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

14. The Curtailment of Debate

… the whole study of parliamentary procedure over the years, indeed over the decades, has been an endeavour to find a balance between the right to speak at as much length as seems desirable, and the right of parliament to make decisions.

Stanley Knowles, m.p. (Winnipeg North Centre)
(Debates, May 20, 1965, p. 1530)


ne of the fundamental principles of parliamentary procedure is that debate in the House of Commons must lead to an unimpeded decision in a reasonable time. [1] Although what seems reasonable to one party may arguably appear unfair to another, few parliamentarians contest the idea that, at some point, debate must end. [2]  While an overwhelming majority of House business is concluded without recourse to special procedures intended to limit or end debate, certain rules exist to “curtail debate” in cases when it is felt a decision would otherwise not be taken in reasonable time, or not taken at all. Despite the fact that Standing Order changes have made systematic obstruction on the part of the opposition less frequent, a good understanding of parliamentary procedure still enables Members to extend debate on a given item considerably.

The rules pertaining to the “curtailment of debate” invite the House as a whole to pronounce itself on the issue of limiting debate on a particular item of business beyond what the normal rules would otherwise allow. A distinction, however, must be made between “freedom of speech” and a Member’s opportunity to take part in “debate”. The question of a Member’s freedom of speech — a basic parliamentary privilege — has no relevance to this process. (In a parliamentary sense, “freedom of speech” refers to a Member’s immunity from legal prosecution for words stated during debate in the House and its committees, rather than the general notion of an unlimited opportunity to speak.) When asked to deal with the receivability of a motion to limit debate, the Speaker does not judge the importance of the issue in question or the “reasonableness” of the time allowed for debate, but strictly addresses the acceptability of the procedure followed. [3]  Speakers have ruled that a procedurally acceptable motion to limit the ability of Members to speak on a given motion before the House does not constitute prima facie a breach of parliamentary privilege. [4] 

At Confederation, few rules existed to curtail debate. Even at that time, it was recognized that unlimited debate was not possible and that some restraint would have to be exercised or some accommodation reached in order for the House to conduct its business with reasonable despatch. [5]  For the first 45 years following Confederation, the only tool at the government’s disposal was the previous question. [6] Not only was there no other way of putting an end to a specific debate in “reasonable time”, but there were no formal time limits of any kind on debates and the length of speeches was unlimited. Working relations in the House were based largely upon a spirit of mutual fair play where informal arrangements, or “closure by consent”, governed the conduct of debate. In the words of Prime Minister Robert Borden:

… at a definite stage in a debate, when, in the judgment of the leading men of both sides of the House, it has proceeded far enough, it has been the practice for a consultation to be held and a date to be fixed; and members who are not able to catch the Speaker’s eye within the period so fixed are, by arrangements made on both sides of the House, practically excluded from taking part in the debate on that subject and the question is brought to an issue in that way. [7] 

The early rules governing the business of the House apportioned a major share of time to the consideration of private bills and other business sponsored by private Members. The government’s role in the economy being limited, government business was but a small part of the House’s workload. [8]  After 1900, the changing nature of the business coming before the House, especially the growing volume of business initiated by the government, led to a steady increase in the time that the House set aside for Government Orders. The time of the House became a precious commodity and a source of sometimes fierce partisan contention. This was manifested by a growing propensity on the part of the opposition to thwart the passage of government legislation through delay and obstruction. [9] 

These changes in parliamentarians’ attitudes and government workload led the House to adopt rules and practices that would, on the one hand, facilitate the daily management of its time [10]  and, on the other hand, limit debate and expedite the normal course of events in cases deemed of an important or urgent nature. This chapter focusses on this latter aspect and examines how debate is curtailed through the use of the previous question, closure, time allocation, the moving by a Minister of a “routine motion” to bypass the requirement for unanimous consent, [11]  and the moving of a motion to suspend certain Standing Orders in relation to a matter considered to be of an urgent nature. [12] 

The Previous Question

There are occasions where Members will move, during a debate on a motion before the House, “That this question be now put”. [13]  This motion, commonly known as the previous question, may be proposed to substantive debatable motions before the House. There are a number of restrictions placed on the use of the previous question. These are discussed in more detail in Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”. Once the previous question has been moved, debate on the original motion resumes. Although it does not put an immediate end to debate, the previous question restricts debate and expedites the putting of the question in two ways.

First, it precludes the moving of amendments to the main motion and, therefore, any debate that might have ensued on those amendments. Indeed, if the previous question is carried, the Speaker is obliged to put the question on the main motion forthwith. [14]  Members who have spoken already to the main motion or any previous amendments may speak again to the previous question. In this sense, the previous question is at best an unpredictable method of curtailing debate. The previous question has been adopted without debate, [15]  it has carried after a short debate, [16]  or after several days of debate. [17]  In instances where the previous question did not appear useful in bringing a question to a vote, a motion to adjourn the debate [18]  or a motion of closure [19]  has been moved to put an end to a debate on the previous question. When a recorded division is demanded on the previous question, it may be deferred at the request of either the Chief Government Whip or the Chief Opposition Whip [20] ; however, once the previous question is adopted, a recorded division on the main motion may not be deferred. [21] 

Second, the previous question can have the effect of superseding a motion under debate since, if negatived, the Speaker is bound not to put at that time the question on the main motion. In other words, if the motion “that the question be now put” is not adopted, the motion under debate is dropped from the Order Paper. Unless revived on a future day and reinstated on the Order Paper[22]  the item will not be debated again. In practice, in a majority of instances when the previous question was negatived, the item was revived and eventually adopted, with or without amendment. As a mechanism for limiting debate by causing an item to drop from the Order Paper, the previous question has not been very successful. Since Confederation, the motion “that the question be now put” has been negatived four times. [23]  It has also been withdrawn by unanimous consent. [24] 

While both government and opposition Members may move the previous question, [25]  it is used by some in the hope that it will expedite a vote on the main motion, and by others in the hope that it will prevent the Speaker from putting the question now on a motion or a bill. Although the previous question can be both a method of forcing a decision on a motion and a way of postponing or delaying a decision, it has in recent years almost exclusively been used by the government to limit debate.

