Routine Proceedings are an essential part of the House business and if they are not protected the interests of the House and the public it serves are likely to suffer severely.
SPEAKER JOHN A. FRASER
(Debates, April 14, 1987, p. 5120)
While chapters 8 and 9 describe the calendar and the hours of sitting of the House, respectively, this chapter describes the recurring sequence of business for each sitting day, that is, the daily order of business, and gives details on the major categories of daily business.
The daily program of the House follows a predetermined sequence outlined in the Standing Orders of the House.1 In the early days of Confederation, the program of the House varied according to the days of the week.2 Afterwards, almost every time major revisions to the Standing Orders took place, the order of business was affected. The majority of the modifications came about as a result of the changing nature of the business coming before the House, the growing volume of government business to be transacted and changes to the hours of sitting.
All items of business that the House can deal with in a given sitting are listed on the daily Order Paper, the complete and official agenda of the House.3 Figure 10.1, “Daily Order of Business”, depicts the day-by-day order of business. The daily activities of the House are generally grouped into five categories:
- Daily Proceedings;
- Routine Proceedings;
- Government Orders;
- Private Members’ Business; and
- Adjournment Proceedings.
Daily Proceedings include three events in the daily schedule: Prayer (followed by the national anthem on Wednesdays), Statements by Members and Oral Questions. The daily routine of business, or Routine Proceedings as it is more commonly known, consists of separate categories of business usually referred to as rubrics and includes “Tabling of Documents”, “Statements by Ministers”, “Introduction of Government Bills”, and “Introduction of Private Members’ Bills”. Government Orders include any item of business proposed by a Minister that the House has ordered for consideration. Each sitting, one hour of House time is set aside for Private Members’ Business, during which bills and motions sponsored by Members who are not Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries are considered. Adjournment Proceedings are the final category of business considered on a sitting day (Fridays excepted).