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

2. Parliaments and Ministries

In the United States, president and Congress can be locked in fruitless combat for years on end. In Canada, the government and the House of Commons cannot be at odds for more than a few weeks at a time. If they differ on any matter of importance, then, promptly, there is either a new government or a new House of Commons.

Eugene A. Forsey
(How Canadians Govern Themselves, 3rd ed., p. 26)


he relationship between the House of Commons and the executive can affect both the lifespan of a Ministry and the duration of a Parliament. The end of a Ministry always has an impact on the proceedings of the House of Commons; the consequences may range from the simple interruption of a sitting to the dissolution of a Parliament. It is from that perspective that any procedural events leading to or brought about by the end of a Ministry are examined, whether the end is triggered by death, by resignation following a defeat in a general election, by resignation due to the loss of confidence in the House of Commons, by resignation for other reasons, or by dismissal.

Majority Supporting the Government

Governments must be supported by the majority of Members in the House of Commons whether or not they are majority governments or minority governments. A majority government is supported by the party or the coalition of parties holding the majority of the seats in the House of Commons. (Canada has never been governed by a coalition of parties.) A minority government is supported by the party or the coalition of parties holding a minority of the seats in the House of Commons. Within each Parliament, party standings can and do fluctuate because of deaths, resignations, by-elections, floor crossings or other changes in the status of individual Members. As a result, the government’s ability to retain the support of the majority of Members can be increased or diminished.

All questions arising in the House are to be decided by a majority vote of those Members present. [1]  Even the rules by which the House governs its own proceedings are adopted by simple majority vote. It is therefore obvious that the government’s ability to command the support of a majority of the House allows it to exercise control over the management of the business of the House and, by extension, of its committees. The government’s powers in this regard are counterbalanced by its responsibility to the House to account for its actions.

The government’s role in the management of House business is established in several Standing Orders, which refer either to the government or a Minister as the initiator of certain types of proceedings. [2]  Likewise, there are many Standing Orders that recognize the House’s role in holding the government to account for its actions. [3]  Parliamentary procedure must balance the government’s power to manage the business of the House, against the opposition’s responsibility to hold the government accountable. The crucial test of the government’s power comes in votes of confidence, for in Canada’s parliamentary democracy, a government must enjoy the confidence of the House.

The Confidence Convention

An essential feature of parliamentary government is that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are responsible to, or must answer to, the House of Commons as a body for their actions and must enjoy the support and the confidence of a majority of the Members of that Chamber to remain in office. This is commonly referred to as the confidence convention. This complex constitutional subject, a matter of tradition that is not written into any statute or Standing Order of the House, is thoroughly reviewed in other authorities more properly concerned with the subject. [4] 

Simply stated, the convention provides that if the government is defeated in the House on a confidence question, then the government is expected to resign or seek the dissolution of Parliament in order for a general election to be held. This relationship between the executive and the House of Commons can ultimately decide the duration of each Parliament and of each Ministry. The confidence convention applies whether a government is formed by the party or the coalition of parties holding the majority of the seats in the House of Commons, or by one or more parties holding a minority of seats. Naturally, it is more likely that the government will fail to retain the confidence of the House when the government party or parties are in a minority situation.

What constitutes a question of confidence in the government varies with the circumstances. Confidence is not a matter of parliamentary procedure, nor is it something on which the Speaker can be asked to rule. [5]  It is generally acknowledged, however, that confidence motions may be: [6] 

  • explicitly worded motions which state, in express terms, that the House has, or has not, confidence in the government;
  • motions expressly declared by the government to be questions of confidence;
  • implicit motions of confidence, that is, motions traditionally deemed to be questions of confidence, such as motions for the granting of Supply (although not necessarily an individual item of Supply [7] ), motions concerning the budgetary policy of the government [8]  and motions respecting the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Confidence and the Standing Orders

