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House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

 
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*   Historical Perspective

No other office or position is more closely linked to the history of the House of Commons than that of the Speaker. The office dates back at least 600 years, almost to the very beginnings of Parliament itself.

Great Britain

The first Speaker to be so designated was Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1377.[1] His predecessor, Sir Peter de la Mare, was elected in 1376 and was the first Commons spokesperson known to have been selected by the House membership.[2] Originally, the Speaker’s principal function was to act as the spokesperson of the House in its dealings with the House of Lords and the Crown.[3] In an era in which the influence and power of the King was great and that of the House still tentative and subordinate, the Speaker was as much an agent of royal interests (seen as “the King’s man”) as a servant of the House.[4] The Crown’s influence over the Speaker came to an end in 1642, when King Charles I, accompanied by an armed escort, crossed the Bar of the House, sat in the Speaker’s chair and demanded the surrender of five parliamentary leaders on a charge of treason. Falling to his knees, Speaker William Lenthall replied with these now famous words which have since defined the Speaker’s role in relation to the House and the Crown:

May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here; and I humbly beg Your Majesty’s pardon that I cannot give any other answer than this to what Your Majesty is pleased to demand of me.[5]

While Speaker Lenthall’s words heralded the end of the Crown’s influence over the Speakership, they marked the beginning of the government’s authority over the Chair. The Speakership became an appointment much coveted by members of the party in power and used to advance its policies. The House allowed Speakers, who often held government posts, to participate routinely in debate and to set the agenda of the sitting by determining when and which bills should be considered. With his accession to the Chair, however, Speaker Arthur Onslow (1728‑61) loosened the ties to government and established the standards of independence and impartiality which have come to be associated with the office of Speaker. Believing that widespread corruption in government was destroying the dignity of Parliament, he became a strict proceduralist and an impartial arbiter of the House’s proceedings. By the mid‑1800s and the tenure of Speaker Shaw‑Lefevre (1839‑57), the principle of Speakers abstaining from all political activity had become established. Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, the House modified its rules to invest the Speaker with considerable authority to curtail obstruction and disorder, thereby firmly entrenching the tradition of a non‑partisan Chair.

The tenure of Speaker Shaw‑Lefevre saw the tentative appearance of the principle of continuity in office. According to this principle, the Speaker renounces all party affiliation and, when seeking re‑election to the House, runs as Speaker. This principle failed to take root in Canada as it has done in the United Kingdom. To date, no Speaker of the British House of Commons seeking re‑election in his or her constituency has been defeated; it has, however, happened that incumbent Speakers have faced one or more opponents nominated by other parties.[6] Upon retirement, the Speaker is appointed to the House of Lords with a pension as compensation for the sacrifice of active partisan political life.[7]

Canada

As in the British parliamentary system, the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons functions as its spokesperson and as the Presiding Officer of its proceedings. The historic position and character of the British and Canadian Speakerships are, however, distinctly different.

In Canada, the relationship between the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons was clearly established by the time of Confederation. The Canadian Speaker has not, therefore, been involved in constitutional disputes relating to the role of the Speaker, as took place in Britain over a period of several centuries. The appointment and role of the Speaker were clearly defined in the Constitution Act, 1867 and subsequently in the Parliament of Canada Act and the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.[8] In addition, political parties and party government have always been a part of the Canadian House. The British Commons, on the other hand, saw the development of the system of party government over 150 years of its history, beginning in the late seventeenth century.[9] By the end of the nineteenth century, it had conferred upon its Speaker discretionary powers sufficient to overcome determined obstruction by minorities in the House.

In contrast to the established British practice of continuity in the Speakership, the experience in Canada has seen the length of tenure limited normally to one or two Parliaments.[10] The issue of continuity has often been raised in the House and in its committees;[11] only three of the more than 30 Speakers since Confederation have served more than two Parliaments (Speaker Lemieux (1922‑30), Speaker Lamoureux (1966‑74), and Speaker Milliken, who was first elected in 2001, each served in three or more Parliaments).[12] The longest tenure, that of Speaker Lamoureux, lasted nine years.

The Speaker has almost always been elected from among the Members of the governing party,[13] and although the Speaker eschews partisan political activity, he or she does not make a complete break. When running for re-election, incumbent Speakers are usually careful to avoid partisan statements that might prejudice their perceived impartiality in the future. Only one Speaker has chosen to sever himself from all party affiliations and to present himself as an independent candidate in general elections. Speaker Lamoureux (1966‑74) resigned from the Liberal Party and, as an independent candidate, ran and won in the general elections of 1968 and 1972. In 1968, the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party refrained from nominating candidates to oppose him; the New Democratic Party had already nominated a candidate prior to his decision to run as an independent. In 1972, both the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party ran candidates against him.

Certain developments in recent years have served to strengthen and enhance the office of Speaker. In 1968, the official Order of Precedence of Canada[14] was amended to move the Speaker of the House of Commons from eighth position to fifth, immediately after the Governor General (or the Administrator of the Government of Canada), the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of Canada and the Speaker of the Senate.[15] Since the mid‑1970s, the salary and allowances attached to the office of Speaker have been comparable to those of a Cabinet Minister.[16] Moreover, a long‑standing rule providing for appeals to the House from decisions of the Speaker was removed from the Standing Orders in 1965.[17] In addition, provisional rules, adopted on June 27, 1985, and made permanent in June 1987, provide for the election of the Speaker by secret ballot.[18] Changes to the Standing Orders adopted in 2004 conferred upon the Speaker the responsibility of selecting the three other Presiding Officers, after consultations with the leaders of all recognized parties.[19]

*   Governing Provisions

The Constitution Act, 1867 establishes the office of Speaker, the requirement for the election of the Speaker, certain of the Speaker’s duties and the right of the Speaker to vote only in case of a tie, referred to as a “casting vote”.[20]

