House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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Standing Orders and Procedure

The Standing Orders provide for a one-day special debate on the Standing Orders and procedures of the House and its committees early in each Parliament. [42]  This provision was adopted by the House in 1982 on the recommendation of a special committee on procedure which believed an opportunity should be provided for Members to express their views on this matter. [43] 

Initiating Debate

The Standing Order in question provides for an automatic debate on the motion “That this House takes note of the Standing Orders and procedures of the House and its committees” on a day designated by a Minister between the sixtieth and ninetieth sitting day of the first session of a Parliament. If no day is designated, the debate is held on the ninetieth sitting day. [44] 

This Standing Order was adopted in 1982. Such a debate on the rules and procedures of the House could have first occurred in 1984; however, well before the sixtieth day, the House unanimously agreed to suspend the Standing Order. [45]  The next opportunity for the House to hold the debate came in 1988, but the First Session of the Thirty-Fourth Parliament ended after only 11 sitting days, thereby pre-empting the operation of the Standing Order. In 1994, during the First Session of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament, the House agreed to suspend this Standing Order at the same time as it adopted several amendments to the Standing Orders and referred a number of procedural matters to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. [46]  In 1998, during the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament, a debate was held pursuant to this Standing Order for the first time. [47] 

Rules of Debate

Debate on the motion takes precedence over all other business and lasts a maximum of one sitting day; the proceedings on the motion expire when the debate has concluded or at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment, whichever comes first. [48]  The motion is deemed to have been proposed [49]  and, to encourage participation, no Member may speak more than once or longer than 10 minutes. [50] 

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