In the past, the use of the previous question has been anything but predictable. Ministers have moved it on private Members’ motions [26]  and on government motions and bills. Conversely, private Members have moved the previous question on other private Members’ motions [27]  as well as on government motions. [28]  Perhaps because of the many restrictions that regulate its use, the previous question has been described as the “most ineffective” method of limiting debate. [29] 


Closure is a procedural device used to bring debate on a question to a conclusion by “ … a majority decision of the House, although all Members wishing to speak have not done so”. [30]  The closure rule [31]  provides the government with a procedure to prevent the further adjournment of debate on any matter and to require that the question be put at the end of the sitting in which a motion of closure is adopted. Apart from technical changes as to the hour at which debate is to conclude, [32]  the rule has remained virtually unchanged since its adoption in 1913.

Closure may be applied to any debatable matter, including bills and motions. The rule was conceived for use in a Committee of the Whole [33]  as much as in the House, but it cannot be applied to business being considered in standing, special, legislative or joint committees of the House. When these committees are considering bills, the House may use the time allocation rule [34]  to impose a deadline on the committee stage or to force a committee to report the bill to the House.

Historical Perspective

Introduced at Westminster in 1881 and in the Australian House of Representatives in 1905, the closure rule was not adopted by the Canadian House of Commons until 1913. [35]  The idea of closure had, however, been discussed on a number of occasions, but the House had never been able to adopt a closure rule satisfactory to both government and opposition. By 1913, strong and organized opposition had managed to delay the adoption of government legislation on at least four occasions. [36]  Speeches from that period allude to the occasional inability of the House to come to a vote on a question and, in 1911, during one of these protracted debates, a Member of the opposition spoke of the possibility of “illimitable discussion”. [37]  Opposition Leader Robert Borden, who would eventually introduce the new rule, had himself suggested that a closure rule would be “undesirable,” [38]  but nearly two years of discussion on naval policy convinced him of the necessity to bring forward a motion which, among other things, would introduce the closure rule. These changes, vigorously attacked by the opposition, were debated for nearly a month before being adopted. [39]  The new closure rule was immediately tested by the government only a few days after its adoption, during debate at the Committee of the Whole stage of the Naval Aid Bill. [40] 

Used nine times from 1913 to 1932, the closure rule was then not resorted to for 24 years. In May and June 1956, during the Pipeline Debate, closure was invoked at each stage of the legislative process. [41]  This episode, which gave rise to much analysis and commentary, had lasting repercussions on Members’ perception of how the House operates. [42] 

The rule has been the subject of scrutiny and discussion on numerous occasions. In December 1957, the new Diefenbaker government placed a notice of motion on the Order Paper to repeal the closure rule, but the motion was never debated. [43]  In July 1960, Prime Minister Diefenbaker expressed the hope that “the rules committee will give consideration to removing from the rule book the closure procedure”. [44]  The Committee never acted on that matter. In March 1962, another special committee was set up to consider the procedures of the House and, in particular, “to consider the desirability of repealing” the closure rule; [45]  it did not report on this issue. The Throne Speech in September 1962 indicated that the House would be asked to abolish closure, but this also was not acted upon. [46]  During the Thirtieth Parliament (1974-79), a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization recommended, in its report on the use of time, that a new Standing Order based on the British House of Commons’ closure rule be adopted, [47]  but this was never recommended to the House. The issue of repealing the closure rule still resurfaces from time to time. [48] 

Notice of Closure

Prior to moving a motion for closure, an oral notice of intention to do so must have been given by a Minister at a previous sitting of the House or a Committee of the Whole. The rule is not specific as to when such notice may be given; thus a variety of precedents exist. Notice of intention to move a closure motion has been given: when there was no question before the House; [49]  when the motion to be closured was under debate; [50]  and when the question before the House was not related to the notice. [51]  Notice has been given on the first day of debate on the motion to be closured, [52]  and after one or more days of debate. [53]  Regardless, debate on the item which is the subject of the notice must have begun before notice of closure may be given. [54] 

Although there is no requirement to give notice more than once, Ministers have provided the same notice in several sittings so as to avoid any objection that notice had not been given at the previous sitting. [55]  On the other hand, no obligation exists to proceed with moving the closure motion even if notice has been given; there have been cases where the notice was not proceeded with. [56]  On one occasion, the government gave notice of closure on four separate bills, all at the same time: three at second reading and one at third reading; [57]  however, four motions proposing closure, one for each bill, had to be moved separately.

Motion of Closure

After notice has been given of the intention to move a motion of closure, the motion may be moved during a subsequent sitting, whether the following day or later. The motion for closure must be moved by a Minister, and the debate on the motion or bill to which closure is to apply must have been adjourned at least once before a closure motion can be moved. [58]  The motion for closure must be moved immediately before the Order of the Day for resuming debate on the item to which the closure motion is to apply is called, either in the House or in a Committee of the Whole.

Closure motions are neither debatable nor amendable and, once moved, the Speaker or the Chairman puts the question immediately, “That debate … shall not be further adjourned” (or in a Committee of the Whole, “That debate … shall not be further postponed”). How much debate the government will allow on a measure before moving closure depends on political factors. The Speaker has at times been asked to use discretionary authority to refuse to put a closure motion to the House on the ground that a measure had not yet been given enough debating time. Invariably, he or she has declined to interfere with the application of the rule, deciding in each case that the Chair has no authority to intervene in the process when the closure rule is applied properly. [59] 

When a motion for closure is adopted, debate resumes on the now-closured business, typically leading to an extended sitting of the House through the evening. The debate becomes subject to the restrictions imposed by the closure rule. [60]  No Member (including the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition) may speak more than once, nor for longer than 20 minutes. A Member who has spoken to the main motion prior to the adoption of the closure motion may speak again if an amendment or sub-amendment is moved during the closured debate. However, a Member who speaks to the main motion after the adoption of the closure motion may not speak to any subsequent amendment or sub-amendment. Any Private Members’ Business which might have been scheduled is still taken up at its regular time.

