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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

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Appendix 11

Sergeants-at-Arms of the House of Commons Since 1867

Appointed by Letters Patent under the Great Seal, the Sergeant-at-Arms performs many ceremonial and administrative duties and, as a commissioner of oaths, is one of the officers who may administer the oath of allegiance to newly-elected Members. Bearing the Mace, the Sergeant-at-Arms precedes the Speaker as he or she enters and leaves the Chamber each day. The Sergeant-at-Arms occupies a desk at the Bar of the House when the House is sitting. In accordance with the Standing Orders, the Sergeant-at-Arms preserves order in the galleries, lobbies and corridors, and is responsible for taking into custody strangers who misbehave in the galleries. The position has most frequently been held by military officers.




Date of Order-in-Council Appointment


Lieutenant-Colonel Donald William Macdonell[1]

November 2, 1867


Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Robert Smith[2]

January 13, 1892


Lieutenant-Colonel Henry William Bowie[3]

March 5, 1918


Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Judson Coghill[4]

July 26, 1930


Major Milton Fowler Gregg[5]

February 13, 1934


Lieutenant-Colonel William John Franklin

August 24, 1945


Lieutenant-Colonel David Vivian Currie

January 7, 1960


Major-General Maurice Gaston Cloutier[6]

April 27, 1978


Kevin Vickers[7]

September 1, 2006



[1] Until his appointment as Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, Donald William Macdonell held the position of Sergeant‑at‑Arms of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from June 14, 1854 to Confederation. On November 6, 1867, upon the opening of the First Session of the First Parliament, Donald William Macdonell was listed as a Commissioner appointed to administer the oath to the Members of the House of Commons.

[2] Henry Robert Smith held the position of Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons from 1872 until his appointment as Sergeant-at-Arms. He continued to hold the office until his death on September 20, 1917.

[3] Henry William Bowie held the position of Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons from 1891 until his appointment as Sergeant-at-Arms.

[4] Henry Judson Coghill died on January 9, 1934, while in office.

[5] During World War II (1939-45), Milton Fowler Gregg was on active service in the Canadian Army. In his place, the Clerk of the House of Commons, Arthur Beauchesne, assumed the duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons.

[6] On March 24, 2005, the Clerk of the House of Commons, William C. Corbett, announced, after consultation with Major‑General Cloutier, that Deputy Clerk Audrey O’Brien would assume responsibility as Interim Head of Parliamentary Precinct Services during the Sergeant-at-Arms’ absence due to illness. Following his death, she continued to act in this capacity until a new Sergeant-at-Arms was appointed.

[7] Among the positions occupied by Kevin Vickers prior to his appointment as Sergeant-at-Arms was Chief Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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