House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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8. The Parliamentary Cycle

On Mondays, for example, the usual time of meeting is 11:00 a.m. (Standing Order 24(1)); when the House was recalled at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 1991, the Speaker made the usual statement as to the recall, and the House proceeded with the daily program for Monday afternoon as set out in the Standing Orders (Journals, February 25, 1991, pp. 2602-21).
Journals, August 11, 1987, p. 1308; December 18, 1987, pp. 2018-9.
See, for example, the so-called special sessions, described elsewhere in this chapter.
For example, during the First Session of the Thirty-Third Parliament, the House adjourned on July 24, 1986, until September 8, 1986. On August 28, 1986, the session was ended by prorogation and the Second Session was set to begin on October 1, 1986. On September 25,1986, a new proclamation was issued, fixing September 30, 1986, as the date of the opening of the new session.
See Privy Council minute, P. C. 3374, dated October 25, 1935, a “Memorandum regarding certain of the functions of the Prime Minister”, which stated that recommendations (to the Crown) concerning the convocation and dissolution of Parliament are the “special prerogatives” of the Prime Minister.
For example, the opening of the Fifth Session of the Twenty-Fourth Parliament, originally set for November 7, 1961, was changed by successive proclamations to December 16, 1961, then to January 25, 1962, and finally to January 18, 1962.
For further details, see Chapter 20, “Committees”.
Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 102-3.
See, for example, Journals, October 21, 1970, p. 46; May 9, 1972, p. 281; March 8, 1974, pp. 25-6; October 3, 1986, pp. 47-8. In 1986, the special order included a provision to bring forward from committee any evidence adduced and documents received in relation to the revived bills. A bill has also been reinstated after a dissolution; see Journals, October 1, 1997, p. 56, and Debates, October 1, 1997, p. 338.
Journals, July 22, 1977, p. 1432; March 22, 1982, pp. 4626-8.
Journals, May 17, 1991, pp. 42-5; May 23, 1991, p. 59.
Debates, May 28, 1991, pp. 702-3; May 29, 1991, pp. 733-5; Journals, May 29, 1991, pp. 102-9.
If, when proposing a motion for the first reading of a bill during the first 30 sitting days of the new session, the mover stated that the bill was in the same form as a bill at the time of prorogation, and if the Speaker was so satisfied, then the bill was deemed to have reached the same stage as the previous bill at prorogation. The motion was moved on the second sitting day of the session, and closured and adopted on the third day (Journals, March 1, 1996, pp. 23-5; March 4, 1996, pp. 33-5, 39-41).
Standing Order 49.
Debates, June 27, 1986, p. 14969.
For example, during the First Session of the Thirty-Fourth Parliament, the House adjourned on December 30, 1988, to resume on March 6, 1989; Parliament was prorogued on February 28, 1989, with the opening of the Second Session fixed for April 3, 1989. During the Second Session of the Thirty-Fourth Parliament, the House adjourned to the call of the Chair on May 8, 1991. Parliament was prorogued on May 12, 1991, with the opening of the Third Session fixed for May 13, 1991.
For example, the 1940-42, 1942-43, 1943-44, 1977-78 and 1978-79 sessions (the first four sessions of the Nineteenth Parliament and the Second,Third and Fourth Sessions of the Thirtieth Parliament) were in each case adjourned, reconvened, ended by prorogation with the new session starting the next day.
See, for example, Journals, January 8, 1957; May 8, 1967; October 12, 1976.
Prorogation has not taken place in this manner since 1983, the end of the First Session of the Thirty-Second Parliament (Journals, November 30, 1983, pp. 6632-46).
The Constitution provides for a maximum five-year lifespan for the House, and for a sitting of Parliament at least once every 12 months (see 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). For comments on this issue, see J. Patrick Boyer, Election Law in Canada, Vol. 1, Toronto: Butterworths, 1987, pp. 164-6.
Canada Elections Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. E-2, s. 79.
In June 1926, Governor General Byng refused to dissolve Parliament, whereupon Prime Minister Mackenzie King resigned and the leader of the opposition, Arthur Meighen, was invited to form a government (Journals, June 28-9, 1926, pp. 483-6; Debates, June 28-9, 1926, pp. 5096-7). For further details, see Chapter 2, “Parliaments and Ministries”.
Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 104-5.
In 1997, for example, the proclamation of April 27, summoning Parliament to meet on June 23, was superseded by proclamations which changed the date of summons to August 1, then to August 29 and finally September 22.
See, for example, Journals, February 1, 1958, p. 398, and Debates, February 1,1958, pp. 4199-202; Journals, December 14, 1979, p. 350, and Debates, December 14, 1979, p. 2363 (announced by the Prime Minister); Journals, March 26, 1979, p. 594, and Debates, March 26, 1979, p. 4517 (announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council).
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, s. 2. A demise of the Crown can occur on the death, deposition or abdication of the sovereign, at which time the Kingdom is transferred or demised to a successor.
Wilding and Laundy, pp. 202-3.
An Act for continuing the Provincial Parliament, in case of the demise of the Crown, S.C. 1843, c. 3.
Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 103-4.
An Act for continuing the Parliament of Canada, in case of the demise of the Crown, S.C. 1867-68, c. 22. See also Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 103-4.
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1 as amended by S.C. 1991, c. 20, s. 2 (s. 53).
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, s. 69.
Constitution Act, 1982, , R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 44, s. 4(1). See also Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, c. 50.
The Seventh and Seventeenth Parliaments extended almost to the five-year limit. In the first case, the date set for the return of the writs was April 25, 1891 (Journals, Vol. XXV (1891), p. x) and dissolution took place on April 24, 1896 (Journals, Vol. XXXI (1896), p. v). In the second case, the writs were returnable on August 18, 1930 (Journals, Vol. LXVIII, Special Session (1930), p. iv) and Parliament was dissolved on August 15, 1935 (Journals, Vol. LXXIV (1936), p. iii).
In Australia, the Third Parliament (the only instance of the expiration of the House of Representatives through effluxion of time) had its final sitting on December 8, 1909, was prorogued to January 26, 1910, and on January 18 was again prorogued to February 19, 1910, at which time it expired.  Election writs were issued on February 28, 1910 (House of Representatives Practice, 3rd ed., p. 238).
The expiration of New Zealand’s twenty-seventh Parliament in 1946 went unnoticed due to an earlier departure from the country’s usual electoral timetable, and a proclamation dissolving the Parliament was made and acted on.  The forty-second Parliament was dissolved in 1990 on the day it was due to expire.  According to the practice in New Zealand, when Parliament expires, the procedures for holding a general election operate as if a dissolution had taken place on the date of expiration (McGee, 2nd ed., pp. 128-30).
British North America (No. 2) Act, 1949, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 33; see also Constitution Act, 1982, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 44, s. 4(2).
British North America Act, 1916, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 24. The writs for the general election electing the Twelfth Parliament were returnable on October 7, 1911 (Journals, Vol. XLVI (1910-11), p. 563). Dissolution occurred on October 6, 1917 (Journals, Vol. LIV (1918), p. iii). The Act was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act, 1927.

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