Weekly Business Statement

Each Thursday after Oral Questions the Speaker recognizes the House Leader of the Official Opposition, or his or her representative, to ask the Government House Leader, or his or her representative, about the government orders to be considered by the House in the succeeding days or week.416 The Government House Leader then proceeds to outline for the House what business the government intends to bring forward.417 This practice is commonly known as the “Business Statement” or the “Thursday Statement”. The Weekly Business Statement is not referred to in the Standing Orders but is permitted subject to the discretion of the Chair, the government being under no procedural obligation to announce to the House in advance which items of business it intends to call or when.418 Furthermore, the government is not bound by anything said in the Weekly Business Statement.419

The Weekly Business Statement was inaugurated on September 23, 1968, when the then President of the Privy Council, in announcing the business the government intended to call the following day, stated that a new practice would begin whereby on every Thursday the government would outline its intentions for the forthcoming week and then respond to questions.420 Prior to this, it had been the custom of the Government House Leader to announce at the close of each sitting day the business to be considered the next day.421

The Speaker has stressed on many occasions that the time provided for this statement should not be used by Members as an opportunity to engage in negotiations or debate and that questions and answers should be concise.422 The Speaker also has not been inclined to consider the question of House business at any time other than on a Thursday during a week of regularly scheduled sittings.423 Finally, the Government House Leader has occasionally used this period to request the unanimous consent of the House to propose, without notice, motions related to the business of the House.424