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Order of Precedence

While government bills and motions are called for debate in the order that the Government chooses, items of Private Members’ Business are called according to their place on the Order of Precedence. Standing Order 87(5) states that only those items on the Order of Precedence may be considered during Private Members’ Business hour.

The Order of Precedence consists of the items of Private Members’ Business that are scheduled for debate in the House.

At the beginning of a Parliament or sometimes during the course of a Parliament, the names of all Members are placed in a random draw to establish a List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business.

The Order of Precedence is established by transferring to it the names of the first 30 eligible Members on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business. This occurs on the 20th sitting day following the random draw. In order for a Member to be eligible to have his or her name transferred to the Order of Precedence, a Member must have at least one of the following items: either a bill that has already been introduced and given first reading, or a motion that has been placed on notice (including a Motion for the Production of Papers that has been transferred for debate).

Given the nature of their offices, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are ineligible for placement on the List and their names are dropped to the bottom of the List for as long as they hold such a position. The names on this part of the List are not used to establish or replenish the Order of Precedence. If a Member ceases to hold a position making him or her ineligible, his or her name is then moved to the bottom of the part of the List used to replenish the Order of Precedence.

After the transfer of the first 30 eligible names, the Order of Precedence is replenished when necessary by adding the names of the next 15 eligible Members on the List.

Unlike items of Government business, items of Private Members’ Business are carried over from session to session so that the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business and the Order of Precedence continue from session to session. However, as with other types of business, items of Private Members’ Business cease to exist with the dissolution of Parliament and must be resubmitted for consideration once a new Parliament begins.

Members with More than One Item

If a Member whose name is among the first 30 names drawn has more than one eligible item standing in his or her name on the Order Paper, he or she must choose which one of these items is to be placed on the Order of Precedence. The Member must notify the Clerk of the House of his or her choice by the end of the second sitting day following the establishment or replenishment of the Order of Precedence.

Private bills and Senate public bills that have been ordered for a second reading in the House and placed at the bottom of the Order of Precedence are not considered to occupy any of the 30 positions on the Order of Precedence. Therefore, a Member sponsoring such an item could have two items on the Order of Precedence, only one of which may be a Senate public bill.

Non-votable Items

If the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business deems a bill or motion to be non-votable, the Member may appeal the decision to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and present his or her arguments The Member must give notice of his or her intent to substitute an item within five sitting days of the presentation of the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the non-votability of the item.

The Member may choose to substitute another notice of motion on the Order Paper or Notice Paper or a bill already on the Order Paper set down for consideration at second reading stage. If he or she does not already have such an item on the Order Paper or on notice, the Member has 20 days to have another item placed on the Order Paper or Notice Paper.

Non-votable bills are dropped from the Order Paper following one hour of debate at second reading. Such non-votable bills may be introduced again in the same session, since the House does not make a decision on non-votable items.

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