House of Commons Procedure and Practice
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See, for example, Journals, September 23, 1997, p. 6. It is noted in Bourinot (4th ed., p. 95) that other Ministers in the absence of the Prime Minister may move this motion. While infrequent, this has occurred. Examples of this can be found on April 18, 1895, when George Eulas Foster, Minister of Finance and Receiver General in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell, moved the motion (see Journals, April 18, 1895, p. 5) and on January 8, 1926, when Ernest Lapointe, Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the Cabinet of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, moved the motion (see Journals, January 8, 1926, p. 12). Since the 1950s, the Prime Minister has moved the motion. Between 1896 and 1956, the motion appointed a specific day on which consideration of the Speech from the Throne would begin. In 1940, for the Sixth Session of the Eighteenth Parliament, no Address debate was held. The Session lasted only one day, January 25, 1940, with the government using the Speech from the Throne to advise Parliament of its intention to dissolve Parliament in order to hold a general election. Dissolution occurred the same day (see Journals, January 25, 1940, pp. 1, 8, 23-5).
On at least three occasions debate has occurred. On January 8, 1926, an amendment was moved to the motion to take into consideration the Speech of the Governor General. This amendment was debated over the course of two sittings and negatived on a recorded division (see Journals, January 8, 1926, pp. 12-3; January 14, 1926, pp. 28-9). On February 17, 1972, an amendment to the motion to consider the Speech of the Governor General to provide for a 40-minute oral Question Period was proposed. The Speaker ruled the amendment out of order because it was a substantive motion which could not be attached to the motion before the House. The Speaker noted, however, that the motion could be amended if a procedurally acceptable amendment were proposed (see Journals, February 17, 1972, pp. 5-6). The third instance of debate on the motion for consideration can be found in Journals, December 12, 1988, p. 6.
Journals, January 30, 1893, p. 33.
Journals, March 13, 1903, p. 25.
Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 97.
The Leader of the Opposition has regularly adjourned the debate since 1935 (see, for example, Debates, February 27, 1996, p. 26; September 23, 1997, p. 17).
See, for example, Debates, September 23, 1997, p. 18. From 1904 until 1979 with only a few exceptions, the Prime Minister would move the motion that the House do now adjourn. Since 1980 with one exception, a Minister has moved the adjournment of the House. In 1983, the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council moved the adjournment of the House (see Journals, December 8, 1983, p. 21). On April 4, 1989, the House did not adjourn in the traditional way. The Speaker accepted an application for an emergency debate to consider the oil spill which had occured outside the Port of Valdez, Alaska. That day the motion to adjourn the debate on the Address in Reply was moved by the Leader of the Opposition, the sitting was suspended until 8:00 p.m., and the emergency debate was held pursuant to the Standing Orders. At 2:05 a.m., the Speaker declared the motion carried and the House adjourned (see Journals, April 4, 1989, pp. 22-3). Again in 1996, the House did not adjourn in the traditional way: following the motion by the Leader of the Opposition to adjourn the debate, Government Orders were called. An opposition Member (Gilles Duceppe (Laurier–Sainte-Marie)) subsequently rose on a point of order to object to the receivability of a government motion to reinstate a number of items from the previous session. Debate on the point of order continued until the usual hour of daily adjournment, at which time the Deputy Speaker adjourned the sitting until the following day (see Debates, February 27, 1996, pp. 26-30).
Standing Order 50(1).
Standing Order 50(3). See also Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 881-945. Note pp. 908-9. Beginning in the 1890s and until 1950, the House routinely agreed that the debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne should have varying degrees of precedence over other business (see, for example, Journals, February 7, 1898, p. 23; December 8, 1947, p. 40). Such motions were not moved in 1903, 1905, either session in 1906, 1910, the first session in 1914, 1930, either session in 1932, 1934, 1935, and the second session in 1939 and 1945.
Standing Order 50(4).
In 1997, the House adopted a motion whereby the House would not adjourn until the leaders of all recognized parties had spoken in the debate on the Address (see Journals, September 23, 1997, p. 9).
Debates, October 10, 1979, pp. 47-51; October 11, 1979, p. 69.
See Debates, April 5, 1989, p. 131, where New Democratic Party Leader Edward Broadbent spoke after the Leader of the Opposition, John Turner; and Debates, April 6, 1989, p. 145, where Prime Minister Brian Mulroney spoke.
Debates, May 14, 1991, p. 24.
In 1926, the government imposed closure on the 28th day of debate in order to terminate these proceedings so that it could adjourn the House for a brief period to prepare the work of the session (see Journals, March 2, 1926, pp. 123-7). The lengthy debate was the result of the challenge by the Conservative Opposition led by Arthur Meighen of the King Government’s right to summon Parliament and remain in office following the results of the General Election of October 29, 1925. See the speech of Ernest Lapointe (Leader of the House) in Debates, March 2, 1926, pp. 1435-8.
Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 881, 908-9.
Journals, July 25, 1960, p. 825; August 8, 1960, p. 898.
Standing Order 50(1). See also Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2905, 2912.
See, for example, Address debates in 1956 (both sessions), 1960 (second session), 1965, 1968 and 1978.
This occurred on one other occasion, but before the introduction of time limits. In 1873, the Second Session of the Second Parliament was ended by prorogation before decisions were reached on the sub-amendment, amendment and main motion.
Standing Order 81(11). The first occasion when it could have occurred was in 1978 when the Address in Reply debate concluded after only six days of debate. At that time the Standing Order provided for eight days of resumed debate. However, on October 20, 1978, the House adopted a special order designating October 30, 1978, the sixth and final appointed day (see Journals, October 20, 1978, p. 42). In the discussion which took place in the House, it was noted and agreed that the two days taken away from the debate would not be added to the number of allotted days (see Debates, October 20, 1978, pp. 312-3).
