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

The Executive Committee exists by virtue of By-Law 201 of the Board of Internal Economy. The Board’s power to make by-laws is conferred by section 52.5(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act.
Maingot, 2nd ed., p.183.
An incident in 1998 illustrates the authority of the Speaker over access to the precinct. On February 26, 1998, a Member’s employee, carrying a large flag, accosted a Member in the House of Commons foyer, and security staff intervened. The Speaker investigated the incident and the employee in question was required, for a minimum period of one year, to confine his activity in the Centre Block to the public entrance and the party offices on one floor of the building.
See Standing Orders 157 and 158.
See, for example, the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, presented on September 21, 1973 (Journals, p. 567). See also the Speaker’s comments in Debates, November 30, 1979, pp. 1890-2; May 19, 1989, pp. 1951-3. For further information, see Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.
National Capital Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-4, s. 10(1).
National Capital Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-4, s. 10(2)(d).
An example would be messages to the House from the Senate, which are read by the Speaker in the course of the sitting (see, for example, Debates, December 3, 1998, p. 10888).
Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 176. For further information about the Mace, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.
In the absence of the Speaker, the Presiding Officer for the sitting takes the Speaker’s place in the parade. For further information on the Speaker’s parade, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.
For further information on the opening of a Parliament or a session, see Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”.
For further information on the Royal Assent ceremony, see Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”.
For further information on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.
The associations are: Canada-China Legislative Association; Canada-France Inter-parliamentary Association; Canada-Japan Inter-parliamentary Group; Canada-United Kingdom Inter-parliamentary Association; Canada-United States Inter-parliamentary Group; L’Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie; Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association; Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; Inter-parliamentary Union; and the North Atlantic Assembly (Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association).
The friendship groups are the Canada-Germany Friendship Group, the Canada-Israel Friendship Group and the Canada-Italy Friendship Group.
The Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons are members of the Joint Inter-parliamentary Council, which is responsible for budget allocation among the associations.
Other Members who have attempted to direct the attention of the House to the presence of visitors have been ruled out of order (see, for example, Debates, February 6, 1992, p. 6550). See also Speaker Fraser’s remarks in Debates, October 5, 1990, pp. 13867-8. It has also happened that the practice has been departed from (see, for example, Debates, November 28, 1989, p. 6359).
See, for example, Debates, December 13, 1994, p. 9003 (recognition following Question Period); March 23, 1994, p. 2666 (recognition prior to Question Period); June 3, 1992, p. 11294 (recognition during Question Period).
On one occasion, however, a group of World War II veterans seated in the Diplomatic Gallery was recognized by the Speaker (Debates, June 6, 1994, p. 4858).
In 1996 and 1998, the House sat as a Committee of the Whole for ceremonies recognizing the national Olympic and Paralympic Teams of the 1996 Summer Games and the 1998 Winter Games, for which the athletes were brought onto the floor of the House (Journals, October 1, 1996, p. 699; Debates, October 1, 1996, pp. 4944-6; Journals, April 22, 1998, p. 691; Debates, April 22, 1998, pp. 5959-60).
For further information on joint addresses to Parliament, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.
Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 44.
Constitution Act, 1867, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 45.
Standing Order 2(1), (2).
Of the 33 Speakers who have served the House since Confederation, 26 were elected at the opening of a Parliament; another two were re-elected at the opening of a Parliament, having first been elected in the course of the previous Parliament. See Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”.
Standing Orders 2 and 6.
Standing Order 2(3).
Of the Speakers elected at the beginning of a Parliament (as opposed to those elected in the course of a session), the nominations of eight have been seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, starting in 1953.
For a typical example, see the election of Speaker Michener on October 14, 1957 (Journals, pp. 7-8; Debates, pp. 1-4). No more than one name was ever proposed at any election. Occasionally, there was opposition to the name put forward. For example, Speaker Anglin was elected on a recorded division in 1878 (Journals, February 7, 1878, pp. 9-10). In 1936, Speaker Casgrain was elected “on division”—meaning it was not unanimous (Journals, February 6, 1936, p. 8). The House “divided” on the question, but no recorded vote was requested.
Wilding and Laundy, pp. 706-7. Laundy (pp. 14, 64) identifies Sir Richard Waldegrave as the founder of this tradition in 1381: “In all probability he anticipated a dispute between the King and the Commons which could result in embarrassment for himself. Little could he have known that in expressing his own genuine reluctance to serve as Speaker he was founding a tradition which was to endure for centuries, long after it had become completely meaningless”.
See the Fourth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, presented on December 3, 1982 (Journals, p. 5420).
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).
The proposed amendments to the Standing Orders were tabled on June 27, 1985, and adopted the same day (Journals, pp. 910-9).
Journals, September 30, 1986, pp. 2-8; see also Debates, September 30, 1986, pp. 1-10.
Journals, June 3, 1987, p. 1016. After the Standing Orders were reorganized and renumbered in 1988, the original Standing Order on the election of the Speaker was divided into the present Standing Orders 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The Usher of the Black Rod is an officer of the Senate whose responsibilities include delivering messages to the House of Commons when its Members’ attendance is required in the Senate Chamber by the Governor General or a Deputy of the Governor General. (In November 1997, the title of the office was changed to Usher of the Black Rod from Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. See Senate Debates, November 6, 1997, pp. 333-43.)
A Deputy to the Governor General is a person, usually a Justice of the Supreme Court, who exercises the powers of the Governor General on certain occasions.
Standing Order 5.
Standing Order 3.
Standing Order 4(1).
See, for example, Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 2. In practice, the Clerk sends a written reminder of these provisions to all Members.
This occurred in 1986; the Member who did so, John A. Fraser, was eventually elected Speaker.
See Philip Laundy, “Electing a Speaker — Canadian Style”, The Table, Vol. LV for 1987, pp. 42-50. The author was a Clerk Assistant at the House of Commons at the time of the first secret-ballot election of a Speaker.
Standing Order 3(1)(a). Length of service is determined by reference to the Canada Gazette, which publishes the names of Members elected in the order in which the returns are received by the Chief Electoral Officer.
Standing Order 3(1)(b).
Standing Order 3(1)(c).
Standing Order 3(2).
Standing Order 4(3).
See, for example, Debates, December 12, 1988, pp. 1-2; January 17, 1994, p. 1.
Standing Order 4(2).
Standing Order 4(4).

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