The Parliament of Canada Act fixes the Speaker’s salary and enumerates certain administrative responsibilities such as chairing the Board of Internal Economy, the body which is by statute responsible for all matters of financial and administrative policy affecting the House of Commons.[21] The Act also provides for the Deputy Speaker, or any other Member called upon by the Speaker, to preside over the House during the Speaker’s absence.[22] The Parliament of Canada Act further provides that following a dissolution of Parliament, the Speaker and the other members of the Board of Internal Economy shall remain in office, for administrative purposes, until the opening of the new Parliament.[23]

A number of other statutes have an impact on the role and responsibilities of the Speaker of the House. For example, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act establishes the Speaker’s role in appointing two members to each provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission,[24] in tabling the reports of these Commissions and in the filing of possible objections.[25] The Official Languages Act provides that in the event of the absence or incapacity of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Governor in Council may appoint a replacement, following consultation by the Prime Minister with the Speakers of both Houses.[26]

Certain statutes require the Speaker to receive reports and other documents and to table them in the House.[27] Other statutes, such as the Emergencies Act, the Energy Administration Act, the Energy Supplies Emergency Act, the Old Age Security Act, the International Development (Financial Institutions) Assistance Act and the Special Economic Measures Act, which provide for Parliament to confirm, revoke or amend instruments of delegated legislation by means of resolutions adopted after debate in the House, also require the Speaker to perform a specific role in this process.[28]

The Standing Orders provide for the Speaker’s duties as Presiding Officer in the House, and outline further administrative duties, most of which are carried out by the Clerk, as head of the House administration, under the direction of the Speaker.[29]

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*   Procedural Role of the Speaker

The House devises its own rules, develops its own practices and is master of its own proceedings. The office of the Speaker derives its authority from the House and the holder of the office may accurately be described as its representative and authoritative counsellor in all matters of form and procedure.[30] The office of the Speaker must be distinguished from its incumbent, who requires the support and goodwill of the House in order to carry out the duties of the office. The Speaker’s authority and responsibilities as Presiding Officer in the House of Commons flow in large part from the Constitution and from the written rules of the House.

The duties of the Speaker of the House of Commons require the balancing of the rights and interests of the majority and minority in the House to ensure that public business is transacted efficiently and that the interests of all parts of the House are advocated and protected against the use of arbitrary authority.[31] It is in this spirit that the Speaker, as the chief servant of the House, applies the rules. The Speaker is the servant, neither of any part of the House nor of any majority in the House, but of the entire institution and serves the best interests of the House as distilled over many generations in its practices.

Despite the considerable authority of the office, the Speaker may exercise only those powers conferred upon him or her by the House, within the limits established by the House itself. In ruling on matters of procedure, the Speaker is expected to adhere strictly to this principle, delineating the extent of the Speaker’s authority and in some cases offering suggestions as to matters which the House may see fit to pursue.[32]

Guardian of Rights and Privileges

It is the responsibility of the Speaker to act as the guardian of the rights and privileges of Members and of the House as an institution.[33] At the opening of each Parliament, the House is summoned to the Senate Chamber where the newly‑elected Speaker addresses the Crown or its representative and claims for the Commons all of its accustomed rights and privileges.[34] The claim holds good for the life of the Parliament and is not repeated in the event of the election of a new Speaker during the course of a Parliament.[35] Freedom of speech may be the most important of the privileges accorded to Members of Parliament; it has been described as:

… a fundamental right without which they would be hampered in the performance of their duties. It permits them to speak in the House without inhibition, to refer to any matter or express any opinion as they see fit, to say what they feel needs to be said in the furtherance of the national interest and the aspirations of their constituents.[36]

The right to freedom of speech is not, however, absolute; there are restrictions imposed by the House on its Members, derived from practice, convention, and the rules agreed to by the House. For example, the Standing Orders provide for time limits on speeches, and according to the sub judice convention, Members refrain from discussion of many matters which are currently under consideration by a court.[37] The duty of the Speaker is to ensure that the right of Members to free speech is protected and exercised to the fullest possible extent; this is accomplished in part by ensuring that the rules and practices of the House are applied and that order and decorum are maintained.[38] Whenever a Member brings to the attention of the House a possible breach of a right or privilege, the responsibility of the Speaker is to determine whether or not prima facie a breach of privilege has occurred.[39] In practice the Speaker, in hearing an alleged question of privilege, may intervene to remind Members of the Speaker’s role and to request that the Member’s remarks be directed to providing facts to establish the existence of a prima facie case.[40] At the Speaker’s discretion, other Members may be permitted to participate. Only when the Speaker has ruled the matter to be a prima facie question of privilege can a motion be brought formally before the House for its consideration.[41]

Order and Decorum

As the arbiter of House proceedings, the Speaker’s duty is to preserve order and decorum in the House and to decide any matters of procedure that may arise. This duty carries with it a wide‑ranging authority extending to matters as diverse as the behaviour and attire of Members, the conduct of proceedings, the rules of debate and disruptions on the floor of the Chamber and in its galleries.[42] When a decision on a matter of procedure or a question of order is reached, the Standing Orders require that the Speaker identify which Standing Order or other authority is being applied to the case.[43]

Sometimes, a ruling is delivered quickly and with a minimum of explanation.[44] At other times, circumstances do not permit an immediate ruling. The Speaker may allow discussion of the point of order before he or she comes to a decision.[45] The Speaker might also reserve his or her decision on a matter, returning to the House at a later time to deliver the ruling.[46] Once the Speaker has ruled, the matter is no longer open to debate or discussion. On some occasions, the Speaker has, however, chosen to amend or clarify a previous ruling.[47]

In addition to ruling on procedural issues, Speakers may make statements with a view to providing information, clarification or direction to the House.[48]

There are a number of ways in which the Speaker may act to ensure that order and decorum are preserved:

