House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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See, for example, Journals, October 3, 1986, p. 48; March 1, 1996, pp. 23-4; March 4, 1996, pp. 39-41.
In contrast, the membership of a Committee of the Whole is not selected, but consists of all Members of the House.
Standing Order 104(2)(a)-(q) and (3)(a)-(c).
Standing Orders 68 and 73. Pursuant to Standing Order 73(4), Supply bills are considered in a Committee of the Whole. In addition to having legislation referred to them for study, committees may also be asked to prepare bills for presentation to the House. In the First Session of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament (1994-96), the Procedure and House Affairs Committee was instructed to prepare and bring in a bill “ … respecting the system of readjusting the boundaries of electoral districts for the House of Commons by the Electoral Boundaries Commissions …” (Journals, April 19, 1994, pp. 369-70). In the First Session of the Thirty-Sixth Parliament (1997-99), the Justice and Human Rights Committee was instructed to prepare and bring in a bill “ … to amend those sections of the Criminal Code which deal with impaired driving” (Journals, October 30, 1997, p. 175).
Standing Order 81(4)-(5).
Standing Orders 32(6) and 110.
Standing Order 32(5). Before 1982, committees could not study a report, return or other paper tabled in the House without a specific order of reference. In 1982, the referral of such papers became automatic and the referral was made permanent so as not to limit committee study to a specific time frame. Currently, few studies are initiated under this provision; the broader mandate provided in Standing Order 108(2) or 108(3) is used. See, for example, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes, November 20, 1997, Meeting No. 6.
Standing Order 108(1)(a).
Standing Order 108(2).
Standing Order 108(2)(a)-(e).
Standing Order 108(3)(b)-(e) and 108(4)(b) and (c). The specific mandates of the Standing Joint Committees on the Library of Parliament, Official Languages and the Scrutiny of Regulations are dealt with below under “Standing Joint Committees”.
Standing Order 108(3)(a).
Standing Order 108(3)(b).
Standing Order 83.1. This provision, added to the Standing Orders in 1994 (see Journals, February 7, 1994, pp. 112-8, in particular p. 117 and pp. 119-20), extends the Finance Committee’s permanent mandate beyond overseeing the Finance Department and Revenue Canada to include, in the words used by the Government House Leader in proposing the new standing order, “ … an annual public consultation on what should be in the next budget” (Debates, February 7, 1994, p. 962).
Standing Order 108(3)(c).
Standing Order 108(3)(d).
Standing Order 108(3)(a).
Responsibility for Private Members’ Business is delegated to a Sub-committee established for that purpose. See, for example, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, September 29, 1997, Meeting No. 1. For the Private Members’ Business process, including the workings of the Sub-committee, see Chapter 21, “Private Members’ Business”.
Standing Orders 104 and 107(5). The task of selecting committee members is usually delegated to the whips of the recognized parties. See section below, “Membership”.
Standing Order 115(4).
Standing Order 108(3)(e).
See, for example, Journals, November 7, 1867, p. 5; April 6, 1868, p. 184; January 12, 1905, p. 9.
See, for example, Journals, November 28, 1910, p. 27.
Journals, June 11, 1965, p. 228.
Journals, December 20, 1968, pp. 562-79, in particular p. 575.
Journals, March 26, 1991, pp. 2801-27, in particular pp. 2819-20; April 11, 1991, p. 2904; May 23, 1991, pp. 61-62.
Standing Order 119.1(2). The guidelines were approved by the House on March 27, 1992. See Journals, February 14, 1992, p. 1024; March 27, 1992, p. 1230.
Standing Order 120.
Standing Order 121(1).
Standing Order 118(2).
See, for example, Journals, April 24, 1985, p. 506; May 10, 1985, p. 602.
See, for example, Journals, December 11, 1997, p. 394. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(1)(a), any additional powers granted to a standing committee may be delegated by it to a sub-committee.
Standing Order 107(1).
Standing Order 107(4). For standing, special and legislative committees, Standing Order 118(1) sets quorum at a simple majority of the committee members. Under this rule, the quorum of the Liaison Committee would be 11, rather than seven as set out in Standing Order 107(4).
Standing Order 107(3). See Journals, April 2, 1993, p. 2784. A report on committee effectiveness prepared by the Liaison Committee in the concluding weeks of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament (1994-97) was not tabled in the House, but was circulated directly to interested parties. See Parliamentary Government, No. 4, September 1997.
Standing Order 107(5).
Standing Order 107(6).
See Journals, December 8, 1997, p. 358; December 10, 1997, p. 382.
See Journals, June 27, 1985, pp. 910-9, in particular pp. 915-6. See also Sixth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 28, 1983, Issue No. 19, pp. 3-11, and First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, December 19, 1984, Issue No. 2, pp. 3-23, in particular pp. 7-10.
Legislative committees were active from 1985 to 1993; however, from 1994 to 1999, no bills were sent to legislative committees.
A change to the Standing Orders on April 11, 1991 (see Journals, pp. 2904-32, in particular pp. 2922-7) provided for a system of eight permanent legislative committees, divided equally among four of the five envelopes into which standing committees were grouped. Bills were referred to one of the two committees in the appropriate envelope and a separate Chair was named to take charge of each Bill. The House modified the Standing Orders to remove the envelope system and reinstate ad hoc legislative committees on January 25, 1994 (see Journals, pp. 58-61, in particular pp. 60-1).
Standing Order 113(1).
Standing Order 113(2). The Panel of Chairmen is a group composed of the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman, and the Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole and other Members appointed by the Speaker.
Standing Order 113(3).
Usually, only one bill is referred to a given legislative committee. On four occasions, either two related bills were referred to a single legislative committee at once, or a second related bill was referred to a legislative committee already in existence. See Journals, September 23, 1985, p. 1015; May 26, 1986, p. 2208; November 25, 1987, p. 1882; May 17, 1990, pp. 1715-6.
See Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling regarding the reporting of bills, Journals, December 20, 1973, pp. 774-5. A legislative committee has reported to the House seeking permission to travel; however, the House did not take up this report (see Journals, February 3, 1988, p. 2130).
Standing Order 68(4)-(5).
Legislative committees are restricted to calling only technical witnesses since an amendment to the Standing Orders was adopted in 1991 (see Journals, April 11, 1991, pp. 2904-32, in particular p. 2927). At that time, the Government House Leader stated, “ … when legislation passes at second reading in this House, it has received approval in principle— the principle is approved. The role of the [Legislative] Committee is not to debate again whether the legislation is appropriate in principle, by touring the country and hearing from groups about the principle, but rather to look at all the details” (Debates, April 8, 1991, pp. 19137-8). In contrast, standing committees are not restricted by the Standing Orders in the type of witness they may call (see Standing Order 108(1)(a)).
Standing Order 115(2) gives priority during sittings of the House to committees meeting to study legislation or the Estimates.
During periods when the House is not sitting, Standing Order 115(3) gives priority to meetings of standing and special committees over those of legislative committees.

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