All questions necessary to dispose of the closured business are to be put no later than 11:00 p.m., or as soon as possible thereafter, having allowed any Member who might have been recognized prior to 11:00 p.m. to finish speaking. [61]  No Member may rise to speak after 11:00 p.m., [62]  at which time the Speaker or the Chairman will put all questions necessary to dispose of the closured business, including any amendments and sub-amendments. [63]  If a recorded division is demanded in the House, the bells will sound for up to 15 minutes. [64]  Should the debate conclude before 11:00 p.m., the bells for any recorded division will sound for not more than 30 minutes. [65]  The wording of the Standing Order is quite clear that the question on a closured motion must be “decided forthwith”. A recorded division, if demanded, is therefore held immediately unless it is deferred by unanimous consent of the House to a later day, as it was done on occasion, [66]  or with the agreement of the Whips of all recognized parties. [67] 

In a Committee of the Whole, it is not necessary for all clauses of a bill to be called and then postponed before invoking closure. [68]  Furthermore, once closure is adopted, the moment a clause of the bill is called by the Chair, it is deemed to be under consideration. [69]  If consideration of one clause ends and debate begins on the next clause, Members have a further 20 minutes to speak to that clause. [70]  The adoption of a closure motion in a sitting ensures that the committee stage will be completed in that sitting. [71] 

Time Allocation

The time allocation rule allows for specific lengths of time to be set aside for the consideration of one or more stages of a public bill. [72]  While the term “time allocation” connotes ideas of time management more than it does closure, a motion to allocate time may be used as a guillotine by the government. Indeed, although the rule permits the government to negotiate with opposition parties towards the adoption of a timetable for the consideration by the House of a bill at one or more stages (including the stage for the consideration of Senate amendments), [73]  it also allows the government to impose strict limits on the time for debate. [74] While it has become the most used mechanism to curtail debate, time allocation remains a means of bringing parties together to negotiate an acceptable distribution of the time of the House.

Historical Perspective

Like the closure rule, the time allocation rule came about in the aftermath of a controversy. During the Pipeline Debate of 1956, [75]  closure was the only rule the government could use to advance its legislation. Closure had come to be perceived as somewhat inflexible for the demands of a modern parliamentary democracy and inadequate as a tool with which to conduct the business of the House. Deliberations began, in the House and in committees, with a view to identifying ways in which the time of the House could be allotted for the consideration of specific items of legislation and for the planning of the session’s work, something the closure rule could not provide since the process of giving notice, moving the motion and voting on it must be repeated at every stage of a given bill. [76] 

Throughout the period of minority governments in the 1960s, the House attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish a procedural mechanism which would have formally structured the time of the House to facilitate the efficient conduct of debate. Members recognized that the amount and complexity of House business was increasing and that measures were necessary to ensure that the business would be expedited within a reasonable amount of time. [77]  Throughout these years, the House agreed to establish a number of special committees charged with considering the procedures of the House and making suggestions to expedite public business. [78] 

From the very beginning, the committees explored measures that would allow co-operation among parties. In the Tenth Report of the Special Committee on Procedure and Organization, presented to the House in 1964, reference was made to the difficulty of reaching all-party agreement on a proposal to deal with the fundamental question of the allocation of time. [79]  Although the Committee indicated it would “continue to explore this basic question”, it did not report further on this matter. Early in the following session, the government took the initiative by moving a motion, which, among other proposals, addressed the issue of time allocation. The motion called for a new Standing Order establishing a “Business Committee” comprised of a representative of each party of the House. Upon the request of a Minister, the Business Committee would consider, and, if agreement were reached, would recommend in a report to the House within three sitting days, an allocation of time for the specific item of business or stage of the matter referred to it. A motion could then be presented without notice by a Minister for concurrence in the report, to be decided without debate or amendment. If, however, the Business Committee were unable to reach unanimous agreement or if it failed to report within the three-day period, a Minister could then give notice during Routine Proceedings that, at the next sitting of the House, he or she would move a motion allocating the time for the item of business or the stage. [80] 

The motion was debated in the House for 12 days [81] and, throughout the debate, specific concerns were expressed with respect to the Business Committee proposal. The proposal was thus separated from the main motion and referred to a special committee for further study. [82]  The special committee recommended in its report to the House another version of the time allocation proposal. The report was concurred in and a provisional rule, referred to as Standing Order 15-A, was adopted. [83]  It was invoked on only three occasions from 1965 to 1968, but it became clear that the opposition parties were dissatisfied with it and frequent points of order were raised on how to interpret some of its provisions. In 1967, for example, the Speaker ruled that oral notice was sufficient for the purpose of the time allocation rule and that such a notice did not have to appear on the Notice Paper[84] 

When the Twenty-Eighth Parliament assembled in September 1968, the House decided that Provisional Standing Order 15-A would not be in effect. [85]  A special procedure committee was established shortly thereafter [86]  to consider, among other things, the issue of time allocation. In its Fourth Report, the Committee recommended a new rule on time allocation. [87]  However, on December 20, 1968, the House agreed again to refer the issue to the new Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization for further consideration. [88] 

Tensions continued between the government and the opposition as to the balance to be achieved between debating at length and perceived curtailment brought about by the provisional rules. It was not until 1969 that the House adopted a report recommending a measure for allocation of time, a forerunner to the present rule. [89]  In its simplest form, the newly adopted Standing Order envisaged three options under which a time allotment order could be made, ranging from agreement between all parties to the government acting alone after negotiation had failed to rally the support of any other party. Members of the opposition later expressed dissatisfaction with the interpretation of this Standing Order. [90]  The fact that negotiations were to be held between parties, thus excluding independent Members, was also raised. [91] 

In November 1975, the President of the Privy Council indicated his intention to bring proposals with implications for time allocation before the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization. [92]  Although it did not report to the House, the Committee created a sub-committee on the use of time which, among other items, reviewed and proposed alternative text to the Standing Order on time allocation. [93] 

The wording of the Standing Order continued to cause procedural concern. In December 1978, after a point of order was raised, Speaker Jerome ruled that a time allocation motion could be moved covering both report and third reading stages, even though third reading had not yet been reached. [94]  A position paper on reform, tabled by the government in November 1979, noted the ambiguity in the wording of the Standing Order and proposed that it be rewritten. [95]  In March 1983, Speaker Sauvé confirmed that notice of intention to move a time allocation motion could be given at any time during the sitting. [96]  In October 1983, she ruled that once the question on the motion for time allocation was proposed, the vote would be taken two hours after that proceeding had begun, and any superseding motions proposed during that time period would be disposed of at the end of the two-hour allotment and before voting on the time allocation motion. [97] 