*       The rules governing the conduct of debate empower the Speaker to call a Member to order if the Member persists in repeating an argument already made in the course of debate, or in addressing a subject which is not relevant to the question before the House.[49] The Speaker may intervene directly to address an individual Member or the House in general;[50] or, the Speaker may respond to a point of order raised by another Member.[51] The Speaker can call to order any Member whose conduct is disruptive to the order of the House. For example, if it is a question of unparliamentary language, the Speaker usually requests an unequivocal withdrawal of the word or expression.[52]

*       If the Speaker has found it necessary to intervene in order to call a Member to order, he or she may then choose to recognize another Member, thus declining to give the floor back to the offending Member.[53] On occasion, a Member who is called to order by the Speaker may not immediately comply with the Speaker’s instructions; in such a case, the Speaker has given the Member time to reflect on his or her position, declining in the meantime to “see” the Member should the latter rise to be recognized.[54] A warning at the time the Member is called to order that the Chair may elect to do this has sometimes been sufficient to secure compliance.[55]

*       The most severe sanction available to the Speaker for maintaining order in the House is “naming”, a disciplinary measure reserved for Members who persistently disregard the authority of the Chair.[56] If a Member refuses to heed the Speaker’s requests to bring his or her behaviour into line with the rules and practices of the House, the Speaker has the authority to name that Member (i.e., to address the Member by name rather than by constituency or title, as is the usual practice) and, without putting the question to the House, to order his or her withdrawal from the Chamber for the remainder of the sitting day.[57] During debate in a Committee of the Whole House, if a Member persists in disorderly conduct and refuses to obey the injunction of the Chair to desist, the Chair of the Committee rises and reports the conduct of the Member to the Speaker. The Chair may do this on his or her own initiative without recourse to a motion from the Committee.[58] The Speaker will then ordinarily follow the procedure for naming the Member.[59] The power to name a Member extends as well to the Deputy Speaker and Acting Speaker.[60]

*       Another means of preserving order in the Chamber is the Speaker’s discretionary power to order the withdrawal of strangers:[61] that is, anyone who is not a Member or an official of the House of Commons (e.g., Senators, diplomats, government officials, journalists or members of the general public). This measure has been used to clear the galleries of individuals whose presence has been a cause of disruption.[62] From time to time, the Speaker has also seen fit to remind spectators in the galleries of the standard of behaviour expected of them.[63] In addition, the rules provide that, should a Member take note of the presence of strangers (or should the House wish to proceed in camera[64]), the Speaker may put the question “That strangers be ordered to withdraw”.[65] This motion is neither debatable nor amendable; if it is decided in the affirmative, the Speaker―with the help of the Sergeant‑at‑Arms―then ensures that the galleries are vacated.[66]

No Appeals

The Standing Orders prohibit any debate on decisions of the Speaker and prohibit any appeal of a Speaker’s decision to the House.[67] From Confederation until 1965, however, it was possible for any Member who disagreed with a Speaker’s decision on a question of order to appeal it immediately to the House (i.e., to move a non‑debatable motion on the question of whether or not the House upheld the Speaker’s ruling).[68] In the early years of Confederation, this was rarely done.[69] After the turn of the twentieth century, however, Members began asserting their right to an appeal to the House.[70] By the 1920s and thereafter, hardly a session passed that did not see at least one such appeal.[71] The practice reached a peak in the session of 1956 when 11 appeals were made, mostly during the very contentious “Pipeline Debate”.[72] Similar numbers of appeals were made in the Twenty‑Fifth (1962‑63) and Twenty‑Sixth (1963‑65) Parliaments.[73] In 1965, as part of a series of amendments to the Standing Orders, the ability of Members to appeal rulings of the Speaker was abolished.[74] Former Speaker Lambert supported the abolition of such appeals because “one of the chief difficulties with the business of Parliament over the past 10 years has been the somewhat indiscriminate use of appeals against Speaker’s rulings, not on points of jurisprudence or points of procedure but for political effect”.[75]

Before 1965, there were a few instances in which decisions of the Speaker were appealed and not sustained by the House. The first of these occurred in 1873 when the House overruled the Speaker on the acceptability of a petition.[76] In 1926, another ruling was rejected, and three more in 1963 were not sustained.[77] The vote on a fourth ruling in 1963 resulted in a tie and was sustained only when the Speaker declined to give a casting vote and ruled that his decision should stand “since the decision has not been negatived”.[78]

Since 1965, Members have occasionally attempted to circumvent the prohibition against appeals by rising on points of order to “seek clarification” of a Speaker’s ruling or statement. In these circumstances, the Chair typically advises the Member to review the written transcript of his ruling and/or to consult the procedural authorities cited therein.[79]

Impartiality of the Chair

When in the Chair, the Speaker embodies the power and authority of the office, strengthened by rule and precedent. He or she must at all times show, and be seen to show, the impartiality required to sustain the trust and goodwill of the House.[80] The actions of the Speaker may not be criticized in debate or by any means except by way of a substantive motion. Such motions have been moved against the Speaker[81] or other Presiding Officers[82] on rare occasions. Reflections on the character or actions of the Speaker―an allegation of bias, for example―could be taken by the House as breaches of privilege and punished accordingly.