When the Standing Orders respecting Supply were amended in 1968, it was specified that, in each of the three Supply periods, the opposition could designate not more than two of the motions proposed on allotted days as motions of non-confidence in the government. [9]  This was the first time the notion of confidence found expression in the Standing Orders. This rule was modified provisionally in March 1975 to remove the no-confidence qualification; the motions would still be brought to a vote but the vote would not automatically be considered an expression of confidence in the government. [10]  The provisional Standing Orders lapsed at the beginning of the following session and the term “no-confidence” found its way back into the 1977 version of the Standing Orders. No further changes were made until June 1985, when the Standing Orders were again modified to remove the no-confidence provision with regard to Supply. [11] 

Meanwhile, in 1984, a recommendation was made that a change be made in the manner of electing a Speaker. [12]  This proposal found favour and a variant of it was adopted by the House in 1985. [13]  One of these new rules still provides that the election of a Speaker shall not be considered to be a question of confidence in the government. [14] 

Duration of a Parliament and a Ministry

The duration of a Parliament — the period of time between elections during which the institution of Parliament exercises its powers — is calculated from the date set for the return of the writs following a general election to its dissolution by the Governor General. [15] At the same time, the Constitution Act provides that, subject to dissolution, five years is the maximum lifespan of the House of Commons between general elections, calculated from the date fixed for the return of the writs, and that there must be a sitting of Parliament at least once every 12 months. [16] 

The Ministry, which exercises the practical functions of government, has no fixed maximum duration. Its duration is measured by the tenure of its Prime Minister and is calculated from the day the Prime Minister takes the oath of office to the day the Prime Minister dies, resigns or is dismissed.

These two time lines — the parliamentary one, which has a maximum duration, and the prime ministerial one, which is open-ended — do not always coincide perfectly.

Duration of Parliaments

About one third of the Parliaments since 1867 have lasted between four and five years, about another third have lasted between three and four years and a final third, less than three years (see Figure 2.1) [17]. Three Parliaments (i.e., the Seventh (1891-96), Seventeenth (1930-35) and Nineteenth (1940-45)) have gone near the limit of the five-year maximum constitutional lifespan, within days of when the House of Commons would have expired by effluxion of time. One Parliament, the Twelfth (1911-17), was extended. [18]  Four Parliaments (i.e., the Fifteenth (1925-26), Twenty-Third (1957-58), Twenty-Fifth (1962-63) and Thirty-First (1979)) have lasted less than one year.

Figure 2.1 – Duration of Parliaments
years months days
1 1867-1872 4 9 8
2 1872-1874 1 3 30
3 1874-1878 4 5 26
4 1878-1882 3 5 27
5 1882-1887 4 5 8
6 1887-1891 3 8 27
7 1891-1896 4 11 29
8 1896-1900 4 2 26
9 1900-1904 3 9 24
10 1904-1908 3 9 2
11 1908-1911 2 7 26
12 * 1911-1917 5 11 29
13 1918-1921 3 7 7
14 1922-1925 3 7 22
15 1925-1926   6 25
16 1926-1930 3 6 28
17 1930-1935 4 11 27
18 1935-1940 4 2 16
19 1940-1945 4 11 30
20 1945-1949 3 8 21
21 1949-1953 3 9 19
22 1953-1957 3 6 4
23 1957-1958   5 24
24 1958-1962 3 11 20
25 1962-1963   6 19
26 1963-1965 2 4  
27 1965-1968 2 4 14
28 1968-1972 4 1 7
29 1972-1974 1 4 9
30 1974-1979 4 7 26
31 1979   6 3
32 1980-1984 4 3 29
33 1984-1988 4   7
34 1988-1993 4 8 19
35 1993-1997 3 5 12
36 1997-      
* Extended by constitutional amendment

