences, the breakdown was three managers from each House.

[522] The records of proceedings show that the House adjourned for only 4 of the 14 free conferences. In the other cases, the House continued to sit, had not yet been convened or had suspended the sitting for dinner.

[523] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 275.

[524] May, 23rd ed., p. 652. Once a bill has received third reading in the House, a copy of the bill in the exact form passed by the House is inscribed on parchment (“engrossed”) and sent to the Senate. If the bill also receives third reading and passage in the Senate, the same parchment is used for the signifying of Royal Assent. Any amendments adopted by the Senate and agreed to by the House are inscribed on a second parchment (referred to as the “engrossed amendments”) which is appended to the first.

[525] Journals, June 4, 2002, p. 1471. See also, Royal Assent Act, S.C. 2002, c. 15 and Richardson, J.J., “Modernisation of Royal Assent in Canada”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, Summer 2004, pp. 32‑6. See, for example, Journals, February 7, 2008, p. 406.

[526] May, 11th ed., p. 459.

[527] Hayter, P.D.G., “Royal Assent: A New Form”, The Table, Vol. XXXVI, 1967, pp. 53‑4.

[528] The Queen’s refusal was expressed in the words La Reyne se avisera (May, 23rd ed., p. 654).

[529] For a description of the ceremony in the presence of a Monarch, see May, 23rd ed., p. 654, note 2. King George VI gave Royal Assent in person to certain bills of the Parliament of Canada (Journals, May 8, 1939, p. 437; May 19, 1939, pp. 525‑6).

[530] May, 23rd ed., pp. 653‑4. In 1965, an incident occurred in the British Parliament that led to the abolition of the ceremony of Royal Assent. While the House was engaged in passionate debate, the Black Rod knocked on the door of the House of Commons. A number of Members protested and rushed the Bar of the House to prevent him from entering. They refused to attend the ceremony and continued to debate, even after the Speaker had left the Chair (Hayter, p. 54).

[531] However, the adoption of this procedure did not lead to the abolition of the traditional ceremony, which the British Parliament still uses at the time of prorogation, nor does it offend the Queen’s prerogatives in this regard (Hayter, pp. 55‑7).

[532] Debates, March 30, 1933, pp. 3551‑2; March 29, 1984, p. 2544. In the 15 years preceding the passage of the Royal Assent Act in 2002, there were a number of proposals for reforming the procedure for giving Royal Assent. In 1985, the Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons (McGrath Committee) recommended that a formula be adopted for the Royal Assent to be given in writing (see the Second Report of the Committee, p. 118, presented to the House on March 26, 1985 (Journals, p. 420)). In its response to the Committee’s report, the government at the time indicated that it wanted to modernize the procedure for signifying Royal Assent, in consultation with the Senate (Journals, October 9, 1985, p. 1082). The Committee’s recommendation was supported by the Board of Internal Economy at its meeting on June 11, 1986 (Journals, October 10, 1986, p. 72). In 1993, the Standing Committee on House Management presented a report on parliamentary reform. In its Eighty-First Report, the Committee agreed to act on the recommendation in the McGrath Report (Standing Committee on House Management, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, Issue No. 53, April 1, 1993, p. 31). The Senate has also expressed interest in reforming Royal Assent. In 1985, the Fourth Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Standing Rules and Orders recommended that a simplified procedure be adopted (Debates of the Senate, November 6, 1985, pp. 1448, 1469). That report prompted a debate (Debates of the Senate, November 7, 1985, pp. 1480‑2; January 22, 1986, pp. 1860‑2; January 23, 1986, pp. 1873‑5) and was followed by the introduction of a government bill, Bill S‑19, Royal Assent Act, which was debated at second reading in July and September 1988, a few days before dissolution of the Thirty‑Third Parliament (Debates of the Senate, July 26, 1988, pp. 4122‑3; September 20, 1988, pp. 4463‑4). On April 2, 1998, another bill (Bill S‑15) to reform Royal Assent was introduced in the Senate, this time by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Lynch‑Staunton (Journals of the Senate, p. 576). After being debated at second reading, the bill was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on June 9, 1998 (Journals of the Senate, p. 788). The Committee reported it with amendments on June 18, 1998 (Journals of the Senate, pp. 862‑3; 898‑9). On December 8, 1998, after being debated, the bill was withdrawn (Journals of the Senate, pp. 1170‑2). On March 10, 1999, Senator Lynch‑Staunton introduced a new bill (S‑26) that was virtually identical to the former Bill S‑15, as amended by the Committee (Journals of the Senate, p. 1334).

[533] According to some observers, the Canadian ceremony seems to be the one that most closely resembles the original ceremony (Wilding, N. and Laundy, P., An Encyclopaedia of Parliament, 3rd ed., London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1968, p. 642). Most countries with a parliamentary system on the British model have abandoned the ceremony of Royal Assent. In the Australian Parliament, the ceremony has not taken place since the early years of the Australian Commonwealth. The usual practice is for the chamber that has initiated the bill to transmit copies of it to the residence of the Governor General, who affixes his or her signature. In New Zealand, the Governor General has not attended in person to assent to bills since 1875. The Governor General simply signs the two copies presented and returns them to the House with a message informing the House that assent has been given.