On two occasions, newspaper editorials were found to contain libelous reflections on the Speaker and were declared by the House, in one instance, to be a contempt of its privileges[83] and, in the other, a gross breach of its privileges.[84]

In 1981, a Minister complained that remarks directed to Speaker Sauvé by the Leader of the Opposition constituted an attack on the former’s authority and impartiality. The following day, the Minister tabled a motion in the House calling for the matter to be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections. However, the Leader of the Opposition withdrew his remarks and the matter was taken no further.[85]

In another incident occurring in 1993, a question of privilege was raised concerning disparaging remarks made by a Member about the impartiality of the Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole. When the Member refused to withdraw the comments, the Speaker declared that they “affect[ed] the dignity of [the] House” and were “an attack against the integrity” of an officer of the House. He ruled that prima facie there was a case of privilege and the matter was referred forthwith to a committee. Two days later, the Member rose in the House and withdrew the remarks.[86]

In 1996, a private Member’s motion on the Order Paper alleged that another Member and his party were guilty of a contempt of the House for attempting to rally public opinion with a view to influencing an upcoming decision of the Speaker. The motion was selected for debate in the House but was later withdrawn without having been considered.[87]

In 1998, a Member raised a question of privilege, alleging that statements attributed to other Members in a newspaper article (concerning an upcoming ruling of the Chair) constituted an attempt to intimidate the Speaker and the House itself. The Speaker found a prima facie case and the matter was referred to a committee, which investigated and concluded that the statements attributed to the Members “were not intended to be contemptuous of the House of Commons or the Speaker” and that “they did not bring into question the integrity of the House of Commons and its servant, the Speaker”.[88]

In order to protect the impartiality of the office, the Speaker abstains from all partisan political activity (for example, by not attending caucus meetings), does not participate in debate[89] and votes only in the event of an equality of voices, normally referred to as the “casting vote” of the Chair.[90] Since 1979, the Speaker, unlike all other Members, has not been assigned a desk in the Chamber; this is a further indication that it has become an established practice that the Speaker has no role whatsoever in debate, whether in the House or in a Committee of the Whole.[91]

Although the requirement that Speakers remain mute in debate has existed since 1867, it has not always been applied when the House met in a Committee of the Whole. During the first 60 years after Confederation, there were many instances of participation by the Speaker in this forum.[92] By 1927, however, the practice had become rare, and when Speaker Lemieux spoke in Committee, Members objected.[93] After this, Speakers did not intervene in a Committee of the Whole except on occasion to defend their Estimates.[94] Since 1968, these Estimates have been referred to standing committees for study and the Speaker, as a witness, continues to defend the Estimates of the House of Commons in this forum.[95]

In the past, Speakers have appeared before, and have sometimes chaired, House committees, usually when matters of procedure and proposed reform of the rules have been considered.[96] There has, however, been a growing tendency during the last few Parliaments, for Speakers to limit themselves to appearing as witnesses only on matters within their jurisdiction.

*   Casting Vote

The Speaker does not participate in debate and votes only in cases of an equality of voices; in such an eventuality, the Speaker is responsible for breaking the tie by casting a vote.[97]

In theory, the Speaker has the same freedom as any other Member to vote in accordance with his or her conscience; however, the exercise of this responsibility could involve the Speaker in partisan debate, which would adversely affect the confidence of the House in his or her impartiality. Therefore, certain conventions have developed as a guide to Speakers (and Chairs in a Committee of the Whole) in the infrequent exercise of the casting vote.[98] Concisely put, the Speaker normally votes to maintain the status quo. This entails voting in the following fashion:

*       whenever possible, leaving the matter open for future consideration and allowing for further discussion by the House;

*       whenever no further discussion is possible, preserving the possibility that the matter might somehow be brought back in the future and be decided by a majority of the House; and

*       leaving a bill in its existing form rather than causing it to be amended.[99]

In 1863, these conventions were acknowledged in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada when the Speaker was called upon to give a casting vote, and gave as his reason “that in the case of an equal division, the practice was, that the Speaker should keep the question as long as possible before the House in order to afford a further opportunity to the House of expressing an opinion upon it”.[100] The application of this convention has not always been entirely consistent. For instance, on one occasion, the Speaker voted in favour of a hoist amendment[101] to the motion for third reading of a bill in order “to keep the Bill before the House”;[102] on another, the Speaker voted against a hoist amendment for the same reason (“to give the House a further opportunity for consideration”).[103]

The manner in which the Speaker casts a deciding vote is as follows: typically, a recorded vote is demanded, taken and, when an equality of voices is discerned at the announcement of the result, the Speaker then votes and may state reasons. Any reasons given are recorded in the Journals.[104] On two occasions, an equality of voices was announced, the Speaker cast his vote and it later came to light that no tie had occurred. In both instances, the Speaker made a brief statement the next day in which he declared his vote invalidated.[105] On another occasion, prior to the abolition of appeals from Speakers’ rulings, the voices were equal on a motion to sustain the ruling of the Chair. The Speaker declined to vote, stating that “Since the decision has not been negatived, I declare my ruling sustained” and no objection was raised.[106]

Specific Duties

Specific duties of the Speaker in the Chamber are described below; many of the procedural topics referred to are explored in greater detail in other chapters.

Opening the sitting: It is the Speaker’s responsibility to open the sittings of the House once it has been determined that a quorum is present.[107] When opening a sitting, the Speaker takes the Chair, calls the House to order, reads prayers, directs that the doors to the public galleries be opened, and then calls the first item of business. If, as sometimes happens, the Speaker is absent at the opening of a sitting, the House is so informed by the Clerk and the Deputy Speaker (or one of the other Chair Occupants) takes the Chair.[108]

Reading motions, putting questions, announcing results of votes: Before debate begins on a matter, the Speaker proposes the question by reading the motion on which the House is to decide. When no Member rises to be recognized in debate, the Speaker asks if the House is “ready for the question”, thus ascertaining whether or not the debate has concluded. When debate on a question is closed, it is the Speaker’s responsibility to put the question, that is, to put the matter to the House for a decision, and afterwards to announce the result to the House.[109]

Recognizing Members to speak in the House: No Member may speak in the House until called upon or recognized by the Speaker; any Member so recognized may speak during debate, questions and comments periods, Question Period, and other proceedings of the House. Various conventions and informal arrangements exist to encourage the participation of all parties in debate; nevertheless, the decision as to who may speak is ultimately the Speaker’s.[110]