From May 1985, a new practice developed whereby time allocation motions were moved and debated following written government notices of motions under Government Orders. This written notice was in addition to the oral notice of intention to move such a motion which had been given to fulfil the requirements of the Standing Order. The new practice was confirmed by Speaker Bosley as an acceptable way of proceeding. [98] 

In June 1987, amendments were adopted to provide that time allocation motions, after only oral notice, would be moved under “Government Orders” rather than under “Motions” during Routine Proceedings, as had been the practice. The revisions also provided that debate on the item of business under consideration at the time the motion was moved would be deemed adjourned. [99] 

In August 1988, Speaker Fraser ruled that an oral notice of a time allocation motion need only be a notice of intention and not a notice of the text of the motion itself. In the same ruling, the Speaker further stated that the initiative of announcing any agreements (or lack thereof) to allot time rested with a Minister, who had to be a party to any such agreements. [100] 

In 1991, following a further change to the Standing Order, the motion for time allocation moved without the agreement of all parties ceased to be a subject of debate or amendment. [101]  Until then, such a motion was subject to amendment and could be debated for up to two hours, at which point all questions necessary to dispose of the motion were to be put by the Chair.

The Three Options

The time allocation rule is divided into three distinct sections. Each section specifies the conditions applying to the allocation of time, depending on the degree of support among the representatives of the recognized parties [102]  in the House.

  1. All Parties Agree: The first section of the rule envisages agreement among the representatives of all the recognized parties in the House to allocate time to the proceedings at any or all stages of a public bill. [103]  Notice is not required. In proposing the motion, a Minister first states that such an agreement has been reached [104]  and then sets out the terms of the agreement, specifying the number of days or hours of debate to be allocated. [105]  The Speaker then puts the question to the House, which is decided without debate or amendment.
  2. Majority of Parties Agree: The second section of the rule envisages agreement among a majority of the representatives of the recognized parties in the House. [106]  In these circumstances, as in the case of all-party agreement, the government must be a party to any agreement reached. [107]  The motion may not cover more than one stage of the legislative process. It may, however, apply both to report stage and third reading, if it is consistent with the rule requiring a separate day for debate at third reading when a bill has been debated or amended at report stage. [108]  Again, no notice is required. Prior to moving the motion, the Minister states that a majority of party representatives have agreed to a proposed allocation of time. [109]  The motion specifies how many days or hours are to be allocated. The day on which the motion is adopted is counted as one sitting day for this purpose, if it is moved and carried at the beginning of Government Orders. [110] 
  3. No Agreement: The third section of the rule permits the government unilaterally to propose an allocation of time. [111]  In this case, an oral notice of intention to move the motion is required. [112]  The motion can propose only the allocation of time for one stage of the legislative process, that being the stage then under consideration. However, the motion can cover both report stage and third reading, provided it is consistent with the rule which requires a separate day for third reading when a bill has been debated or amended at report stage. [113]  The amount of time allocated for any stage may not be less than one sitting day.


Oral notice is required when the government wishes to propose its own timetable in the absence of any time allocation agreement among representatives from all or a majority of the recognized parties. [114]  The notice may be given only after debate has begun on the stage of the bill to which the time allocation motion is to apply. [115]  It must be given by a Minister, from his or her place in the House, [116]  any time during the course of the sitting; [117]  the time allocation motion can then be moved at any future sitting of the House, even several days or weeks later.

The notice is to state that agreement could not be reached under the other provisions of the rule and that the government therefore intends to propose a motion to allocate time in respect of a particular stage of a particular bill. [118]  The notice need only express the intention of the government; it need not include the terms of the motion to follow. [119]  Once given, a notice of time allocation may be withdrawn; similarly, notice may be given without a motion being moved subsequently.

Motion to Allocate Time

The wording of a motion for time allocation must be specific as to the terms of the allocation of time. In most cases, time is allocated in terms of sitting days or hours; however, on at least one occasion, time was allocated in increments of less than one hour per stage of the affected bill. [120]  In all cases, a motion for time allocation must be moved by a Minister in the House, and is neither debatable nor amendable. [121] 

In cases when there is agreement among the party representatives, the motion has normally been moved under “Motions” during Routine Proceedings. In circumstances when a majority agree on the allocation of time, or when no agreement has been reached, the motion is moved under Government Orders. Debate on any item of business interrupted by the moving of a motion for time allocation is deemed adjourned. [122]  Once the motion is moved, the question is put forthwith.

After the adoption of a motion for time allocation, debate at the stage or stages of the bill in question then becomes subject to the time limits imposed by the motion. The day on which the time allocation motion is adopted may be counted as one sitting day for that purpose, provided the motion is moved and adopted at the beginning of Government Orders and the bill is taken up immediately. [123]  The bill may also be taken up at a future sitting of the House. [124]  The normal rules of debate apply. At the expiry of the time allocated for a given stage, any proceedings before the House are interrupted, and the Chair puts every question necessary for the disposal of the bill at that stage. If a recorded division is demanded, the bells summoning the Members will ring for not longer than 15 minutes. [125]  Recorded divisions on bills under time allocation are not ordinarily deferred, though deferrals may take place by special order, [126]  by automatic deferral of the vote pursuant to rules of the House, [127]  or by agreement of the Whips of all recognized parties. [128]  When debate concludes prior to the end of the allotted time, if a recorded division is demanded, the bells will ring for not more than 30 minutes, and the vote may be deferred by either the Chief Government Whip or the Chief Opposition Whip. [129] 

At times, objections have been raised as to the circumstances in which agreement was reached or to the nature of the consultations undertaken by the government. As with closure, the Speaker has ruled that the Chair possesses no discretionary authority to refuse to put a motion of time allocation if all the procedural exigencies have been observed. [130]  The Speaker has stated that the wording of the rule does not define the nature of the consultations which are to be held by the Minister and representatives of the other parties, and has further ruled that the Chair has no authority to determine whether or not consultation took place nor what constitutes consultation among the representatives of the parties. [131] 

“Routine Motion” by a Minister

If, at any time during a sitting of the House, unanimous consent is denied for the presentation of a “routine motion”, a Minister may request during Routine Proceedings that the Speaker put the motion. [132]  For that purpose, a “routine motion” refers to motions which may be required for the observance of the proprieties of the House, the maintenance of its authority, the management of its business, the arrangement of its proceedings, the establishment of the powers of its committees, the correctness of its records or the fixing of its sitting days or the times of its meeting or adjournment. [133]  The motion, which is neither debatable nor amendable, is immediately put to the House by the Speaker. If 25 Members or more oppose the motion, it is deemed withdrawn; [134]  otherwise, it is adopted. [135] 

While it appeared at first that the range of motions to which this process could be used would be limited, over the years the rule has been used to extend a sitting in order to sit on the weekend; [136]  to extend the sitting to consider Government Orders; [137]  to deal with a specific motion under Government Business; [138]  to pass a government bill at all stages; [139]  to establish the length of speeches during a “take note” debate; [140]  and to attempt to rescind an Order of the House. [141]  There is no limit on how often the government can resort to this rule during one sitting.