[534] Normally, Royal Assent is given only once in a sitting. There was a deviation from this practice on July 17, 1980, when the House was called to the Senate at noon and again at 9:00 p.m. in order for other bills to be assented to as well (Debates, July 17, 1980, pp. 2998, 3044‑5, 3051).

[535] S.C. 2002, c. 15.

[536] Unlike the process followed for a recall of the House to transact business, arrangements for a recall for Royal Assent are made administratively, without a letter from a Minister.

[537] Standing Order 28(4). This provision was added to the Standing Orders in June 1994 (Twenty‑Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 9, 1994, Issue No. 16, p. 3; Debates, June 8, 1994, p. 4997; June 10, 1994, p. 5183). See, for example, Debates, December 14, 2007, p. 2189.

[538] Standing Order 28(5) (Journals, June 13, 2002, p. 1579).

[539] Standing Order 32(1.1) (Journals, June 13, 2002, p. 1579).

[540] See, for example, Debates, March 9, 1966, pp. 2472‑3; February 27, 1969, p. 6034.

[541] See, for example, Debates, July 12, 1940, p. 1594; March 29, 1985, p. 3547; June 27, 1986, p. 14997.

[542] See, for example, Debates, March 9, 1966, p. 2472; July 14, 1966, p. 7728; March 24, 1975, p. 4446; December 20, 1975, p. 10257; October 22, 1976, pp. 390‑1; June 27, 1985, pp. 6331‑2; December 19, 1986, pp. 2337‑8.

[543] For example, on December 14, 1990, Deputy Speaker Champagne adjourned the House at the normal hour of daily adjournment even though the House had already been informed that the Royal Assent ceremony would soon take place and that the Usher of the Black Rod was on his way to request the attendance of the House (Debates, pp. 16787, 16797‑9). On the other hand, sittings of the House are sometimes extended by unanimous consent in order to compensate for the time devoted to a Royal Assent ceremony (see, for example, Debates, May 11, 2006, p. 1222).

[544] On June 23, 1971, a recorded division and Royal Assent were both scheduled for the same time, 5:45 p.m. A member rose on a point of order, and it was decided to proceed with the vote first, and then go to the Royal Assent ceremony (Debates, June 23, 1971, p. 7265).

[545] See, for example, Debates, February 28, 2008, p. 3440.

[546] The origins of this practice go back to 1641 when the Gentleman Usher of Great Britain received a reprimand for entering the House before being expressly invited to do so (Bond, M. and Beamish, D., The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, Second impression (with additions), 1981, p. 13).

[547] Occasionally, the interruption of debate has prompted reaction from Members (Debates, December 16, 1953, pp. 1012‑5; March 31, 1954, p. 3547).

[548] Standing Order 29(5).

[549] Debates, February 19, 1981, pp. 7483‑7; March 31, 1982, pp. 16029‑32; November 3, 1982, pp. 20383‑5. On occasion, Members have challenged the custom that the Usher be admitted to the House immediately (see Debates, February 16, 1972, pp. 10959‑60).

[550] It is the custom that the House should go to the Senate for Royal Assent only when it is invited to do so by the Usher of the Black Rod. However, the Commons has occasionally attended at the Bar of the Senate without being accompanied by the Usher. One such incident occurred on June 12, 1925, when the office of the Black Rod was vacant (Debates, June 12, 1925, p. 438).

[551] “Your Honour” is used to refer to the Deputy Governor. The Speaker tips his or her hat at each mention of “Your Excellency (Honour)”. In addition, he or she and the Table Officers wear white gloves if Royal Assent is to be given by the Governor General in person.

[552] The other date, which is fixed by the Governor in Council, is published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

[553] After the ceremony, the Clerk of the Senate, who is also the Clerk of the Parliaments, endorses every Act, immediately after its title, the day, month and year when the Act was assented to in Her Majesty’s name, and the endorsement is a part of the Act, in accordance with section 5(1) of the Interpretation Act, R.S. 1985, c. I‑21. When a bill has been initialled, it is sent to the residence of the Governor General to be signed on the back by the Governor General, after which it is sent to the Senate where it is kept in a vault. Because it is a single bilingual document, the new Act carries only one signature. The Clerk of the Senate then informs the Canada Gazette that bills have been given Royal Assent.

[554] Royal Assent Act, S.C., 2002, c. 15, s. 3(3). Other interested Members may sometimes attend.

[555] See, for example, Journals, February 7, 2008, p. 406. When the House stands adjourned, Standing Order 28(5) requires the Speaker to cause the message to be printed in the Journals. See, for example, Journals, June 26, 2008, p. 1034.

[556] See, for example, Journals, August 9, 1977, pp. 1542‑7; October 23, 1978, pp. 50‑3.

[557] R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, ss. 55‑7.

[558] R.S. 1985, c. I‑21, 6(2)(a).

[559] Interpretation Act, R.S. 1985, c. I‑21, s. 5(2), 6(2)(a). When Royal Assent is signified by written declaration, the Act is deemed to be assented to on the day on which the two Houses of Parliament have been notified of the declaration (Royal Assent Act, S.C. 2002, c. 15, s. 5).

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