During “Statements by Ministers”, Ministers may make brief factual statements on government policy or announcements of national interest. A representative of each officially recognized opposition party is permitted to speak in response to a Minister’s statement but may not engage in debate or ask questions of the Minister.
There is no explicit limitation on the time allotted to Ministers. However, the length of each response may not exceed the length of the Minister’s statement, and the Speaker has the discretion to limit the duration of the proceedings.
A Minister is not obliged to make a statement in the House and may choose instead to make a policy announcement outside the House. While questions of privilege have been raised about Ministerial statements being made outside the Chamber, Speakers have consistently ruled that there are no grounds to support such a claim and that no privilege has been breached.
Occasionally, following “Statements by Ministers”, Members may rise to observe a moment of silence when the statement is in commemoration of a particularly solemn occasion, an anniversary, or the death of a distinguished individual. When there is agreement among the parties, these moments of silence may also be held at other times during the sitting.
The overall length of time used under this rubric is added to the time provided for Government Orders that day, thereby delaying the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.