Deciding questions of order and questions of privilege: In presiding over the deliberations of the House, the Speaker is responsible for deciding questions of order and questions of privilege, and for ensuring that the rules and practices of the House are respected.[111] The Speaker rules on questions of order and questions of privilege as they occur and not in anticipation.[112] A question of order may be brought to the Speaker’s attention by a Member, or the Speaker may intervene when he or she observes an irregularity. In ruling on questions of order and questions of privilege, the Speaker cites the Standing Order or other applicable authority.[113] At times, the Speaker may be called upon to deal with situations not provided for in the Standing Orders of the House; in such cases, the rules give authority to the Speaker to consider parliamentary tradition in jurisdictions outside the House of Commons of Canada “so far as they may be applicable”.[114]

Decisions on motions: The Standing Orders confer on the Speaker certain responsibilities in connection with motions coming before the House for consideration. The Speaker has the responsibility to act, in the event that he or she judges a motion to be “contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament”.[115] In such a case, it is the Speaker’s responsibility to inform the House at the earliest opportunity, before the question is put, and to refer to the applicable rule or authority. This is to be distinguished from the Speaker’s general power to rule authoritatively on matters of procedure. While the Speaker is guardian of the rules and privileges of the House, he or she is its servant as well; the Members of the House retain collective control of their actions. Thus, if the Speaker were to inform the House that a proposed motion, though correct as to its form, runs counter to established parliamentary principles, customs or privileges, the House would then be in a position to take a decision on the matter, with the benefit of the information provided and the authorities cited by the Speaker. This rule was first adopted after Confederation[116] and has never been invoked by the Speaker, although there have been attempts to persuade the Chair to invoke it.[117]

Other rules of the House give the Speaker the power to select which report stage amendments will be considered by the House, and to group these for purposes of debate and division.[118] In addition, in the event that notice of more than one opposition motion is given when a Supply day has been designated, the Speaker is responsible for selecting the one which will have precedence for consideration by the House.[119]

Conduct of Private Members’ Business: It is the overall responsibility of the Speaker to make all the necessary arrangements to ensure the orderly conduct of the hour of each sitting day devoted to Private Members’ Business.[120] This includes ensuring that the House has 24 hours’ notice of the item to be considered in each sitting,[121] seeing to the arrangement of exchanges when a sponsoring Member is unable to be present when his or her item is scheduled for consideration,[122] and refusing a notice of an item of Private Members’ Business which is deemed to be substantially the same as another.[123]

Private bills: When private bills[124] are to be brought before Parliament, persons wishing to act as parliamentary agents (i.e., employed in promoting or opposing a private bill) must be granted authority to do so by the Speaker.[125] The Speaker also has the power to issue a temporary or absolute prohibition on an individual acting as a parliamentary agent, in cases where he or she has failed to act in accordance with parliamentary rules and practice.[126]

Tabling of documents: Statutory provisions, as well as rules of the House, require the Speaker to receive and table certain reports and documents in the House. When the Speaker tables a document, he or she may do so during the sitting;[127] alternatively, the document may be deposited with the Clerk of the House.[128] In either case, the tabling is noted in the Journals and the item tabled is deemed permanently referred to the appropriate standing committee.[129] The specific documents tabled by the Speaker are as follows:

*        As Chair of the Board of Internal Economy (the body responsible for all financial and administrative matters affecting the House of Commons) the Speaker is responsible for tabling reports of the Board’s proceedings.[130] The reports consist of minutes of the Board’s meetings, which are tabled as they are approved by the Board.[131] The Speaker is also responsible for tabling the annual reports of the Board’s decisions respecting the budgets of parliamentary committees.[132] In addition, the Parliament of Canada Act requires the Speaker to table any by‑laws made by the Board within 30 days of their making; typically, these are deposited with the Clerk.[133]

*        The Speaker is required after consultation with the House Leaders to table annually, before September 30, a calendar of sitting and non‑sitting weeks for the following year.[134]

*        Statutory requirements exist whereby designated officers of Parliament[135] and the Canadian Human Rights Commission transmit their annual reports and any special or investigatory reports to the Speaker, who then tables them in the House.[136]

*        In the decennial process to readjust electoral boundaries, reports of the provincial and territorial electoral boundaries commissions are transmitted by the Chief Electoral Officer to the Speaker, who tables them when the House is sitting.[137]

*        When election results are contested or appealed under the Canada Elections Act, reports of court decisions are made to the Speaker, who then informs the House.[138]

Emergency debates: When a Member has made a request to move the adjournment of the House in order to debate a matter requiring urgent consideration (an emergency debate), the Speaker is responsible for deciding whether or not the request will be granted.[139] When the Speaker has granted an application for an emergency debate, the rules provide for it to take place the same day, but the Speaker may also exercise a discretionary power to defer the debate to a specific time on the next sitting day.[140] An emergency debate ends at the times specified in the Standing Orders, but again, the Speaker has discretion to declare the motion carried and to adjourn the House to the next sitting day if, in his or her opinion, debate has concluded before those times.[141] Once it is underway, an emergency debate takes precedence over all other business; in the event of conflict or incompatibility with regard to other rules or other business of the House, the Speaker has complete discretion in reconciling the difficulty.[142]

Recall of the House: When the House stands adjourned during a session, the Speaker has the power to recall the House to meet prior to the date on which it is scheduled to reconvene.[143] The request to recall the House is always initiated by a Minister (usually the Government House Leader), and the Speaker has no authority to consider such a request from any other Member. In these circumstances (or while Parliament stands prorogued, or prior to the first session of a new Parliament), upon receipt of a written request from the government, the Speaker will cause to be published a Special Order Paper which informs the House of any measure the government wishes the House to consider immediately.[144] A notice for recall of the House is not usually withdrawn; but on one occasion, after receiving a request from all the recognized parties in the House, the Speaker issued a formal statement cancelling an earlier notice for recall.[145]

