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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

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As part of its activities, it may be necessary for a committee to meet outside the precincts of Parliament. A committee may travel only if such travel has been authorized by the House, and, in the case of standing committees, only if funds for the travel have been approved by the Liaison Committee; and, in the case of special and legislative committees, only if funds have been authorized by the Board of Internal Economy.

In almost all cases, authorization to travel has been granted by unanimous consent.[178] It can also be granted through concurrence in a committee report requesting such authorization,[179] or by using the mechanism by which a Minister moves a routine motion for which unanimous consent had previously been denied.[180]

There is also another option available to the House to grant a committee the power to “adjourn from place to place”; in other words, to undertake travel to assist with its various studies. First, a Minister must give written notice of a motion authorizing a committee to travel. After the 48‑hour notice period has expired, the Speaker puts the question on the motion forthwith, without debate or amendment, when the House proceeds to the consideration of the rubric “Motions” during Routine Proceedings. The Speaker will ask those who object to rise in their places. If 10 or more Members then rise, the motion shall be deemed withdrawn. Otherwise, the motion is deemed adopted.[181]

This Standing Order was adopted in October 2001, following a recommendation in the First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons. The Committee had found it unacceptable that the procedural motions authorizing committee travel could be “derailed by one disgruntled or recalcitrant Member”.[182] To date, the Standing Order has never been invoked.

[178] See, for example, Journals, October 4, 2006, p. 496.

[179] See, for example, the First Report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, presented to the House on December 15, 1999 (Journals, p. 818) and concurred in on February 8, 2000 (Journals, p. 853).

[180] See, for example, Debates, December 9, 1992, p. 14913 (unanimous consent denied); Journals, December 10, 1992, pp. 2387‑8 (routine motion moved by a Minister pursuant to Standing Order 56.1).

[181] Standing Order 56.2.

[182] First Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons, par. 31‑2, presented to the House on June 1, 2001 (Journals, p. 465) and concurred in on October 4, 2001 (Journals, pp. 691‑3) following the adoption of a Special Order (Journals, October 3, 2001, p. 685).

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