You know what we demand of you, Mr. Speaker. Perfection! We want fairness, independence, decisiveness, patience, common sense, good humour, upholding the traditions of the House, knowledge of the rules and an intuition for the changing mood and tone of the House as we move through our days.

JOHN N. TURNER, Leader of the Opposition

(Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 9)

The Speaker of the House of Commons holds a position which is one not only of historical significance but also of great responsibility. The holder of the office performs functions falling into three main categories. First, the Speaker presides over debate in the House and is responsible for enforcing and interpreting all rules and practices and for the preservation of order and decorum in the proceedings of the House. Second, the Speaker is the chief administrative officer of the House of Commons. Third, the Speaker is the representative or spokesperson for the House in its relations with authorities or persons outside Parliament. This chapter describes the Speakership from a general point of view and enumerates the specific powers, duties and responsibilities attached to the office of Speaker.