Parliamentary publications: The official publications of the House of Commons are published under the authority of the Speaker. These include, among others, the Journals, the Debates, the Order Paper and Notice Paper, the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, bills and the minutes and reports of House of Commons committees.[146]

Chairs of legislative committees: The Speaker also has responsibilities with regard to Chairs of legislative committees.[147] It is the Speaker’s duty at the start of each session, and thereafter as necessary, to select Members to form a Panel of Chairs. The Speaker exercises a certain amount of discretion in the choice of Members; the rules specify only that a proportionate number of Members be appointed from the government and opposition parties and that the other Presiding Officers of the House be on the Panel ex officio.[148] Whenever the House decides to proceed with the appointment of a legislative committee, it is the Speaker’s responsibility to select from the Panel of Chairs a Member to chair that committee.[149]

Take-note debates: The Speaker may, further to the adoption of a motion proposed by a Minister of the Crown, preside over a take-note debate conducted in a Committee of the Whole.[150]

*   Administrative Role of the Speaker

The Speaker is the head of the House of Commons administration and is responsible for its overall direction and management.[151] The House administration supports Members of Parliament, individually and collectively, in their parliamentary roles and the House itself as an institution.

One of the fundamental privileges of the House is the right to regulate its own internal affairs, exercising exclusive jurisdiction over its premises and the people within.[152] By virtue of the Parliament of Canada Act, all matters of administrative and financial policy affecting the House of Commons are overseen by the Board of Internal Economy,[153] which is composed of Members of the House from the government and opposition parties. The Speaker presides over the Board of Internal Economy.

The day‑to‑day management of the staff of the House of Commons rests with the Clerk[154] and the senior officials reporting to the Clerk, subject to orders of the House or of the Speaker.[155]

Spending estimates for the House of Commons are prepared at the request of the Board of Internal Economy and once they have been approved by the Board, it is the Speaker’s responsibility to transmit them to the President of the Treasury Board for tabling with the government’s departmental estimates for the fiscal year.[156]

The right of each House of Parliament to regulate its own internal affairs also extends to the management of the premises “within the precinct and beyond the debating Chamber …”.[157] As guardian of the rights and privileges of the House, the Speaker ensures that they are respected within and outside the House.[158] Within the precinct, the Speaker oversees matters of security and policing. Security within the buildings occupied by Members and staff of the House is the responsibility of the Sergeant‑at‑Arms, who acts under the Speaker’s authority (The Senate maintains its own security force in buildings occupied by Senators and Senate staff.).[159] For this purpose, the House maintains its own security service. Arrangements are in place whereby the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is charged with security of the grounds outside the buildings. There are occasions when the House security staff request and receive assistance from outside police forces, whether the RCMP or the local police. It is also well established that outside police forces wishing to enter the parliamentary buildings must first obtain permission from the Speaker to do so, and that the authority to grant or withhold such permission rests with the Speaker, who exercises sole discretion in this regard.[160]

The Speaker, acting in accordance with an Order of the House, may also oblige the civil authorities to hand over any individual in their custody whose presence is required in the exercise of the constitutional rights and powers of the House of Commons. In 2007, Speaker Milliken did so, issuing a rare “Speaker’s warrant” requiring the attendance of an incarcerated individual before a standing committee of the House.[161]

As the chief administrator of the House, the Speaker oversees all of its dealings with government departments in matters of administration. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is the primary provider of central and common services to the Government of Canada and to the Parliament of Canada. Officials of the House of Commons, under the Speaker’s authority, work in close cooperation with PWGSC for the delivery of professional and technical services such as translation and interpretation, printing and publishing, as well as the management of the Parliament Buildings and leased properties.[162] The National Capital Commission (NCC) is a Crown corporation whose objective is to plan and assist in “the development, conservation and improvement of the National Capital Region in order that the nature and character of the seat of the Government of Canada may be in accordance with its national significance”.[163] The NCC is responsible for maintaining the grounds on Parliament Hill[164] and this historic site is the focal point of much other NCC‑sponsored activity. The Speaker is naturally interested in ensuring that all such activity takes place with due regard to the dignity and authority of the institution and the privileges of Members, such as the right to unimpeded access to the House of Commons and the parliamentary precinct at all times.[165]

*   Ceremonial/Diplomatic Role of the Speaker

Certain responsibilities of the Speaker are of a traditional, ceremonial or diplomatic nature, highlighting the role of the Speaker as a representative of the Commons. The Speaker is the representative and spokesperson of the House of Commons in its relations with the Senate, the Crown and other bodies. Messages, correspondence and documents addressed to the House of Commons are communicated to it by the Speaker.[166]

When entering or leaving the House at the beginning or end of a sitting, the Speaker is always preceded by the Sergeant‑at‑Arms bearing the Mace. The opening of a sitting of the House is preceded by a ceremonial event known as the Speaker’s Parade, in which the Speaker walks in procession through the halls of the Centre Block to the Chamber of the House of Commons.[167]

Whenever the House is summoned to the Senate Chamber to attend the Queen, the Governor General, or the representative of the Governor General, the Speaker leads the procession. This happens at the opening of a Parliament and of a session,[168] or whenever there is to be a traditional ceremony to grant Royal Assent to bills.[169] When a new Parliament or new session opens and a Speech from the Throne is read in the Senate Chamber, it is then officially communicated to the House by the Speaker. When the House has debated the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, the text of the Address is engrossed, signed by the Speaker and personally presented to the Governor General.[170]

The Parliament of Canada maintains relations with the provincial and territorial legislatures as well as with most foreign parliaments. Many of these relationships are carried on by, or in the name of, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate. Contacts between the Parliament of Canada and other parliaments and legislative assemblies may range from exchanges of correspondence, to formal visits conducted on a reciprocal basis, to training and development sessions for parliamentary officers.

