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Financial Limitations for Private Members’ Bills

Expenditure

The Constitution Act, 1867, requires that bills proposing the expenditure of public funds be accompanied by a royal recommendation, which may be obtained only by the Government and presented only by a Minister. A private Member may introduce a public bill containing provisions requiring the expenditure of public funds provided that a royal recommendation is obtained by a Minister before the bill is read a third time and passed, pursuant to Standing Order 79(2).

The Speaker is responsible for determining whether any bill requires a royal recommendation and may decline to put the necessary questions at third reading on bills that require, but have not received, a royal recommendation.

Taxation

The power to initiate taxation rests solely with the Government, and legislation seeking to increase taxes must be preceded by a ways and means motion. Only a Minister can bring in a ways and means motion. Therefore, private Members cannot introduce bills that impose taxes. Pursuant to Standing Order 92.1(2), if a private Member’s bill is dropped from the Order Paper for not having been preceded by a ways and means motion, the sponsor of the item may, within five sitting days, provide written notice of his or her intention to have another item of Private Members’ Business added under his or her name to the Order of Precedence on the Order Paper. Private Members’ bills that reduce taxes, reduce the incidence of a tax, or impose or increase an exemption from taxation are admissible.

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