House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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7. The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House

Earlier presiding officers were called “parlour”, “prolocutor” and “procurator” (Wilding and Laundy, p. 707).
May, 22nd ed., p. 9.
The task of communicating the resolutions of the Commons to the King was not an enviable one. At least nine Speakers are known to have died violently — four during the stormy period of the Wars of the Roses (mid-fifteenth century) (Philip Laundy, The Office of Speaker in the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, London: Quiller Press, 1984, pp. 19-20).
This is exemplified by the remark of Speaker Finch, in 1629, to an angry House which did not wish to comply with a royal command to adjourn: “I am not less the King’s servant for being yours!” (Laundy, p. 31).
Laundy, p. 34.
Laundy, pp. 68-71.
In Canadian practice, a retiring Speaker is not guaranteed a position or posting. In recent years, Speakers Lamoureux (1966-74) and Francis (1984) were appointed Ambassadors; Speaker Michener (1957-62) was appointed High Commissioner to India and, in 1967, was named Governor General; Speaker Macnaughton (1963-66) was appointed to the Senate; Speaker Sauvé (1980-84) was named Governor General; Speaker Jerome (1974-80) was appointed a Judge to the Federal Court; Speaker Bosley (1984-86) continued as a private Member; Speaker Fraser (1986-94) was appointed Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment.
See next section, “Governing Provisions”.
For a description of this process, see Redlich, Vol. I, pp. 52-72.
See Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”.
An example is the recurring proposal for the establishment of a special constituency for the Speaker, designated as Parliament Hill, with the electorate being the Members of the House of Commons. A private Members’ bill with this objective was introduced on October 20, 1970 (Journals, p. 40) and debated on October 29, 1971 (Debates, pp. 9186-92). See also the Fourth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, presented on December 3, 1982 (Journals, p. 5420) and paragraph 11 of the First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, presented on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211).
Seven Speakers have served in two Parliaments: Cockburn (1867-74), Anglin (1874-79), Rhodes (1917-22), Michener (1957-62), Jerome (1974-80), Fraser (1986-94) and Parent, who was first elected in 1994 (see Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”).
Speaker Jerome (1974-80), elected to a second term to serve as Speaker during the minority government of Prime Minister Clark in 1979, was the first and only Speaker to be elected from an opposition party. Prior to 1986, Speakers were elected on a motion proposed by the Prime Minister and the practice of alternating between anglophone and francophone Speakers was well entrenched (see Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”). Following rule changes adopted in 1985 (see Journals, June 27, 1985, pp. 910-9), the election has been conducted as a secret ballot. See the section of this chapter entitled “Election of the Speaker as Presiding Officer”.
Precedence (the right to precede others) in ceremonies and matters of protocol is governed by the Table of Precedence for Canada. See “Official Precedence” in successive editions of the Canadian Parliamentary Guide.
Order in Council approved on December 19, 1968.
See the Salaries Act for salaries of Cabinet Ministers and the Parliament of Canada Act for the Speaker’s salary.
Journals, June 11, 1965, p. 224.
See Standing Orders 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, ss. 44-47, 49.
SeeParliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, ss. 13(1), 23(2), 25(1), 28, 42-4, 50-3, 60, 70(2) and (3), 74.
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1, ss. 42, 43.
Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-1 as amended by S.C. 1991, c. 20, s. 2 (s. 53).
Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. E-3, s. 6.
Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, R.S.C. 1985, 2nd Supp., c. 6, ss. 5, 6.
Official Languages Act, R.S.C. 1985, 4th Supp., c. 31, s. 49(4).
For further details, see the section of this chapter entitled “Tabling of Documents”.
For further information and examples, see the section on statutory debates in Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.
See, for example, Standing Orders 9 to 14 and 19. For examples of administrative responsibilities set out in the Standing Orders, see Standing Orders 22, 107, 121 and 148 to 159.
Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 143-4.
Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 149-50. See also Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, April 14, 1987, pp. 5119-24.
See, for example, Debates, January 26, 1967, pp. 12271-2; October 11, 1979, p. 69; May 3, 1990, pp. 10941-2; October 25, 1995, pp. 15812-3.
Parliamentary privilege is the “sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively as a constituent part of the High Court of Parliament, and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals” (May, 22nd ed., p. 65). See also Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.
See, for example, Debates of the Senate, September 23, 1997, p. 3.
Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 49-50. See later sections of this chapter for information on the election of the Speaker during the course of a Parliament.
See paragraph 3 of the First Report of the Special Committee on the Rights and Immunities of Members, presented on April 29, 1977 (Journals, pp. 720-9).
For further information, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.
Speaker Fraser has observed that there can be no freedom of speech without order in the House (Debates, March 24, 1993, pp. 17486-8).
Prima facie means “at first sight” or “on the face of it”. Maingot offers the following definition: “A prima facie case of privilege in the parliamentary sense is one where the evidence on its face as outlined by the Member is sufficiently strong for the House to be asked to debate the matter and to send it to a committee to investigate whether the privileges of the House have been breached or a contempt has occurred and report to the House” (2nd ed., p. 221).
Maingot, 2nd ed., p. 220.
Standing Order 48(1). The wording of the rule is unchanged since Confederation. For further information on the role of the Speaker in deciding on a question of privilege, see Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.
Standing Order 10.
See, for example, Debates, March 9, 1992, pp. 7840-1.
Standing Order 19. See, for example, Debates, October 16, 1986, pp. 402-6.
See, for example, Debates, October 27, 1986, pp. 767-8; October 29, 1986, p. 864.
See, for example, Journals, March 28, 1916, pp. 201-2; June 1, 1956, pp. 678-9; Debates, May 13, 1999, pp. 15108-9.
Standing Order 10. Matters of order and decorum are addressed in greater detail in Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.
Standing Order 11(2).
See, for example, Debates, September 25, 1989, p. 3818; September 26, 1996, p. 4715.
See, for example, Debates, August 11, 1988, p. 18232; April 22, 1997, pp. 10103, 10106.
See, for example, Debates, March 22, 1971, pp. 4467-9; October 26, 1998, p. 9396.

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