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Statutory Debates

Parliament has included provisions governing special “statutory” debates in several statutes.

Statutory debates can be grouped into two broad categories:

Some of these statutes make regulations subject to an affirmative resolution (bringing them into force). This requires that both the Senate and the House of Commons debate the regulations before they can come into effect. Regulations may also be subject to negative resolution (revoking them), which means they remain in effect until Parliament revokes them following debate.

Initiating Debate

For statutes that provide for a debate to be held, a Minister must, within a specified time, file a notice of motion with the Speaker in order to initiate the debate.

A debate to revoke delegated legislation typically requires that a notice of motion signed by a minimum number of Members or Senators, as set out in the statute, be filed with the Speaker.

After notice has been filed in accordance with House rules and transferred to the Order Paper under the rubric “Statutory Orders”, debate must take place within a set number of days as prescribed in the given statute.

Duration of Debate

The duration of a statutory debate is usually prescribed in the legislation, be it one or more sitting days or only a few hours.

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