Adopted in 1991, [142]  this procedure was relatively unused until the Thirty-Sixth Parliament (1997- ). [143]  Prior to its adoption, it was argued that the new proposed rule would have a negative impact on Members’ ability to debate government motions and “override unanimous consent”. [144]  On April 9, 1991, Speaker Fraser, while pointing out that the range of motions to which the proposed procedure would apply was very limited, also suggested that the new Standing Order was to be understood as another procedurally acceptable mechanism for limiting debate: “There are certain similarities also between the proposal and existing Standing Order 78 respecting time allocation in that both use a ladder-like type of approach depending upon the extent of agreement forthcoming to securing the right to propose the motion”. [145] 

Suspension of Standing Orders for Matter of Urgent Nature

When a situation arises that the government considers urgent, a Minister may move that the House suspend certain Standing Orders respecting notice requirements and the times of sitting in connection with that matter. [146]  For example, motion can be used to waive notice for the introduction of a bill or for any stage at which a notice is required. [147]  In moving the motion, the Minister gives reasons for the urgency of the situation and, after the motion has been seconded, the Speaker immediately proposes the question. [148]  In doing so, the Speaker may allow up to one hour of uninterrupted debate. [149]  Speeches are limited to 10 minutes each and no amendment is allowed except by another Minister. When putting the question, the Speaker is bound to ask those Members opposed to rise. If fewer than 10 do so, the motion is automatically adopted; [150]  if 10 or more do so, it is deemed to have been withdrawn. [151]  The resulting order, if the motion is adopted, applies only to the proceedings specified in that order.

This Standing Order is relatively recent and has been invoked infrequently since its adoption in 1968. The reasons for its establishment go back to 1964, when Prime Minister Pearson moved a motion, without notice, to send a Canadian peacekeeping force to Cyprus. Although the motion appeared to have the overall support of the House, some Members objected to the lack of notice. They argued that 48 hours’ advance warning was required before such an important matter could be discussed. Stating that the Prime Minister had obtained “leave”, the Deputy Speaker dismissed the objections and allowed the House to proceed with the motion. [152] 

Then, in 1966, when the House was asked to deal urgently with a strike by air traffic controllers, the Minister of Public Works suggested a procedural mechanism for the government to deal with urgent matters. As he explained, “ … a private member has a right to move the adjournment of the house to consider a matter of urgent public importance… . It is a curious anomaly that there is no corresponding provision enabling the government to bring any proceedings relating to the same matter before the house without notice.” [153]  Although opposition Members felt action was required, in the end, the Minister’s proposal was withdrawn. [154] 

When the present rule was agreed to two years later in 1968, it was evident from its wording that the events of 1966 had been taken into account. Indeed, the new rule was similar to the one proposed in 1966. In suggesting the addition of the rule, the Special Committee on Procedure wrote: “ … it seems reasonable to expect that the normal requirement of a notice of motion … might be dispensed with for the purpose of dealing with matters of urgency when the overwhelming majority of the House recognizes that it would be desirable to do so. It seems intolerable … that a single dissenting voice should be permitted to frustrate the otherwise unanimous will of the House… .” [155]  The rule has not been altered except for minor gender reference changes in 1982.

While intended to be used to waive notice requirements and set times of sitting, this Standing Order has been used to outline terms of debate in a manner that resembles time allocation. [156] 

