House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867

The Speaker of the House of Commons assumes the position of highest authority in the House, and represents the Commons in all its powers, proceedings and dignity.  The duties of the Speaker fall into three categories: 1) acting as the spokesperson of the House; 2) presiding over sittings of the House and maintaining order and decorum; and 3) assuming important administrative responsibilities.  Provisions for the Speakership are defined in the Constitution Act, 1867, in the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C. 1985, and in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.  The election of the Speaker by the House is a constitutional requirement.  At the beginning of every Parliament, the House must elect a Speaker from amongst its Members.  From Confederation until 1985, Speakers were elected by way of motion usually initiated by the Prime Minister.  Provisional rules adopted in June 1985, and made permanent in June 1987, have since provided for the election of the Speaker by secret ballot.

Date of Election as Speaker Parliament
James Cockburn (Conservative)
James Cockburn
November 6, 1867 1st Parliament
March 5, 1873 2nd Parliament
Timothy Warren Anglin (Liberal)
Timothy Warren Anglin [1]
March 26, 1874 1st Session, 3rd Parliament to
4th Session, 3rd Parliament (1874-77)
February 7, 1878 5th Session, 3rd Parliament
Joseph-Godéric Blanchet (Liberal-Conservative)
Joseph-Godéric Blanchet
February 13, 1879 4th Parliament
George Airey Kirkpatrick (Liberal-Conservative)
George Airey Kirkpatrick
February 8, 1883 5th Parliament
Joseph-Aldéric Ouimet (Liberal-Conservative)
Joseph-Aldéric Ouimet
April 13, 1887 6th Parliament
Peter White (Conservative)
Peter White
April 29, 1891 7th Parliament
James David Edgar (Liberal)
James David Edgar [2]
August 19, 1896 1st Session, 8th Parliament to
4th Session, 8th Parliament (1896-99)
Thomas Bain (Liberal)
Thomas Bain
August 1, 1899 4th Session, 8th Parliament to
5th Session, 8th Parliament (1899-1900)
Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Liberal)
Louis-Philippe Brodeur [3]
February 6, 1901 1st Session, 9th Parliament to
3rd Session, 9th Parliament (1901-04)
Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt (Liberal)
Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt
March 10, 1904 4th Session, 9th Parliament
Robert Frankli Sutherland (Liberal)
Robert Frankli Sutherland
January 11, 1905 10th Parliament
Charles Marcil (Liberal)
Charles Marcil
January 20, 1909 11th Parliament
Thomas Simpson Sproule (Conservative)
Thomas Simpson Sproule [4]
November 15, 1911 1st Session, 12th Parliament to
5th Session, 12th Parliament (1911-15)
Albert Sévigny (Conservative)
Albert Sévigny [5]
January 12, 1916 6th Session, 12th Parliament
Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Conservative)
Edgar Nelson Rhodes
January 18, 1917 7th Session, 12th Parliament
March 18, 1918 13th Parliament
Rodolphe Lemieux (Liberal)
Rodolphe Lemieux [6]
March 8, 1922 14th Parliament
January 7, 1926 15th Parliament
December 9, 1926 16th Parliament
George Black (Conservative)
George Black [7]
September 8, 1930 1st Session, 17th Parliament to
5th Session, 17th Parliament (1930-35)
James Langstaff Bowman (Conservative)
James Langstaff Bowman
January 17, 1935 6th Session, 17th Parliament
Pierre-François Casgrain (Liberal)
Pierre-François Casgrain [8]
February 6, 1936 18th Parliament
James Glen (Liberal)
James Glen
May 16, 1940 19th Parliament
Gaspard Fauteux (Liberal)
Gaspard Fauteux
September 6, 1945 20th Parliament
William Ross Macdonald (Liberal)
William Ross Macdonald [9]
September 15, 1949 21st Parliament
Louis-René Beaudoin (Liberal)
Louis-René Beaudoin [10]
November 12, 1953 22nd Parliament
Roland Michener (Progressive Conservative)
Roland Michener
(Progressive Conservative)
October 14, 1957 23rd Parliament
May 12, 1958 24th Parliament
Marcel Lambert (Progressive Conservative)
Marcel Lambert
(Progressive Conservative)
September 27, 1962 25th Parliament
Alan Macnaughton (Liberal)
Alan Macnaughton
May 16, 1963 26th Parliament
Lucien Lamoureux (Liberal)
Lucien Lamoureux [11]
January 18, 1966 27th Parliament
September 12, 1968 28th Parliament
January 4, 1973 29th Parliament
James Jerome (Liberal)
James Jerome [12]
September 30, 1974 30th Parliament
October 9, 1979 31st Parliament
Jeanne Sauvé (Liberal)
Jeanne Sauvé [13]
April 14, 1980 1st Session, 32nd Parliament to
2nd Session, 32nd Parliament (1980-84)
Lloyd Francis (Liberal)
Lloyd Francis
January 16, 1984 2nd Session, 32nd Parliament
John Bosley (Progressive Conservative)
John Bosley [14]
(Progressive Conservative)
November 5, 1984 1st Session, 33rd Parliament to
2nd Session, 33rd Parliament (1984-86)
