House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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24. The Parliamentary Record

See Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Internal Economy on June 21, 1995, tabled on October 16, 1995 (Journals, p. 2012). The Parliamentary Internet Parlementaire (, which provides information on the Parliament of Canada, was created and is maintained jointly by the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament.
See Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Internal Economy on April 12, 1994, tabled on May 12, 1994 (Journals, p. 461), and September 19, 1995, tabled on December 1, 1995 (Journals, p. 2199).
See May, 22nd ed., pp. 84-5; and Maingot, 2nd ed., pp. 40-4. For further information, see Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.
Section 18(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 (R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 44) states: “The statutes, records and journals of Parliament shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative”. This repeats a portion of Section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5). See also sections 4(3) and 5 of the Official Languages Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.)).
Most such references are to the Order Paper or Notice Paper (see Standing Orders 39, 40, 54(1), 55(1), 90, 124, 152); there are also references to the Journals (see Standing Orders 9, 29(4), 32(3), 45(1)) and to the Debates (see Standing Orders 39(3)(b), 44.1(2)).
Standing Order 151.
Unlike some assemblies, such as the United States House of Representatives, there is no requirement to adopt or approve the minutes at the beginning of the following sitting.
Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 186-7.
The current system was put into place following decisions taken by the Board of Internal Economy and the adoption of the Twenty-Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (Journals, June 3, 1994, p. 529). For text of the report, see Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, June 1, 1994, Issue No. 14, pp. 4-5.
An order is a decision of the House governing the conduct of House or Committee business. A sessional order is effective for the remainder of the session in which it is adopted.
Journals, November 7, 1867, p. 5.
Sessional orders for the publication of the Votes and Proceedings were also adopted on the following dates: Journals,April 15, 1869, p. 8; February 15, 1870, p. 8; February 15, 1871, p. 10; April 11, 1872, p. 8; March 6, 1873, p. 5; March 27, 1874, p. 4; February 4, 1875, p. 54; February 8, 1877, p. 12.
The bound Journals, produced at the end of a session for use of the Clerk and the Library of Parliament, contain a comprehensive index, lists and other information of general interest:
  • proclamations of the Governor General opening and closing the session;
  • the Ministry in order of precedence, as of the final day of the session;
  • alphabetical list of Members, including constituency names and party affiliations;
  • alphabetical list of constituencies, including Members’ names and party affiliations.
Standing Order 9. For further information on the casting vote of the Chair, see Chapter 7, “The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House”.
Standing Order 32(3). It also happens on occasion that papers are tabled by the unanimous consent of the House (see, for example, Journals, October 21, 1991, p. 496). For further information on tabling of documents, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.
Standing Order 29(4). For further information on quorum, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.
Standing Order 44.1(2). For further information on recorded votes and pairing, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.
Standing Order 79(2). For further information on the Royal Recommendation, see Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.
Standing Order 131(5). For further information on private bills, see Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”.
Standing Orders 135(1) and (2), and 141(2)(b).
On one occasion when this occurred, the Speaker found that the record was correct (Debates, June 26, 1985, pp. 6203-4). There have been occasions where the decision was taken to remove items from the Votes and Proceedings (as the daily Journals were formerly known): on April 6, 1925, for example, the Speaker ruled that the government’s answer to a written question contained unnecessary facts and that it should be “expunged from the records” (Journals, p. 193); on June 6, 1944, the House ordered that a committee report “presented by mistake” be deleted from the Votes and Proceedings (Journals, p. 434); on June 7, 1973, the Speaker informed the House that an item in the Votes and Proceedings of the previous day would be expunged, a Senate public bill having inadvertently been treated as a private bill (Journals, p. 389).
See, for example, Journals, March 31, 1871, pp. 173-4; Debates, November 6, 1996, p. 6191.
See, for example, the corrigendum appended to the Votes and Proceedings for June 10, 1994.
Debates, June 4, 1992, pp. 11381-2.
Hansard is the name of the family responsible for arranging the official reporting of debates in the British House of Commons throughout most of the nineteenth century. The term is now used to refer generally to official reports of parliamentary debates (see Wilding and Laundy, pp. 340-5).
An exception took place in 1865 when, by special order of the United Canada Legislative Assembly, the debates on Confederation were officially recorded. See the history of Canadian parliamentary reporting in the Introduction to the reconstructed Debates of the Legislative Assembly of United Canada, 1841-1867, Vol. I, pp. XXVIII-LIV.