The Parliament of Canada is an active participant in the international exchange of ideas, information and experiences among world parliaments, and holds membership in several interparliamentary associations and groups.[171] The Speaker of the House is an honourary president of each of them. Under his or her authority (and that of the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration) a “Joint Interparliamentary Council” distributes funds to the various associations and oversees their administration.[172] Parliamentarians (as delegates, members or participants) attend national, bilateral and international meetings, conferences and seminars arranged through the parliamentary associations and interparliamentary groups.

Outside the framework of the interparliamentary associations, the Parliament of Canada also participates in exchanges and programs of parliamentary cooperation with other parliaments throughout the world, authorized and overseen by both Speakers. Parliamentary exchanges offer parliamentarians opportunities to broaden their knowledge, to discuss problems of mutual interest and issues of the day. The Speaker’s involvement may include accepting invitations from other parliaments, hosting visiting delegations of parliamentarians, and participating in meetings of Speakers from Canada and abroad.

During a sitting, the Speaker may draw the attention of the House to the presence of distinguished visitors seated in the gallery of the House.[173] Generally, this takes place immediately following Question Period, though the Speaker has also recognized visitors prior to Question Period and even during Question Period.[174] In most cases, the visitors recognized are seated in the Speaker’s Gallery.[175] No Standing Orders exist to define what types of visitors the Speaker shall recognize. Current practice is to recognize:

*       heads of state, heads of provincial, territorial and foreign governments, and official guests of the Governor General or of the Prime Minister;

*       presidents or secretaries general of important international organizations (e.g., the United Nations);

*       official parliamentary delegations, Presiding Officers and cabinet ministers from provincial and territorial legislative assemblies, or from foreign countries; and

*       Canadians who have distinguished themselves in any field of endeavour by their achievements, deeds or success of national or international scope.[176]

From time to time, a distinguished visitor (usually a head of state or of government) has given a joint address to Members of the House of Commons and Senators in the House of Commons Chamber. The Speaker, as host, takes a pre‑eminent role in such events, which are organized in accordance with an established protocol.[177]

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*   Election of the Speaker as Presiding Officer

The election of the Speaker of the House of Commons is a constitutional requirement.[178] An election must take place at the beginning of the first session of a Parliament, when the House is without a Speaker. Should the Speaker resign or state his or her intention to resign in mid‑Parliament, election proceedings again take place; a vacancy occurring for any other reason also leads to the election of a new Speaker.[179] This constitutional requirement is the basis of the Standing Orders which specify when and under what circumstances the election of a Speaker takes place.[180] Although the Speaker has in most cases been elected at the opening of the first session of a Parliament, several Speakers have been elected in mid‑session or at the opening of the second or later session of a Parliament.[181] In any case, the election takes precedence over all other business and is not to be considered as a question of confidence in the government.[182] If necessary, the election continues beyond the ordinary hour of daily adjournment until a Speaker is elected. No other business can come before the House until the election has taken place and the new Speaker has taken the Chair.[183]

Although the time at which a Speaker is to be elected is indicated in the Constitution, no Standing Order before 1985 ever prescribed the means by which this should be accomplished. From 1867 to 1985, the Clerk of the House conducted the election. The general practice was for the Prime Minister to propose the name of a Member to become Speaker. This debatable motion was usually seconded by a leading Minister, although, starting in 1953, the nomination typically was seconded by the Leader of the Opposition.[184] After debate on the motion, the question was put by the Clerk and the nominee was elected by a majority of the Members present; in almost all cases, the motion was carried unanimously.[185] The Speaker‑elect, showing mock reticence, was then escorted to the Chair by the mover and seconder, after which he or she accepted the nomination and the Mace was placed on the Table. It has been customary for the Speaker‑elect to make a pretence of reluctance while being escorted to the Chair. This has its origin in the genuine reluctance with which early British Speakers assumed their duties.[186]

In 1985, the House adopted a new procedure to be followed in electing a Speaker by secret ballot.[187] The new procedure went into effect in September of that year on a provisional basis and was first invoked in 1986 when Speaker Bosley resigned the Speakership and, after 11 ballots, the House elected John Fraser as the new Speaker.[188] The protracted election prompted calls for changes in the process; to that end, the Standing Orders were amended in 1987, to exclude from subsequent ballots, candidates receiving five percent or less of the total votes cast. At the same time, the secret ballot procedure became permanent.[189] In 1988, Speaker Fraser was re‑elected on the first ballot. In 1994, Speaker Parent was elected after six ballots, and re‑elected in 1997 after four ballots. Speaker Milliken was elected after five ballots in 2001, acclaimed in 2004, elected after a single ballot in 2006, and elected after five ballots in 2008.

In 2001, the Standing Orders were further amended to afford each candidate for the Office of Speaker an opportunity to address the House for not more than five minutes prior to the first ballot.[190] This change had been recommended to allow all Members to hear from the candidates in an open forum.[191]

Election of the Speaker by Secret Ballot

When the House meets at the beginning of a new Parliament, Members are summoned to the Senate Chamber by means of a message delivered to the House by the Usher of the Black Rod.[192] Preceded by the Clerk of the House, the Members make their way to the Senate Chamber where they are informed by a Deputy of the Governor General[193] that the causes of summoning will not be divulged (meaning that the Speech from the Throne will not be read) “until the Speaker of the House of Commons shall have been chosen according to Law …”. The Members then return to the House and proceed immediately to the election of a Speaker.