Duration of Ministries

Since Confederation, there have been 26 Ministries, although only 20 individuals have served as Prime Minister. A Prime Minister whose party is re-elected in successive general elections simply continues in office as the head of the same government. For example, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who became Prime Minister in 1896, continued in office through the general elections of 1900, 1904 and 1908 before resigning after his party was defeated in the 1911 general election. On the other hand, a Prime Minister who resigns from office following a party defeat in a general election, but who is later returned to power, forms a new Ministry. For example, Pierre E. Trudeau, who first became Prime Minister in 1968 forming the Twentieth Ministry, resigned from office in 1979, only to be re-elected with a majority in 1980, thus again becoming Prime Minister, forming the Twenty-Second Ministry. There can, as well, be several Ministries within the same Parliament. This was the case for the Seventh Parliament. Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald died in office not long after being re-elected in 1891. From the time of his death to the 1896 general election, no less than four more administrations took office. Figure 2.2 illustrates the sometimes ephemeral, sometimes lengthy duration of Ministries. [19]

Figure 2.2 – Duration of Ministries
years months days
1 Macdonald 1867-1873 5 4 4
2 Mackenzie 1873-1878 4 11 30
3 Macdonald 1878-1891 12 7 20
4 * Abbott 1891-1892 1 5 8
5 Thompson 1892-1894 2   7
6 * Bowell 1894-1896 1 4 6
7 Tupper 1896   2 7
8 Laurier 1896-1911 15 2 5
9 Borden 1911-1917 6   2
10 Borden ** 1917-1920 2 6 28
11 Meighen 1920-1921 1 5 19
12 King 1921-1926 4 5 30
13 Meighen 1926   2 27
14 King 1926-1930 3 10 13
15 Bennett 1930-1935 5 2 16
16 King 1935-1948 13   23
17 St-Laurent 1948-1957 8 7 6
18 Diefenbaker 1957-1963 5 10 1
19 Pearson 1963-1968 4 11 29
20 Trudeau 1968-1979 11 1 14
21 Clark 1979-1980   8 26
22 Trudeau 1980-1984 4 3 27
23 Turner 1984   2 18
24 Mulroney 1984-1993 8 9 8
25 Campbell 1993   4 10
26 Chrétien 1993-      
* Senator
** Unionist government

The End of a Ministry

The end of a Ministry is triggered by the death, resignation or dismissal of the Prime Minister. [20]  It does not necessarily entail the end of a Parliament. While, on one hand, the operation of the confidence convention can lead and has led to early dissolution of a Parliament, [21]  there are, on the other hand, examples of multiple Ministries during the same Parliament. [22] The procedural consequences of the end of a Ministry vary depending on how the Ministry ends. The procedural effect of dissolution is of course well known: sittings cease immediately and all proceedings in Parliament are quashed. A new Parliament, once summoned, begins with a clean slate. [23]

Death of a Prime Minister

The death of a Prime Minister holds few procedural implications. If death occurs during a session of Parliament while the House is sitting, tributes may be made in the House or the House may adjourn for an extended period. [24]  Since Confederation, only two Prime Ministers have died in office: Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1891, during a session, and Sir John Thompson, in 1894, while Parliament was prorogued. [25] 

Resignation of a Prime Minister

Resignation may be prompted by a defeat in a general election, by the operation of the confidence convention alone, by the operation of the confidence convention followed by a defeat in a general election, or by other reasons, including the Prime Minister’s desire to retire from public life.

•  Defeat in a General Election

If Parliament is dissolved when the Ministry resigns, there are of course no procedural implications. This is typically the case for majority governments which, at a moment of their own choosing, seek a dissolution, are defeated at the polls and subsequently resign in the days that follow. [26] It falls to the new government to meet the new House.

An election may be triggered by the Prime Minister of a minority government, in the same manner as a Prime Minister of a majority government. For example, throughout the Sixteenth Parliament (1926-30), Prime Minister Mackenzie King headed a minority government but was able to retain the support of the third party in the House and thus govern for almost four years. He then sought and obtained a dissolution in the usual manner, was defeated at the polls and resigned.