Bourinot, 2nd ed., pp. 227-8. Members argued that the newspaper accounts were adequate, that costs to the House of setting up its own service would be prohibitive, and that official verbatim reporting would encourage excessive verbosity and lead to unnecessary lengthening of parliamentary sessions. See, for example, Debates, December 10, 1867, pp. 231-2; March 27, 1868, pp. 409-10; April 25, 1870, pp. 1176-80.
See the First and Second Reports of the Committee appointed to report on the subject of a Canadian Hansard (Journals, May 8, 1874, pp. 200-1), concurred in on May 18, 1874 (Journals, pp. 264-5).
See, for example, Debates, April 28, 1880, pp. 1815-9.
The report was presented on April 26, 1880, and concurred in on April 28, 1880 (Journals, pp. 268-9, 281).
The report was presented on March 30, 1882 (Journals, p. 231), and concurred in on April 3, 1882 (Journals, p. 242).
In 1965, after a period of experimentation, the House concurred in a recommendation to proceed to uniform pagination between the English and French versions of the Debates and other publications (Journals, June 1, 1964, pp. 381-2; April 2, 1965, pp. 1211-2).
The official language used by a Member is indicated by the marginal notes “English” and “Translation” in the English Hansard and “Français” and “Traduction” in the French. Languages other than the two official languages are occasionally used in the House; see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.
Standing Order 44.1(2).
Standing Order 39(3)(b).
The House has on more than one occasion consented to dispense with the reading of a motion and to have the text printed in the Debates as if read; a recurring example is the typically lengthy motion to refer the main estimates to the various standing committees of the House (see Debates, April 30, 1980, pp. 575-6; February 26, 1998, pp. 4457-8).
Rarely, the House has consented to have material not read in the House incorporated in the Debates as part of a Member’s speech (see, for example, Debates, March 23, 1971, pp. 4533-5; December 8, 1997, pp. 2851-2).
The House has agreed to append such documents as Budget documents (see, for example, Debates, March 16, 1964, pp. 974, 988-1003), exchanges of correspondence (see, for example, Debates, December 4, 1980, pp. 5356, 5394), reports (see, for example, Journals, November 15, 1977, p. 102; Debates, November 15, 1977, pp. 920-2) and texts of addresses to Parliament by foreign dignitaries (see, for example, Journals, June 9, 1992, pp. 1660-1; Debates, June 19, 1992, pp. 12480-8). In a very unusual occurrence, the House agreed to append to the Debates the texts of a ministerial statement and two opposition responses, none of which was delivered in the House (Journals, January 25, 1990, p. 1114).
See, for example, Debates, May 11, 1970, p. 6796 (disturbance in the galleries); June 4, 1993, p. 20356 (remarks in a language other than English or French); September 29, 1994, p. 6348 (sounding of the fire alarm).
Until September 1996, the appendix was attached to Wednesday’s Debates. It also appears in an electronic version, updated as changes occur.
The blues are sent by facsimile and electronic mail and may occasionally be delivered by hand to a Member in the Chamber.
See, for example, Debates, February 18, 1997, p. 8279.
See Debates, September 24, 1985, p. 6893. At times, the blues have been referred to by Members raising points of order or questions of privilege (see, for example, Debates, March 15, 1996, pp. 786-7).
See Journals, November 1, 1973, p. 613.
See Debates, March 20, 1978, p. 3925; September 20, 1983, pp. 27299-300.
See, for example, Debates, November 19, 1969, p. 982; September 26, 1990, p. 13455; November 6, 1996, p. 6191.
See, for example, Debates, July 9, 1980, p. 2705; May 28, 1982, p. 17872.
See, for example, Debates, October 27, 1994, p. 7318; February 25, 1998, p. 4406. There have been occasions where it was decided to expunge text from the Debates (see, for example, Journals, April 6, 1925, p. 193; Debates, July 27, 1942, p. 4798; December 1, 1960, p. 391; June 30, 1972, p. 3724); however, such instances have not formed part of recent House practice.
See, for example, Debates, November 15, 1983, p. 28894. In 1995, the Speaker ordered a corrigendum to be printed, having found a substantial difference between a Member’s remarks in the House and in the Debates, and having ruled that the Member’s changes to the blues ought not to have been accepted by the Hansard editors (Debates, March 16, 1995, pp. 10618-9).
See, for example, Debates, November 28, 1978, pp. 1569-70; February 2, 1984, p. 1015; June 6, 1986, pp. 14055-6.
Debates, November 28, 1978, p. 1570.

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