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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

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The rules and procedures of the House are far more complex than they appear on the surface. This complexity, illustrated by the growth in the number of Standing Orders, an ever‑increasing number of Speakers’ rulings and statements, and the whole body of unwritten practice, has led to the publication over the years of various works on parliamentary procedure, which have come to be referred to as “the Authorities”. In their own time, these books have attempted to collect and organize the traditions, precedents and procedure of our Parliament. Until the publication of the first edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice in 2000, the House relied primarily on Arthur Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms of the House of Commons of Canada and Sir John George Bourinot’s Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada (last published in 1916). Other works that have proved useful in understanding the procedures of the House include William F. Dawson’s Procedure in the Canadian House of Commons, C.E.S. Franks’ The Parliament of Canada, Joseph Maingot’s Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, John B. Stewart’s The Canadian House of Commons: Procedure and Reform, and Norman Ward’s Dawson’s The Government of Canada. When these and other sources have been insufficient to help with a problem, reference may be made to Erskine May’s Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament as a guide to relevant current British procedures.

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