House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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19. Committees of the Whole House

Resolving into a Committee of the Whole

When the Order of the Day is read for the House to go into a Committee of the Whole to consider a resolution or motion [62]  or when it is ordered that a bill be considered in a Committee of the Whole, [63]  no question is put. [64]  The Speaker leaves the Chair and exits the Chamber. [65]  The Chair of the Committee is taken by the Chairman, Deputy Chairman or Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole. The Chairman of the Committee sits in the Clerk’s chair at the head of the Table, and the Table Officers sit to the right and left of the Chairman. One of the Table Officers acts as the clerk of the Committee. [66] 

If legislation is being discussed in a Committee of the Whole, the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the legislation sits at one of the front row desks on the government side of the Chamber. The Minister acts both as a witness, by answering any questions Members may have, and as a member of the Committee, participating in debate, voting and moving amendments to the bill, should he or she wish to do so. The Minister may be assisted by one or two departmental officials who are seated at a small table on the floor of the House in front of the Minister. Before proceedings begin, the officials are escorted by a senior page to their place; they are escorted out of the Chamber immediately after the Committee rises and before the Speaker takes the Chair. This is the only occasion when persons other than Members and House staff are permitted on the floor of the Chamber when the House is sitting.

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