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Dilatory Motions

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

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

The Standing Orders indicate that dilatory motions are receivable “when a question is under debate”; however, they have also been moved when there was no question under debate during Routine Proceedings. Unlike the previous question, dilatory motions may be proposed when an amendment to a motion is under debate.

Dilatory motions do not require notice, are not debatable or amendable and, if in order, are put by the Chair immediately. When a dilatory motion is moved, a recorded division is usually demanded, and the time used to summon the Members and take the vote serves to delay debate on other matters before the House. When a motion to adjourn the House is adopted, the time remaining in the sitting day is also lost.

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

While not a dilatory motion in the same sense as these other motions, a motion, “That a Member be now heard” is often used for the purpose of causing delay. Unlike other dilatory motions, if adopted, it does not have the effect of superseding the original question. It merely determines who can speak next on the motion under consideration. Such a motion is also unique in that it can be moved on a point of order.

Motions to Proceed to the Orders of the Day

The motion “That the House do now proceed to the Orders of the Day” may be moved by any Member prior to the calling of Orders of the Day. The Chair has ruled that a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is in order during Routine Proceedings, which, in recent practice, is usually when it has been proposed.

If the motion is adopted during Routines Proceedings, the item of Routine Proceedings then before the House (and all further items under Routine Proceedings) is superseded and stood over until the next sitting. Furthermore, if a motion is being debated at the time a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is moved and agreed to, it is dropped from the Order Paper. If the motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day is defeated, the House continues with the business before it at the time the motion was moved.

This type of motion may be moved by either the government or the opposition as a dilatory tactic or to counter dilatory tactics.

Motion to Adjourn the House

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

A motion to adjourn the House is in order when moved by a Member who has been recognized by the Speaker to take part in debate or to take part in business under Routine Proceedings. A motion to adjourn the House is not in order if a condition is attached to the motion (e.g., where a specific time of adjournment is included), since this transforms it into a substantive motion that may be moved only after notice.

If a motion to adjourn is defeated, a second such motion may not be moved until some intermediate proceeding has taken place or item of business has been considered.

Motion to Adjourn the Debate

The purpose of a motion to adjourn a debate is to temporarily set aside the consideration of a motion. It can be used as a dilatory tactic or for the management of the business of the House.

If the House adopts a motion “That the debate be now adjourned”, then debate on the original motion stops and the House moves on to the next item of business. However, the original motion is not dropped from the Order Paper; it remains on the House agenda and is held over to the next sitting day when it may be taken up again. If the motion to adjourn the debate is defeated, then debate on the original motion continues.

A motion to adjourn the debate is in order when moved by a Member who has been recognized by the Speaker to take part in debate on a question before the House. The other restrictions that apply to motions to adjourn the House also apply to motions to adjourn the debate.

Motion “That a Member Be Now Heard”

When two Members rise simultaneously to seek the floor, the Speaker will recognize one of them to speak. By rising on a point of order, another Member may move that the Member who was not recognized be given the floor. The moving of the motion “That a Member be now heard” is an exception to the rule that a motion cannot be moved on a point of order. The motion may not be moved, however, if the Member first recognized by the Speaker has already begun to speak.

If the Speaker rules that the motion is in order, the question on the motion is put forthwith without debate. A recorded division may take place. If the motion is carried, the Member named in the motion may speak. If the motion is defeated, the Member originally recognized retains the right to speak. A second motion “That a Member be now heard” may be moved only after the Member recognized has completed his or her speech. In addition, the motion cannot be moved:

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