In an unusual and controversial case, following the general election of 1925, the Mackenzie King government lost its majority status when the Liberals received fewer seats than the former Official Opposition party, the Conservatives. [27]  Nevertheless, it decided to meet the House to test its confidence, and did so successfully until June 1926. For further details of this case, see below.

•  Operation of the Confidence Convention

The role of procedure in the operation of the confidence convention revolves around the decision-making process in the House of Commons. When the government is defeated on a vote on a question of confidence in the House, the Prime Minister must either resign [28]  or seek a dissolution. The Speaker does not decide what constitutes a matter of confidence. Successive Speakers have stated that it is not for the Chair to interfere to prevent debate, or a vote, on a question relating to the issue of confidence, unless the motion being put forward is clearly defective or irregular on procedural grounds. [29]  Naturally, when numbers are close, the procedural implications of pairing and the manner in which a vote is recorded become critically important. The rules and practices governing these areas of parliamentary procedure are discussed in Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

Four governments have been defeated in a vote in the House on a clear, uncontested question of confidence. In 1926, the three-day old Meighen minority government lost a vote (96-95) on what amounted to a motion of censure of the government. [30]  In 1963, the Diefenbaker minority government was defeated by a wide margin (142-111) on a Supply motion. [31]  In 1974, the Trudeau minority government and, in 1979, the Clark minority government both lost a vote on a Budget motion sub-amendment, by votes of 137-123 and 139-133 respectively. [32]  All four Prime Ministers sought and obtained a dissolution following defeat in the House. Of the four governments, the Meighen, Diefenbaker and Clark governments were subsequently defeated in general elections and, in each case, the Prime Minister resigned without meeting the new House. The Trudeau government was returned with a majority and met the new House.

The government of Mackenzie King in 1925-26 faced a more complex set of circumstances and ultimately resigned without a dissolution. The case has been cited by some as one of a resignation due to the operation of the confidence convention, [33]  although Mackenzie King himself stated that he resigned because he did not obtain the dissolution he had sought. [34]  In any case,the events leading to the government’s resignation illustrate that it is not always clear what constitutes a question of confidence.

A general election was held on October 29, 1925. Prior to the election, Prime Minister Mackenzie King held a bare majority of 118 of 235 seats. (The number of seats he held had fluctuated throughout the Fourteenth Parliament, giving him sometimes a majority, sometimes a minority.) [35] The 1925 election returned 101 Liberals (supporters of the King government), 116 Conservatives, 24 Progressives, 2 Labour and 2 Independents. [36] Parliament met on January 7, 1926. The King government did not resign but instead chose to meet the House, despite having received fewer seats than the Conservative Party. It retained the support of the House until June 1926 when the official opposition moved an amendment to a motion to concur in a committee report that amounted to a censure of the government; at that time, the King government was not able to command the support of the House on a series of procedural motions meant to set aside the censure amendment. [37]  Before the censure amendment was ever put to a vote, Prime Minister King announced his resignation to the House on the afternoon of Monday, June 28, 1926. He stated that, having sought and been refused a dissolution, he was resigning. [38]  After the announcement, the House adjourned. The next morning, Arthur Meighen, the Leader of the Opposition, was asked by the Governor General to form a new government. When the House convened later the same day, the government and the official opposition had changed sides in the House and acting House Leader Sir Henry Drayton made a statement announcing changes to the Ministry. [39]  The House then resumed the transaction of its business. Two days later, the Meighen government lost a vote on a motion of censure. [40] 

Not all government defeats on a vote are automatically considered matters of confidence. [41]  On February 19, 1968, a motion for the third reading of a tax bill was defeated by a vote of 82-84. [42]  Prime Minister Pearson did not agree that this defeat constituted an expression of non-confidence in the government, as some were arguing. The government introduced a motion “That this House does not regard its vote on February 19th in connection with third reading of Bill C-193, which had carried in all previous stages, as a vote of non-confidence in the Government”. This motion was carried on February 28 by a vote of 138-119. [43]  From February 20 to February 28, all House business was concerned with the resolution of this matter, and in fact the House transacted no business at all from February 20 to 22. [44] 