For further information on debate in the House of Commons, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”, and Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.
The desire to restrict debate on certain questions, though frequently condemned today, is not entirely a new phenomenon. Dawson writes that “unrestricted debate has never existed in Canada and has not existed for several centuries in the United Kingdom” (Dawson, p. 3). See also Franks, pp. 128-32.
Speaker Fraser, addressing the issue of the Chair’s “discretionary powers” in protecting the rights of Members to speak freely on matters of “national interest”, ruled that “procedurally speaking, as your presiding officer… I am without authority to intervene when a Standing Order is used according to our rules and practices” (Debates, June 29, 1987, pp. 7713-4).
The Speaker has ruled on this issue on numerous occasions. See, for example, Debates, December 30, 1971, pp. 10846-7; October 24, 1980, pp. 4066-7; June 29, 1987, pp. 7713-4; October 8, 1997, pp. 662-6.
In the First Session of the First Parliament, a committee was appointed to consider whether “the despatch of Public Business can be more effectually promoted” (Journals, March 31, 1868, pp. 168-9). In 1869, a motion was adopted concerning the times for the assembling of Parliament; during the debate, concern was expressed that important business was rushed through at the end of the session (Journals, June 14, 1869, p. 241; Debates, June 14, 1869, pp. 779-80). A similar motion was adopted in 1873 (Journals, May 12, 1873, p. 330). In 1886, a motion was adopted concerning length of speeches; debate on the motion indicated that, in order to ensure proper attention to business before the House, some plan would have to be adopted to economize time (Debates, April 19, 1886, pp. 789-92).
For further information on the previous question, see section below.
Debates, April 9, 1913, col. 7391.
For a discussion on the changes in government workload and its incidence on the time allotment and closure rules in the House of Commons, see Stewart, pp. 238-9.
This aspect of procedural change has been widely chronicled; see, for example, the observations and analyses of Dawson, pp. 127-33; Franks, pp. 128-32; and Stewart, pp. 239-41.
In April 1913, the House adopted amendments to existing Rule 17 which restricted the number of debatable motions, and provided that on two days of the week certain motions which would ordinarily be debatable (specifically, motions for the House to resolve into the Committee of Supply or into the Committee of Ways and Means) would not be debatable (Journals, April 23, 1913, pp. 507-9). In 1927, the House adopted a rule to limit the speeches of a majority of Members to 40 minutes each (Journals, March 22, 1927, pp. 328-9). Further restrictions were imposed in 1955 when limits were placed on the length of the Address and Budget Debates, on debate in a Committee of the Whole and on debate on the motion for the House to resolve itself into the Committee of Supply (Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 908-9, 922-9). Permanent changes to the Standing Orders in October 1962 provided further limitations on the Address and Budget Debates and on debate during Private Members’ Business (Journals, April 12, 1962, p. 350). In 1968, amendments were made to the Standing Order limiting speeches in a Committee of the Whole (Journals, December 20, 1968, p. 573).
Standing Order 56.1.
Standing Order 53.
Standing Order 61. In Canada, the wording of the previous question has remained unaltered since it was first introduced in the House of Commons in 1867. In the Westminster version, the wording of the motion was changed to “That the question be not now put” in 1888 to avoid confusion with closure, which employs the same formula (May, 19th ed., p. 378).
See Journals, January 22, 1991, pp. 2592-3.
Journals, December 5, 1996, pp. 968-9.
In 1990, the previous question moved by a Minister on a government initiative was debated for approximately 40 minutes before being adopted (Debates, March 27, 1990, pp. 9849-55). For another example of short debate, see Journals, March 25, 1993, p. 2598.
On September 23, 1991, for example, the previous question was moved on a motion for second reading of a government bill; the debate continued during that sitting and the sittings of September 24, 25 and 27 before the question was put and the vote deferred to September 30 (Journals, September 23, 1991, pp. 378, 380; September 24, 1991, p. 388; September 25, 1991, pp. 394-5; September 27, 1991, p. 402; September 30, 1991, pp. 414-5).
See, for example, Journals, May 10, 1995, pp. 1458-9.
Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 160. See, for example, Journals, March 2, 1926, p. 123.
Standing Order 45(5).
Standing Order 61(2).
Beauchesne, 6th ed., p. 160.
In 1869, the main motion was not presented to the House again. On the other three occasions, it was. In 1870 and 1929, the revived motions were adopted and, in 1928, no decision was taken (Journals, May 31, 1869, pp. 163-4; April 28, 1870, pp. 254-5; June 1, 1928, p. 489; April 15, 1929, p. 242). The frequency of use of the previous question is discussed in Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.
The previous question has been withdrawn, on occasion, when negotiations had led to arrangements between parties. In 1983, for example, the mover of the previous question withdrew it, by unanimous consent, to allow the matter to be referred to a standing committee (Debates, February 9, 1983, pp. 22682-6). See also, Journals, May 10, 1990, p. 1685.
In 1985, Speaker Bosley ruled that “there is no question in my mind from reading the rules that there is no restriction on the moving of this motion in terms of whether it be by a Minister of the Crown, a Parliamentary Secretary or a Private Member” (Debates, January 28, 1985, p. 1708).
Journals, May 31, 1869, p. 163.
Journals, April 6, 1959, p. 289.
Journals, December 5, 1996, p. 968. The motivations for using the previous question have not always been the same and do not always involve curtailing debate. For example, Members of the opposition in favour of a government motion have moved the previous question not to cause the item to be dropped from the Order Paper but to signal their support for the government initiative and limit debate “by consent.” In 1992, just before moving the previous question on a government motion to amend the Constitution, Opposition Leader Jean Chrétien stated that it was “with great pleasure that I support this motion” (Debates, December 11, 1992, pp. 15086-7).
Dawson, p. 119.
Wilding and Laundy, p. 139.
Standing Order 57.
Originally the time for putting all questions to dispose of the closured business was set at 2:00 a.m. (Journals, April 23, 1913, pp. 507-9). In 1955, it was changed to 1:00 a.m. (Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 881, 910-1, 945) and, in 1991, to 11:00 p.m. (Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2905, 2913).
See, for example, Debates, December 21, 1988, p. 541.
Standing Order 78.
