House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …

7. The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House

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)


he Speaker of the House of Commons holds a position which is not only one of historical significance but also one of important responsibility. The incumbent of the office performs several 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.

Please note —

As the rules and practices of the House of Commons are subject to change, users should remember that this edition of Procedure and Practice was published in January 2000. Standing Order changes adopted since then, as well as other changes in practice, are not reflected in the text. The Appendices to the book, however, have been updated and now include information up to the end of the 38th Parliament in November 2005.

To confirm current rules and practice, please consult the latest version of the Standing Orders on the Parliament of Canada Web site.

For further information about the procedures of the House of Commons, please contact the Table Research Branch at (613) 996-3611 or by e-mail at