Similarly, on December 20, 1983, a clause of a bill amending the Income Tax Act and other acts was defeated in a Committee of the Whole by a vote of 28-67. [45]  The Official Opposition claimed that this constituted a defeat on a question of confidence and demanded that the government resign or seek a dissolution. The government disagreed. [46]  As in other, similar circumstances, this was not a procedural matter upon which the Chair could rule. [47] 

•  Resignation Due to Other Causes

Several Prime Ministers have resigned for reasons other than those referred to above. Most have done so out of a stated desire to retire from public life. [48]  There are, however, a few cases where the departure was prompted by other reasons.

In one case, the government of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald (Second Parliament, 1873), embroiled in a scandal, resigned rather than face near-certain defeat on a no-confidence motion. [49]  According to an eyewitness, on November 5, 1873, “ … Sir John got up and briefly announced that the Government had resigned. The announcement was received in perfect silence. The Opposition, directly [after] it was over, crossed the House to their new desks.” [50]  The Leader of the Opposition, Alexander Mackenzie, formed a new government and Parliament was prorogued on November 7, 1873. On January 2, 1874, he sought and obtained a dissolution without having met the House with a legislative program.

In 1896, the Prime Minister, Senator Sir Mackenzie Bowell, faced a serious Cabinet revolt (seven Ministers resigned) and ultimately resigned himself on April 27 of that year, three days after he had been granted a dissolution. [51]  He was succeeded by Sir Charles Tupper, who in turn resigned after his defeat in the election. [52] 

Dismissal of a Prime Minister

Since Confederation, no Prime Minister has been dismissed. [53]  The circumstances that might give rise to dismissal have nevertheless been the subject of considerable academic debate.

Ministerial Crisis

If the House is sitting when the composition of the Ministry is being changed in circumstances of ministerial crisis, it is normal for the House to adjourn from day to day (unless it decides otherwise) until such time as the changes are complete. [54]  In such cases, the House normally transacts only routine business on the days it meets and questions may be asked concerning the progress being made in reconstituting the Ministry. [55]  When a new Ministry is to be formed following the death, resignation or dismissal of the Prime Minister, it is likewise appropriate for the House to adjourn from day to day (again, unless it decides otherwise), [56]  but no questions may be asked as to the progress being made, there being no Ministry. [57]  However, party leaders may make statements. [58]  When the ministerial crisis is resolved, it is usual for a leading Member of the government caucus to make a statement explaining the ministerial changes to the House. [59] 

Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 49. See also Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.
For example, the bulk of House time is allocated to government business, which is called in such sequence as the government determines (Standing Orders 30 and 40). Furthermore, to name but a few examples, it is the government that requests a recall of the House when it stands adjourned (Standing Order 28); that moves the extension of sitting hours in June (Standing Order 27); that causes a special Order Paper to be issued (Standing Order 55); that initiates time allocation (Standing Order 78) and closure (Standing Order 57); that proposes the referral to committees of the government’s Estimates (Standing Order 81); that gives notice of and designates Orders of the Day for the consideration of Ways and Means motions (Standing Order 83); and that initiates debate on the Standing Orders at the beginning of each Parliament (Standing Order 51).
Examples may be found in the rules governing Supply (Standing Order 81); questions (Standing Orders 37, 38 and 39); petitions (Standing Order 36); and the tabling of documents (Standing Order 32).
See in particular Eugene A. Forsey and G.C. Eglington, “The Question of Confidence in Responsible Government”, study prepared for the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (Ottawa: 1985). Also of interest are the First and Third Reports of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (the McGrath Committee), respectively presented on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211), and June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839).
See, for example, Speaker Lamoureux’s rulings, Journals, May 4, 1970, pp. 742-3, and March 6, 1973, pp. 166-7. See also Debates, October 20, 1981, p. 11974, and March 4, 1988, p. 13400.
See Philip Norton, “Government Defeats in the House of Commons: The British Experience”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Winter 1985-86, pp. 6-9.
See, for example, Journals, March 26, 1973, pp. 212-3. Certain opposition motions have been adopted on days allotted for the Business of Supply which were not framed as confidence matters; see, for example, Journals, February 12, 1992, pp. 1010-2, and March 8, 1994, pp. 220-3.
See statement of Prime Minister Clark, Debates, December 13, 1979, p. 2362.
Journals, December 20, 1968, pp. 554, 557 (1968 Standing Order 58(9)).
See the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization, presented on March 14, 1975 (Journals, p. 372-6), and concurred in on March 24, 1975 (Journals, p. 399). The House adopted a Supply motion for the first time under this rule on February 12, 1976 (Journals, p. 1016). See also the comments of the President of the Privy Council, Mitchell Sharp, Debates, February 12, 1976, p. 10902.
Journals, June 27, 1985, pp. 910-9. This change had been proposed in the First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (Journals, December 20, 1984, p. 211), and the government had expressed support for the proposal (Debates, April 18, 1985, pp. 3868-9).
See the First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, presented on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211), and the government response to the First Report, tabled on April 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 486).
Journals, June 27, 1985, pp. 910-9. These are now Standing Orders 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Standing Order 6.
For a detailed description of the practicalities of convocation and dissolution of Parliament, see Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”.
Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 50; Constitution Act, 1982, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 44, ss. 4(1), 5. The question of the duration of Parliament was thoroughly discussed in the talks leading to Confederation. In the end, it was decided to follow the New Zealand example of a five-year maximum. (See comments of Sir John A. Macdonald in Confederation Debates, 1865, p. 39.)
For the actual dates for the return of the writs and of dissolution for each Parliament, see Appendix 12, “Parliaments Since 1867 and Number of Sitting Days”.
This was accomplished by way of a constitutional amendment (British North America Act, 1916, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 24). Since 1949, the Constitution has provided for an extension if no more than one third of the Members oppose it (British North America Act (No. 2), 1949, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 33; see also Constitution Act, 1982, s. 4(2)).
For actual dates of terms of office for each Ministry, see Appendix 8, “Government Ministries and Prime Ministers of Canada Since 1867”.
Failure to be re-elected as a Member of the House does not result in the Prime Minister being obliged to resign automatically. Prime Ministers Macdonald and King both suffered personal defeat but not party defeat and were subsequently elected in by-elections. (See The Canadian Directory of Parliament 1867-1967, edited by J.K. Johnson, Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1968, pp. 305-6, 399.)
