The office of Clerk has a long history in British parliamentary tradition. The first official appointment of a Clerk to the Commons took place in England in 1363, though from much earlier times kings had employed officials to record their decisions and those of their advisors.
In the language of the time, the word “clerk” simply indicated a person who could read and write. Thus, the early Clerks of the House were servants of the Crown appointed to assist the Commons with its business. Their duties included reading petitions and bills.
As the Commons gained in stature and recognition, its Clerk became more identified with the institution. In the mid-sixteenth century, Clerks began keeping notes on proceedings in the House, and these evolved into the Journals. Over time, the role of Clerk grew to include advising the Chair and the House on procedural matters.
Today, in addition to duties in the Chamber, the Clerk is the chief executive of the House administration and its senior permanent official.
Since Confederation, 13 Clerks have served the Canadian House of Commons:
|Robert, Charles||2017 -|
|Bosc, Marc (Acting)||2014 - 2017|
O'Brien, Audrey Elizabeth
First female Clerk of the House of Commons.
|2005 - 2016|
|Corbett, William C.||2000 - 2005|
|Marleau, Robert||1987 - 2000|
|Koester, Charles Beverley||1979 - 1987|
|Fraser, Alistair||1967 - 1979|
|Raymond, Léon-Joseph||1949 - 1967|
|Beauchesne, Arthur||1925 - 1949|
|Northrup, William Barton||1918 - 1924|
|Flint, Thomas Barnard||1902 - 1917|
|Bourinot, John George||1880 - 1902|
|Patrick, Alfred||1873 - 1880|
|Lindsay, William Burns||1867 - 1872|