House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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21. Private Members’ Business

Management of Private Members’ Business

The Speaker is responsible for the orderly conduct of Private Members’ Business, ensuring that there is a minimum 24 hours’ notice of items to be considered during Private Members’ Hour, identifying identical or similar items of Private Members’ Business, arranging the exchange of items in the order of precedence and rescheduling debate if Private Members’ Hour is delayed for more than 90 minutes.

The Clerk of the House is responsible for most of the administrative and procedural duties associated with Private Members’ Business. These include making arrangements for the draws to establish the order of precedence, ensuring that Members and their staff know when their items of business are to be taken up during Private Members’ Hour and providing the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with procedural advice on Private Members’ Business.

Legislative counsel assists Members in the drafting of their bills for introduction in the House and in the drafting of amendments to legislation. Priority in the drafting of private Members’ bills is accorded to those Members who have not previously had a bill drafted by legislative counsel during that session. [159]  Legislative advice usually involves the appropriateness of the proposed legislation, taking into account constitutional requirements or impediments, vested rights issues, drafting conventions, and procedural requirements. While Members may draft their own bills or retain outside counsel for that purpose, before these bills are introduced in the House, they are reviewed by legislative counsel for constitutionality, form and compliance with drafting conventions. In addition, all private Members’ bills are certified by legislative counsel before introduction in the House.

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