See, for example, Journals, December 13, 1979, pp. 345-7; December 14, 1979, p. 350.
See, for example, the Seventh, Twenty-Seventh, and Thirty-Fourth Parliaments.
For a full description of the procedural effects of prorogation and dissolution, see Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”.
Journals, June 8, 1891, p. 208. See also the Speaker’s statement to the House, Debates, June 8, 1891, col. 883. In keeping with ancient practice, when the House stands adjourned during a session, the Speaker, in robes, can attend the funeral procession or the state funeral accompanied by the Mace, as authorized by an express resolution of the House, or by reliance on parliamentary usage. The Mace may not be used for such a purpose when Parliament is prorogued. See Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 176, footnotes c) and e). The organization of state occasions, such as state funerals, is the responsibility of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
For descriptions of the circumstances of these two deaths, see Donald Creighton, John A. Macdonald, The Old Chieftan, Toronto: MacMillan Co. of Canada, 1955, pp. 564-78 and P.B. Waite, The Man From Halifax, Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985, pp. 415-31.
See, for example, the Turner (1984) and Campbell (1993) Ministries.
See Appendix 11, “General Election Results Since 1867”. A similar case occurred in Ontario in 1985 when the Progressive Conservative government of Frank Miller won the largest number of seats, but resigned in favour of the second-place Liberals who, with the support of the New Democrats, were able to govern with the confidence of the Legislature. The numbers were PC: 52; Lib.: 48; NDP: 25 (Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1986, edited by Pierre G. Normandin, Ottawa, pp. 979, 1066-7).
Forsey and Eglington list a large number of pre-and post-Confederation examples of provincial government resignations without dissolution (pp. 253-8).
See, for example, Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling, Journals, March 6, 1973, pp. 166-7. See also, Debates, October 20, 1981, p. 11974.
Journals, July 1, 1926, pp. 508-9.
Journals, February 5, 1963, pp. 474-5.
Journals, May 8, 1974, pp. 175-6, and December 13, 1979, pp. 345-7.
Forsey and Eglington, pp. 253, 261-3.
Journals, June 28, 1926, p. 483.
See Appendix 11, “General Election Results Since 1867”, footnote 8.
See Appendix 11, “General Election Results Since 1867”.
Journals, June 18, 1926, pp. 444-9; June 22, 1926, pp. 461-2; June 23, 1926, p. 465; June 25, 1926, pp. 475-81.
Journals, June 28, 1926, p. 483.
Journals, June 29, 1926, pp. 485-6.
Journals, July 1, 1926, pp. 508-9.
In 1973, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that his minority government would not consider every defeat on a vote as a matter of confidence (Debates, January 8, 1973, p. 61). The government did, in fact, lose several votes in the 1973-74 period (see, for example, Journals, March 26, 1973, pp. 212-3).
Journals, pp. 702-3.
Journals, February 28, 1968, pp. 719-21.
See Journals, February 20, 1968, to February 28, 1968, pp. 705-21.
Debates, December 20, 1983, p. 352.
See Debates, December 20, 1983, from p. 352, especially pp. 354-6.
Debates, December 20, 1983, pp. 367-8.
See, for example, Debates, June 16, 1993, pp. 20890-4.
See Debates, November 5, 1873, p. 781, and Forsey and Eglington, p. 258. See also Journals, November 4 to 7, 1873, pp. 139-42.
Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, My Canadian Journal, 1872-78, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1891, p. 133. See also Debates, November 6 and 7, 1873, pp. 783, 785.
“We Twa”, Reminiscences of Lord and Lady Aberdeen, Volume II, London: W. Collins Sons & Co., 1925, pp. 32-4.
See “We Twa”, pp. 35-7, for a description of the circumstances from the Governor General’s point of view.
For an Australian example, see House of Representatives Practice, 3rd ed., p. 87.
In early 1896, seven Ministers (half the Cabinet) resigned and it took several days to reconstruct the Cabinet (see Debates, January 7 to 15, 1896, cols. 5-71). The death or dismissal of several Ministers could result in similar circumstances for the government, and thus a similar adjournment of the proceedings in the House, should it be sitting at the time.
See, for example, Journals, January 7 to 15, 1896, pp. 7-13, and Debates, January 7 to 15, 1896, cols. 5-71. See also Bourinot, 2nd ed., pp. 795-6.
See, for example, Debates, November 5 to 7, 1873, pp. 781-7, and June 8, 1891, cols. 888-91. See also Journals, June 28, 1926, p. 483.
See Debates, November 5 to 7, 1873, pp. 781-7, and June 28, 1926, pp. 5096-7.
See Speaker’s ruling, Debates, June 28, 1926, p. 5096. See also Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 355.
See, for example, Debates, November 7, 1873, pp. 785-6 (following resignation of Macdonald); June 16, 1891, cols. 891-2 (following death of Macdonald); January 15, 1896, cols. 69-71 (following resolution of Bowell Cabinet crisis); and Journals, June 29, 1926, pp. 485-6 (following resignation of Mackenzie King).

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