Standing Order 50(2). The length of speeches on the motion for an Address in Reply has been subject to limitation since 1960 when the House adopted amendments to the Standing Orders, which provided for speeches of 30 minutes in length with 40 minutes being granted to the movers of amendments and sub-amendments (see Journals, July 25, 1960, p. 825-6; August 8, 1960, p. 898). In 1982, time limits were reduced to their present length (see Journals, November 29, 1982, p. 5400, and the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, Third Report, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 5, 1982, pp. 3, 16-7).
See, for example,Debates, November 7, 1984, p. 31; October 3, 1986, p. 52; and May 15, 1991, p. 114.
See, for example, Debates, April 12, 1989, pp. 404-5; May 22, 1991, p. 433; January 28, 1994, p. 594; October 3, 1997, pp. 484, 486. The provisions of Standing Order 43(2) have also been applied to the Address Debate (see, for example, Debates, January 20, 1994, p. 72).
This emulated British practice. See Debates, February 5, 1875, p. 12; February 11, 1878, p. 36; February 17, 1879, p. 24.
Journals, October 27, 1873, p. 126; October 28, 1873, p. 128.
Journals, January 30, 1893, pp. 34-5; April 13, 1899, p. 55; April 18, 1899, pp. 64-5.
Journals, July 12, 1955, pp. 881-945, in particular pp. 908-9.
See, for example, Journals, May 14, 1991, p. 20.
Standing Order 50(5).
Standing Order 50(6).
Standing Order 50(7).
Standing Order 50(8). Although not frequent, there have been instances of recorded divisions on the main motion (see, for example, Journals, March 2, 1926, pp. 126-7; January 23, 1957, pp. 69-70; October 11, 1962, pp. 60-1; February 1, 1994, pp. 89-91).
Two sub-amendments were moved, one by an independent Member, to the Address in Reply motion during the Third Session of the Thirty-Fourth Parliament (see Journals, May 14, 1991, p. 20; May 16, 1991, p. 36). Two sub-amendments were moved by the Members of the Reform Party during the Second Session of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament (see Journals, February 28, 1996, pp. 8-9; March 5, 1996, p. 47). During the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament, one sub-amendment was moved by a Member of the Bloc Québécois (Journals, September 24, 1997, p. 20) and the other by a Member of the New Democratic Party (Journals, September 29, 1997, p. 39).
See, for example, Journals, February 19, 1942, pp. 61-3; January 24, 1966, pp. 43-4; January 11, 1973, p. 28.
Journals, February 6, 1934, p. 51.
Journals, January 30, 1959, pp. 56-7. The amendment in question called upon the government to establish a committee to investigate certain items noted in the amendment.
Journals, March 5, 1948, pp. 223-5.
Journals, April 12, 1965, p. 34. Similarly, later during the session, if amendments comparable to those on which the House decided during the Address in Reply debate are moved to other motions, these amendments could be ruled out of order (Journals, May 3, 1955, pp. 545-6).
Journals, April 18, 1899, pp. 64-5; December 5, 1951, pp. 258-62; December 12, 1951, pp. 305-6. In both cases the sub-amendments supported the government. While this may appear to be contradictory to the purposes of such amendments, the effects were minimal. In the first instance which occurred in 1899, the Address in Reply consisted of nine paragraphs. The amendment added a tenth paragraph calling for the appointment of an independent judicial commission to investigate the administration of the Yukon Territory. The sub-amendment noted the speed at which the government had acted on complaints and praised the integrity of the Commissioner appointed. The second example occurred in 1951. To an amendment critical of the government’s failure to make a payment to grain producers, a Member of the government party moved a sub-amendment commending the government for its continuing attention to the problems of farmers. A point of order was raised that the proposed sub-amendment was out of order on the grounds that it was in effect not an amendment, but a further motion of approval and approbation of the government. In his ruling, Speaker Macdonald held that the sub-amendment was relevant to the amendment and that it did not constitute either a direct or an expanded negative of the main amendment. He allowed the proposed sub-amendment to stand.
See, for example, Journals, October 3, 1997, p. 76.
Standing Order 51.
Journals, November 5, 1982, p. 5328; November 29, 1982, p. 5400; Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure,Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 4, 1982, Issue No. 7, p. 23.
Standing Order 51(1). In the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament (1997-99), the day was designated by the Government House Leader (see Debates, March 26, 1998, p. 5422; April 2, 1998, p. 5724). The order was placed on the Order Paper under “Orders of the Day” before “Government Orders” (see Order Paper, April 21, 1998, p. 13).
Journals, December 7, 1984, p. 164. On December 5, 1984, a special committee had been established to examine, among other things, the procedures and practices of the House (Journals, December 5, 1984, pp. 153-4).
Journals, February 7, 1994, pp. 112-20.
Journals, April 21, 1998, pp. 681-2.
Standing Order 51(1) and (2). On April 21, 1998, debate concluded at the end of the time allotted for Government Orders. The House then proceeded to the taking of deferred divisions, Private Members Business and the Adjournment Proceedings. See Journals, April 21, 1998, pp. 682-90.
Standing Order 51(1). See, for example, Journals, April 21, 1998, p. 681. The Government House Leader was the first person recognized on debate (see Debates, April 21, 1998, pp. 5863-4).
Standing Order 51(3). On April 20, 1998, an order was adopted by unanimous consent allowing the first spokesperson for each recognized party to speak for a maximum of 20 minutes (Journals, April 20, 1998, p. 677).

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