Journals, April 23, 1913, pp. 507-9. Although both Westminster and the Canadian House of Commons have closure rules, some differences are worth noting. First, the wording of the British version of the motion is in the affirmative: “that the question be now put”. Second, in the United Kingdom, closure is moved without notice, must be decided forthwith and, if adopted, ends debate immediately. Third, unlike in Canada, the Speaker can refuse to put the motion if it appears “that the motion is an abuse of the rules of the House, or an infringement of the rights of the minority.” Fourth, at least 100 Members must vote in favour of the closure motion for it to carry. See Standing Orders 35 and 36 of the Standing Orders of the British House of Commons. The Australian House of Representatives makes a distinction between “Closure of Member”, which reads: “That the Member from… be not further heard” (Standing Order 94) and “Closure of Question”, which reads: “That the question be now put” (Standing Order 93).
These are the franchise bill in 1885, the Manitoba school legislation in 1896, the franchise bill in 1908 and the reciprocity debate in 1911. See Dawson, p. 121.
“It is therefore altogether probable that, if the government can force the matter to a vote, it will be carried. On the other hand, the opposition can, if it sees fit, probably prevent a vote. There are 300 items which will give opportunity for illimitable discussion” (Debates, April 28, 1911, col. 8038).
Debates, December 14, 1909, cols. 1441-2.
Journals, April 23, 1913, pp. 507-9. For a detailed account of the Naval Aid Bill episode, see Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs, Vol. I, edited by Henry Borden, Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart, 1969, pp. 186-99; and Dawson, pp. 122-4.
Debates, May 9, 1913, col. 9445.
Between May 15 and June 5, 1956, closure was used at all four stages of the legislative process as it was then: resolution (Debates, May 15, 1956, p. 3895); second reading (Debates, May 22, 1956, p. 4165); Committee of the Whole (Debates, May 31, 1956, p. 4498) and third reading (Debates, June 5, 1956, p. 4689).
Some writers have commented that the use of closure during the Pipeline Debate has produced a lingering distaste for the closure rule, already the subject of some disrepute. See, for example, Stewart, pp. 242-6; Laundy, pp. 112-9.
Journals, December 9, 1957, p. 255.
Debates, July 21, 1960, p. 6676.
Journals, March 26, 1962, p. 277.
Journals, September 27, 1962, p. 15.
Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 30, 1976, Issue No. 20, p. 57.
In 1998, the opposition actually managed temporarily to repeal the rule (Journals, June 12, 1998, pp. 1027-8).
See, for example, Debates, October 22, 1980, p. 3934 (during Routine Proceedings).
See, for example, Debates, March 1, 1926, p. 1431; July 16, 1981, p. 11629.
See, for example, Debates, April 6, 1981, p. 9014.
See, for example, Journals, August 29, 1917, p. 605; in December 1988, notice of closure was given on the first day of debate at second reading, Committee of the Whole and third reading stages of Bill C-2, Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Journals, December 15, 1988, pp. 36-7; December 20, 1988, p. 61; Debates, December 20, 1988, p. 500; Journals, December 22, 1988, pp. 72-3).
On March 1, 1926, after some 25 days of debate, the government gave notice of closure on the motion for the Address in Reply; the motion was moved and adopted on March 2 (Journals, pp. 121, 123).
See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, December 15, 1988, p. 78.
In 1969, three notices of closure were given in respect to a motion for concurrence in the report of a procedure committee (Journals, July 22, 1969, pp. 1383; July 23, 1969, p. 1386; July 24, 1969, p. 1393). The closure motion was moved on July 24, 1969 (Journals, p. 1396). In 1987, two notices of closure were given on a motion concerning capital punishment (Journals, June 18, 1987, p. 1200; June 26, 1987, p. 1263). The closure motion was moved during the following sitting (Journals, June 29, 1987, p. 1274).
Journals, December 4, 1986, pp. 272, 274; August 26, 1987, p. 1384; August 28, 1987, pp. 1396-7.
Debates, June 16, 1989, pp. 3146-8.
See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, December 15, 1988, pp. 76-8.
Following a question of privilege protesting the government’s intent to invoke closure on the motion relating to the reinstatement of capital punishment, Speaker Fraser ruled that the timing of closure in a debate is not a procedural matter and that the Chair has no discretionary power to refuse the motion and is without authority to intervene when a Standing Order is used according to the House’s rules and practices (Debates, June 29, 1987, pp. 7713-4). See also, Journals, July 24, 1969, pp. 1397-9; Debates, February 7, 1990, pp. 7953-4.
Standing Order 57.
Journals, December 14, 1964, p. 1000.
Debates, April 13, 1921, p. 2094; October 23, 1980, pp. 4049-53.
In 1969, Speaker Lamoureux delivered a ruling in which he reviewed the precedents and concluded that if the debate as a whole is to be closured, then any amendment or other motion applying to the main motion is included in the termination time set out in the closure rule (Journals, July 24, 1969, pp. 1393-6).
Standing Order 45(3).
On occasion, debate on a closured item has collapsed prior to the cut-off time. See, for example, Journals, June 26, 1989, pp. 450-3; March 4, 1996, pp. 33-5, 39-42; and Debates, March 4, 1996, pp. 270-3.
See Journals, December 6, 1995, pp. 2214-6; March 14, 1996, pp. 94-6.
Standing Order 45(7).
See, for example, Debates, April 1, 1932, p. 1609; May 31, 1956, pp. 4516-7; December 21, 1988, pp. 539-41.
Debates, May 24, 1956, pp. 4286-93.
Debates, April 28, 1919, p. 1796.
Debates, May 15, 1956, pp. 3968-72.
Standing Order 78.
See, for example, Journals, November 28, 1996, p. 930.
Since time allocation can be used to curtail debate, it is commonly referred to as “closure” in debate.
Between May 15 and June 5, 1956, closure was used at all four stages of the legislative process as it was then: resolution (Debates, May 15, 1956, p. 3895); second reading (Debates, May 22, 1956, p. 4165); Committee of the Whole (Debates, May 31, 1956, p. 4498); and third reading (Debates, June 5, 1956, p. 4689).
As comments from that period suggest, Members were eager to see the time of the House used more efficiently. See, for example, Debates, May 9, 1960, pp. 3685, 3692; January 18, 1961, p. 1169; March 26, 1962, pp. 2162-6.
See comments by Finance Minister Donald Fleming (Debates, May 9, 1960, pp. 3685, 3687); by Opposition Leader Lester B. Pearson and CCF Leader Hazen Argue (Debates, January 18, 1961, pp. 1169-70); by Opposition Leader John G. Diefenbaker (Debates, October 23, 1963, pp. 3925-31) and by Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre) (Debates, May 20, 1965, pp. 1530-1).
Motions to appoint the special committees were adopted on May 9, 1960 (Journals, p. 434); January 18, 1961 (Journals, p. 163); March 26, 1962 (Journals, p. 277); October 23, 1963 (Journals, p. 482); March 9, 1964 (Journals, pp. 76-7); January 25, 1967 (Journals, pp. 1227-8); May 8, 1967 (Journals, p. 12).
Journals, August 19, 1964, p. 633.
Journals, May 19, 1965, pp. 128-9.
See Journals for May 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 and 27, and June 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8, 1965.
Journals, June 8, 1965, pp. 210-1.
Journals, June 11, 1965, pp. 219-23.
Speaker Lamoureux noted that the provisional Standing Order “not only dispenses with the requirement for 48 hours’ notice with respect to a motion for time allocation; it also renders inoperative the ordinary machinery for putting a notice on the order paper” (Debates, April 20, 1967, pp. 15120-1).
