House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
2000 EditionMore information …
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21. Private Members’ Business

Standing Order 86(3).
In order to facilitate the proceedings, Members usually advise the Speaker or the Table Officers in advance that they wish to introduce a bill or bills on a particular day.
Standing Order 68(2).
While a succinct explanation has traditionally been interpreted to mean 30-60 seconds, it has become more common for Members to speak for longer than 60 seconds since the beginning of the Thirty-Fifth Parliament (1994-97).
Standing Order 69(1).
Standing Order 88.
Since the beginning of 1990, only two Senate public bills sponsored by private Members have received Royal Assent (Journals, December 17, 1990, p. 2475; June 22, 1995, p. 1871).
Private Members’ motions can also propose constitutional amendments. See, for example, Motion M-8 which proposed an amendment to the Constitution Act to include property rights (Journals, May 2, 1988, pp. 2602-3).
For examples of motions as resolutions, see Journals, June 15, 1994, pp. 592-3 (M-89 on non-confidence motions); October 25, 1995, p. 2049 (M-273 on Grandparents’ Day); November 5, 1996, p. 831 (M-30 on a Care-Giver Tax Credit); December 4, 1996, p. 964 (M-241 on hazardous materials); May 25, 1998, pp. 887-9 (M-261 on a National Head-Start Program). See also Speaker Parent’s rulings on Motion M-266 requesting a conference with the Senate, Debates, June 18, 1996, pp. 3981-2; and on Motion M-1 containing allegations of contempt against another Member, Debates, June 18, 1996, pp. 4028-31; June 20, 1996, pp. 4183-4.
Although the government may not be bound by only an expression of opinion, the adoption of such motions carries the weight of a decision of the House. In the latter half of the 1980s, three statues were erected on Parliament Hill as a result of the adoption of private Members’ motions which were framed as resolutions (see Journals, February 28, 1985, p. 340 (Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker); February 10, 1987, p. 469 (Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson); March 22, 1988, p. 2320 (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)).
For examples of motions framed as orders, see Journals, April 9, 1997, p. 1366 (M-267 amending the Standing Orders of the House); and Notice Paper, September 24, 1997, pp. XII, XXVI (motions M-24 and M-123 for a committee to prepare and bring in a bill).
See, for example, Motion M-555 which proposed the restoration of funding for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and which was adopted on April 23, 1990 (Journals, p. 1572).
Standing Order 86(2).
Standing Order 86(5). In 1961, discussion arose in the House on whether a private Member’s motion which was similar to two private Members’ bills could be debated. Although the Speaker expressed strong reservations that it not become a precedent, debate was allowed to proceed (Journals, January 23, 1961, pp. 176-7). In another instance, the Speaker ruled that the House can debate a motion which is similar in substance to a bill already decided upon in the same session since it is unlikely that a bill and motion could substantially raise the same question when the motion is merely affirming the desirability of legislation while the bill is likely to contain qualifying provisions and conditions (Debates, May 29, 1984, pp. 4175-6). In 1985, prior to the consideration of a motion similar to a bill which had been adopted at second reading and referred to a standing committee, the Chair cautioned Members to refrain from speaking about the provisions of the bill or the committee’s deliberations during debate on the motion (Debates, April 18, 1985, p. 3884). In 1992, a Member rose on a point of order to argue the redundancy of debate on a private Member’s motion which was similar to the subject matter of a government bill that had been referred to a special committee for pre-study. The Chair ruled that the two items were not identical and that since the motion was a non-votable item, debate could proceed. In closing, the Chair remarked that “a Member’s legitimate right to present a motion could be weakened by or violated by an overly strict interpretation of the rule which forbids discussing a bill that is already being considered in committee” (Debates, April 1, 1992, pp. 9204-6, 9208-9).
Standing Order 86(3).
The list of 20 seconders should not be confused with the 100 signatures of Members who support an item in order that it be placed on the order of precedence (Standing Order 87(6)).
Standing Order 86(4).
For a detailed description of the rules and process concerning Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.
Journals, February 15, 1960, pp. 137-40.
In 1986, two motions for the production of papers were debated and concurred in (see Journals, June 6, 1986, p. 2281; June 16, 1986, p. 2326; Debates, June 16, 1986, pp. 14479-80). Since then, two motions for the production of papers have been debated and concurred in (see Journals, October 2, 1998, p. 1115; November 2, 1998, p. 1221) and one was debated and negatived (see Journals, April 20, 1999, p. 1739).
See Debates, March 31, 1966, pp. 3676-7.
Standing Order 30(6). See also Debates, April 24, 1998, p. 6087; September 28, 1998, pp. 8474-5; February 15, 1999, p. 11893; April 13, 1999, p. 13721.
Standing Order 97(1). See, for example, Debates, February 4, 1981, pp. 6888-9; December 14, 1994, p. 9072; December 15, 1994, p. 9103; May 6, 1998, p. 6608; September 30, 1998, p. 8586; November 25, 1998, pp. 10436.
Standing Order 87(5). The House may choose, by unanimous consent, to allow debate and possibly even a vote on an item which has not been chosen to be on the order of precedence (see, for example, Debates,June 18, 1987, pp. 7345-7).