John Fraser (Progressive Conservative)
John Fraser [15]
(Progressive Conservative)
September 30, 1986 2nd Session, 33rd Parliament
December 12, 1988 34th Parliament
Gilbert Parent (Liberal)
Gilbert Parent [16]
January 17, 1994 35th Parliament
September 22, 1997 36th Parliament
Peter Milliken [17]
January 29, 2001 37th Parliament
October 4, 2004 38th Parliament
On April 28, 1877, the last sitting day of the Fourth Session of the Third Parliament, the Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections tabled a report in the House of Commons stating its view that Speaker Anglin had, because of certain commercial dealings with the Government, violated the Independence of Parliament Act and thus his election was void.  Although the report was never adopted, during the recess, Mr. Anglin resigned his seat, and thus the Speakership, and was re-elected in a by-election.  On the opening of the final session of the Third Parliament, Prime Minister Mackenzie renominated Mr. Anglin who was elected as Speaker although the opposition challenged his eligibility and forced a recorded vote on the question. (Debates, February 7, 1878, pp. 1-12.)
Speaker Edgar died in office on July 31, 1899.
Speaker Brodeur resigned as a Member, and thus the Speakership, on January 19, 1904 to become Minister of Inland Revenue.  Until 1931, Members of the House who accepted Cabinet positions were required, pursuant to the Senate and House of Commons Act, to resign their seats and seek re-election.
Speaker Sproule was summoned to the Senate on December 3, 1915 during the recess.
Speaker Sévigny resigned as a Member, and thus the Speakership, on January 8, 1917, during the recess, to become Minister of Inland Revenue.
Speaker Lemieux, elected as a Liberal, continued to serve as Speaker during the Conservative government of Prime Minister Arthur Meighen which had replaced the government of Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King on June 29, 1926, during the Fifteenth Parliament.
On January 17, 1935, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett announced to the House that Speaker Black had resigned due to illness.
Speaker Casgrain was the second Speaker not to have his nomination supported by the entire House.  The motion was agreed to, on division.  (Journals, February 6, 1936, p. 8)
Speaker Macdonald was appointed to the Senate on June 12, 1953.
The motion to nominate Speaker Beaudoin to the Chair was seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, George A. Drew.  This marked the first time that anyone other than a Cabinet Minister had seconded the nomination of the Speaker.
Speaker Lamoureux resigned his party affiliation and sought and won election to the House of Commons as an independent candidate in the general elections held on June 25, 1968 and October 30, 1972.
The election of Speaker Jerome to a second term following the general election of May 22, 1979 marked the first time a Member of an opposition party had been nominated by the governing party to preside over the House of Commons.
Speaker Sauvé, the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Commons, resigned as Speaker on January 15, 1984 during the Second Session of the Thirty-second Parliament, after having been designated to become Governor General.  On May 14, 1984, Mme Sauvé was sworn in as Canada’s first female Governor General.
Speaker Bosley resigned the Speakership on September 30, 1986.  Two letters dated September 5 and September 25, 1986, and addressed to the Clerk of the House of Commons, were tabled in the House.  (Journals, September 30, 1986, p. 2.)
With his election to the Speakership on September 30, 1986, Mr. Fraser became the first Speaker to be elected by secret ballot, following amendments to the Standing Orders adopted on June 27, 1985.  Speaker Fraser was elected on the eleventh ballot from among an original list of 39 candidates.  At the beginning of the 34th Parliament, on December 12, 1988, Mr. Fraser was re-elected as Speaker on the first ballot from among a list of 12 candidates.
On January 17, 1994, Speaker Parent was elected on the sixth ballot from among an original list of 12 candidates.  At the beginning of the 36th Parliament, on September 22, 1997, Mr. Parent was re-elected as Speaker on the fourth ballot from among an original list of 29 candidates.
On January 29, 2001, Speaker Milliken was elected on the fifth ballot from among an original list of 31 candidates. On October 4, 2004, after six of the seven candidates withdrew their names from the list of candidates before the first ballot, the House, by unanimous consent, agreed to dispense with the secret ballot and declare Mr. Milliken elected Speaker.

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