Journals, September 20, 1968, p. 58.
Journals, September 24, 1968, p. 68
Journals, December 6, 1968, pp. 439-40.
Journals, December 20, 1968, p. 579.
The Third Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization was presented on June 20, 1969 (Journals, pp. 1211-2), and adopted on July 24, 1969 (Journals, pp. 1393-402), after debate which continued over 12 sitting days and was brought to an end with the aid of closure.
On December 1, 1971, points of order were raised regarding the wording and interpretation of Standing Order 78(3). Speaker Lamoureux ruled that 48 hours’ written notice was not required to move a time allocation motion and, furthermore, that it was regular to move such a motion for the disposal of proceedings for the stage being considered by the House (Journals, pp. 947-8).
In 1971, Speaker Lamoureux ruled that, in essence, independent Members would not receive the recognition accorded to Members represented by a party spokesperson, according to the wording of Standing Order 78(1) (Journals, December 30, 1971, pp. 1013-4).
Debates, November 13, 1975, p. 9022.
Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, September 30, 1976, Issue No. 20, pp. 59-63.
Debates, December 20, 1978, pp. 2317-20.
See pages 20 and 21 of “Position Paper: The Reform of Parliament”, tabled on November 23, 1979 (Journals, p. 260).
Debates, March 7, 1983, pp. 23510-1.
Debates, October 26, 1983, pp. 28357-8.
Debates, May 16, 1985, pp. 4821-2.
Journals, June 3, 1987, pp. 1026-7.
Debates, August 15, 1988, pp. 18309-11; August 16, 1988, pp. 18352-5, 18380-1.
Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2915-6.
For a procedural definition of a recognized party, see Chapter 1, “Parliamentary Institutions”. See also Journals, December 30, 1971, pp. 1013-4; Debates, April 2, 1993, p. 18052.
Standing Order 78(1).
See, for example, Debates, July 22, 1977, p. 7916.
There are times when, rather than resorting to the written rule, party representatives agree on an allocation of time, which the House then adopts by unanimous consent. See, for example Journals, October 26, 1978, pp. 69-70 (timetable for the consideration of a bill, including number of committee meetings, instruction to amend, and committee reporting deadline); March 10, 1987, p. 568 (agreement to complete consideration of two bills at all stages); March 20, 1992, p. 1192 (agreement to consider all stages of a bill).
Standing Order 78(2).
Debates, August 16, 1988, pp. 18380-1. On this occasion, the two parties in opposition contended that an agreement had been reached pursuant to the rule, to which the government was not a party; however, the Chair ruled that the initiative of announcing any agreement or lack thereof is clearly with the government (i.e., a Minister), who must be party to any agreement and whose support is signified by his or her rising under the terms of the Standing Order.
Standing Order 76.1(10).
Standing Order 78(2)(a). See, for example, Journals, June 21, 1994, pp. 633-7, when no less than four motions were moved and adopted to allocate time in respect to four bills.
Standing Order 78(2)(b).
Standing Order 78(3).
See, for example, Debates, December 1, 1971, pp. 10050-1.
Standing Order 76.1(10).
Written notice of a motion for the allocation of time is acceptable when given in addition to oral notice (see Speaker Bosley’s ruling, Debates, May 16, 1985, pp. 4821-2).
See, for example, Debates, April 2, 1990, pp. 10102-3; April 3, 1990, p. 10124.
Standing Order 78(3). The Speaker has ruled that oral notice of an intention to move a motion for time allocation is not covered by the rule pertaining to notice (Standing Order 54(1)) and that 48 hours’ written notice is therefore not required (Journals, December 1, 1971, p. 948).
See, for example, Debates, March 7, 1983, p. 23511; October 19, 1983, pp. 28127-9; June 3, 1988, pp. 16127-8.
Standing Order 78(3). See, for example, Debates, December 1, 1982, p. 21172; Journals, December 1, 1982, p. 5408.
See Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, August 16, 1988, pp. 18380-1.
In this case, 0.1 hour was allocated to the report stage and 0.25 hour to third reading (all-party agreement) (Journals, April 2, 1993, pp. 2791-2).
Standing Order 78.
Standing Order 78(2)(a), (3)(a).
Standing Order 78(3)(b).
For example, consideration of Bill C-85 (Canagrex Act) was resumed several months after a time allocation motion for both report stage and third reading had been adopted by the House (Journals, December 13, 1982, p. 5458 (notice of time allocation given); December 16, 1982, pp. 5470-1 (time allocation motion adopted); June 7, 1983, pp. 5972-87 (report stage); June 13, 1983, pp. 6000-2 (third reading)).
Standing Order 45(3).
In 1987, for example, the question on the motion for third reading of a bill, under an order for time allocation adopted on June 15 (Journals, pp. 1094-5), was put on June 17 and deferred to June 18, pursuant to a special order adopted on June 16 (Journals, p. 1175).
Standing Order 45(6)(a). See, for example, Journals, November 27, 1992, p. 2252; December 1, 1995, p. 2199; March 12, 1999, p. 1601.
Standing Order 45(7).
Standing Order 45(5). See, for example, Journals, November 29, 1996, p. 939.
Debates, April 4, 1990, pp. 10183-5; December 9, 1992, pp. 14917-23; March 31, 1993, pp. 17854-62.
Debates, June 6, 1988, pp. 16139, 16142-9; August 16, 1988, pp. 18380-1; March 29, 1990, pp. 9916-7; October 1, 1990, p. 13622.
Standing Order 56.1.
Standing Order 56.1(1)(b).
See, for example, Journals, March 22, 1999, p. 1645.
See, for example, Journals, March 16, 1995, p. 1226; April 24, 1997, pp. 1524-5.
See, for example, Journals, March 23, 1995, p. 1265.
See, for example, Journals, June 15, 1995, p. 1754.
See, for example,Journals,April 12, 1999, p. 1687.
See, for example, Journals,December 1, 1997, pp. 290-1.
See, for example, Journals,April 12, 1999, p. 1687.
See, for example, Journals,June 9, 1998, p. 954.
Journals, April 11, 1991, p. 2913.
Practically unused during the Thirty-Fifth Parliament, Standing Order 56.1 was moved six times between September 1997 and June 1999. It could be argued that, because of the 25-Member provision, Standing Order 56.1 is particularly attractive when there are many officially recognized opposition parties.
See, for example, Debates, March 26, 1991, p. 19044.
Debates, April 9, 1991, pp. 19233-7, especially p. 19236.
Standing Order 53.
In 1992, Standing Order 53(1) was used to waive the 48-hour notice requirement for the beginning of the report stage of a government bill (Journals, June 1, 1992, pp. 1560-1).
In 1992, Deputy Speaker Champagne ruled the motion out of order because, contrary to the terms of Standing Order 53(2), the Minister had not stated the reasons for the urgency of the motion when he presented it to the House. See Debates, December 11, 1992, pp. 15132-3.
See, for example, Debates, June 10, 1999, pp. 16227-30.
See, for example, Journals, March 15, 1995, p. 1219.
See, for example, Journals, March 20, 1995, p. 1240; June 10, 1999, p. 2097.
Debates, March 13, 1964, pp. 911, 916, 921-2.
Debates, December 16, 1966, pp. 11230-1.
See Debates, December 16, 1966, pp. 11229-34.
See the Third Report of the Special Committee on Procedure, presented on December 6, 1968 (Journals, p. 435).
See, for example, Journals, September 16, 1991, pp. 270-1.

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