See the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, concurred in by the House on November 4, 1998(Journals, p. 1238).
Standing Order 87(1) and (2).
Standing Order 87(1)(a). In December 1989, the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, Procedure and Private Members’ Business recommended that the order of precedence be determined by drawing lots at random from among the names of those Members with eligible bills or motions instead of drawing from among the eligible bills and motions themselves. In addition, the Committee recommended that the names of Members with eligible bills be drawn separately from the names of Members with eligible motions (including notices of motions (papers)) and that their names be included in the draw no more than once for each type of item of business, regardless of the number of bills or motions which a Member was sponsoring. Thus, there would be no advantage for Members who had introduced large numbers of bills or motions (Journals, December 6, 1989, pp. 927-34). See also the Twenty-First Report of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections (Journals, December 6, 1990, pp. 2385-8) and the motion making extensive changes to the Standing Orders which was adopted by the House on April 11, 1991 (Journals, pp. 2919-20).
Standing Order 87(1)(b). Ideally, the first order of precedence would contain 15 bills and 15 motions. However, if, for example, only four Members had bills eligible for the draw, the names of these Members would be deemed drawn and the bills automatically placed on the Order Paper. The other 26 positions on the order of precedence would be filled with motions.
However, it may happen that a Member has more than one item on the order of precedence at a given time. Bill C-270, standing in the name of Peter Milliken (Kingston and the Islands), was on the order of precedence when Bill S-8, a private bill also standing in his name, was added to the order of precedence pursuant to Standing Order 89 (see Order Paper, June 19, 1996, pp. 17, 22). On another occasion, Bill C-235, standing in the name of Dan McTeague (Pickering–Ajax–Uxbridge), was reported back from committee and placed back on the order of precedence on the same day that Bill C-440, also standing in his name on the order of precedence, was referred to committee (see Journals, April 16, 1999, pp. 1728-30).
Standing Order 87(1)(c).
Standing Order 87(1)(d).
Standing Order 92(1).
Standing Order 87(3).
Standing Order 87(2).
Standing Order 87(2). See also the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, concurred in by the House on November 4, 1998 (Journals, p. 1238).
See, for example, Journals, September 15, 1988, p. 3538; Debates, March 12, 1997, p. 8957; June 2, 1998, p. 7470; February 2, 1999, p. 11305; March 11, 1999, p. 12715.
See, for example, Journals, September 1, 1988, p. 3509; September 18, 1995, p. 1891. On one occasion, with the unanimous consent of the House, a Member withdrew a motion standing in her name on the order of precedence and replaced it with another motion listed in her name on that day’s Notice Paper (Journals, May 5, 1994, p. 430). On another occasion, by unanimous consent, a Member’s motion was withdrawn from the order of precedence and substituted with a motion standing in another Member’s name (Journals, October 2, 1995, p. 1972).
Standing Order 87(4).
Standing Order 89.
Standing Orders 97.1 and 98(1).
Standing Order 86.1. For an example of a bill reinstated as having been reported back with an amendment, see Journals, March 22, 1996, p. 146.
Standing Order 87(6). The first such bill added to the order of precedence was Bill C-306, An Act to amend the Bank Act (bank charges), on February 1, 1999 (see Order Paper, February 2, 1999, pp. 26-7).
Standing Order 92(1). In practice, a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs is created for the purpose of selecting votable items. Reports of the sub-committee must be concurred in by the full Committee before presentation to the House. The sub-committee meets after every draw to consider votable items.
See, for example, Bill C-306, An Act to amend the Bank Act (bank charges), Journals, February 8, 1999, p. 1478.
Standing Order 92(3).
Standing Order 97(2).
See the Seventieth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House on April 20, 1999 (Journals, p. 1737). One Member introduced the same bill three times before it was selected as votable (see Journals, June 4, 1996, pp. 486-7 (Bill C-274); December 3, 1996, p. 955 (Bill C-321); April 22, 1998, p. 692 (Bill C-251)).
See Journals, May 23, 1986, pp. 2200-1; October 21, 1987, pp. 1717-8. There have been objections raised regarding the Committee’s selection of votable items (see Debates, November 19, 1986, pp. 1325-34, and Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, December 4, 1986, pp. 1759-60; see also Debates, April 18, 1997, pp. 9919-20; November 4, 1998, pp. 9836-7).
Journals, April 20, 1999, p. 1737.
Standing Order 92(2). The first selection of votable items was contained in the First Report of the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Business, presented to the House on April 23, 1986 (Journals, pp. 2064-5). For other examples, see Journals, June 19, 1986, pp. 2366-7; October 22, 1997, pp. 133-4; November 4, 1998, p. 1236; November 17, 1998, pp. 1263-4. In 1994, John Nunziata (York South–Weston) raised a question of privilege in regard to a report on votable items by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The Member argued that the process followed by the Committee for selecting private Members’ bills infringed on his “right as a Member of Parliament to advance Private Members’ Business.” He further stated that it was the Speaker’s responsibility to ensure that the process for selecting bills to be voted upon by the House was fair to all Members. The Speaker ruled that there was no question of privilege and advised the Member that the Committee’s report in no way prevented him from submitting his bill again for the draw (Debates, March 10, 1994, pp. 2129-31).

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