All Members of the House, except Ministers and party leaders, are automatically candidates for the Speakership.[194] The Standing Orders designate who shall preside over the election of a Speaker[195] but are silent as to whether the Member presiding may also be a candidate. In all elections to date, the Member presiding took the prescribed action of removing himself from the list of candidates. Any eligible Member who does not wish to be considered must so inform the Clerk in writing by 6:00 p.m., at the latest, on the day before the election is to take place.[196] The notice of withdrawal must be signed by the Member.[197] After the deadline has passed, the Clerk draws up an alphabetical list of the names of Members who do not wish to be considered or who are ineligible by virtue of being Ministers or party leaders. A Member who has withdrawn may, before the deadline, recall the letter of withdrawal and allow his or her name to go forward.[198]

The rules providing for the Speaker’s election by secret ballot are silent on many aspects of the election process. They do not, for example, indicate whether the Clerk may be assisted in the counting and destruction of ballots or whether the sitting should be suspended while this process is underway. In 1986, when preparations began for the first secret‑ballot election, matters not covered by the written rules were settled by the Clerk in consultation with the House Leaders; these have since then become part of the practice associated with an election of the Speaker.[199]

The Chamber is set up somewhat differently when a Speaker is to be elected. The Table is cleared of its usual accoutrements and, while the Clerk’s chair remains at its head, the chairs of the Table Officers are removed. A ballot box is placed on a stand at the foot of the Table and portable voting booths are placed on either side of the Table. While the election proceeds, the Mace rests under the Table as no Speaker is in the Chair.

When the election of a Speaker takes place at the beginning of a Parliament, it is presided over by the so‑called “Dean of the House”, the Member with the longest unbroken record of service who is neither a Minister nor the holder of any office within the House.[200] After the return of the House from the Senate Chamber, the Clerk invites the Dean of the House to take the Chair as the Member presiding. When an election is held during a Parliament to replace a Speaker who has given notice of his or her intention to resign, as was the case in 1986, the outgoing Speaker presides.[201] In the absence of an outgoing Speaker at an election taking place during the course of a Parliament, the Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole would preside.[202] The Member presiding is vested with all the powers of the Chair and votes in the election; however, he or she may not cast an additional ballot in the event of a tie.[203]

The Standing Orders require the Member presiding to inform the House that the list of Members who do not wish to be considered for election to the office of Speaker, or who are ineligible, is available for consultation at the Table.[204] This is done before balloting begins; at the same time, the Member presiding reads out (in alphabetical order) the names of the Members appearing on the first ballot and informs the House that this list is available in each voting booth. Both these lists will also have been distributed to Members at their desks. It has happened that Members not wishing to be considered have sought to have their names removed before the start of voting. The Member presiding has responded that, the deadline having passed (6:00 p.m. of the previous day), the list for the first ballot cannot be amended, but doubtless the House would take note of any such request.[205] Members appearing on the first ballot are permitted to make brief introductory speeches of no more than five minutes to the House.[206] Following the speeches, the House suspends its proceedings for one hour before the election is held. The voting begins with an invitation from the Member presiding to those who wish to cast their ballots to leave their desks, proceed along the corridors behind the curtains in the direction of the Chair, and come to the Table through the doorways at the left and right of the Chair according to whether the Members sit on the Speaker’s left or right.

At these doorways, Members have their names recorded and are issued ballot papers by Table Officers assisting the Clerk.[207] Members must enter through the doorway on the side of the House on which they are seated. Once provided with a ballot paper, each then proceeds to the voting booth on the appropriate side of the Table. Each Member prints the first and last names of a candidate on the ballot paper,[208] deposits the paper in the ballot box[209] and then leaves the area around the Table in order to ensure the confidentiality of the vote for other Members.

When the Member presiding is satisfied that all Members wishing to vote have done so, the Clerk withdraws from the Chamber to count the ballots, with the assistance of other Table Officers, in a nearby room. The Sergeant‑at‑Arms carries the ballot box, and pauses by the Chair while the Member presiding deposits his or her ballot. The Member presiding then signifies that the proceedings are suspended while the counting of the ballots takes place.

The ballots are counted in secret. Once the Clerk is satisfied as to the accuracy of the count, all ballot papers and related records are destroyed. The Clerk is enjoined by the Standing Orders not to divulge in any way the number of ballots cast for any candidate.[210] When the count is complete, the bells are rung for a few minutes to call the House to order and the Clerk re‑enters the Chamber.

If any Member has received a majority of the votes cast, the Clerk passes the name of the successful candidate to the Member presiding, who then announces it from the Chair.[211] If no Member has received a majority of the votes cast, then the Clerk provides the Member presiding with a list of the candidates in alphabetical order for the next ballot. The list is drawn up as follows: from the original list of candidates, the Clerk deletes the name of the last‑place candidate (or names, in the case of a tied vote for last place), as well as the name of any Member who received five percent or fewer of the total votes cast.[212] The rule further provides that no names be deleted in the event that every candidate receives the same number of votes. The Member presiding announces that a second ballot will be necessary and reads out the names of the candidates. At this point, any candidates on the second ballot who do not wish to be further considered may rise and withdraw, stating their reasons.[213] The Clerk is then instructed to remove from the list the names of any Members who have thus withdrawn. When an alphabetical list of eligible Members has been placed in each voting booth, the Member presiding asks Members who wish to vote to proceed in the same manner as in the first ballot.

The voting procedure for the second ballot is the same as for the first, except that the ballot papers are a different colour. When the Member presiding is satisfied that all Members wishing to vote have done so, he or she instructs the Clerk to proceed with the count of the second ballot. When the count is complete, the Clerk destroys all of the ballot papers and related records, again to ensure the secrecy of the count as required by the Standing Orders.

The Member presiding then calls the House to order and announces either the name of the successful candidate, or that a third ballot will be necessary; in the latter case, the names of the candidates eligible for the third ballot are read from the list prepared by the Clerk. Members who wish to withdraw their candidacy at this point or on any subsequent ballot may do so and are not required to give reasons.[214] The names of those who withdraw are then removed from the list of eligible candidates and, when the list has been made available, the Members proceed to vote.

Balloting continues in this fashion until one candidate has received a majority of the votes cast or until only one name remains. If necessary, the House may continue to sit beyond its usual adjournment time until a Speaker is declared elected.[215]

After announcing the name of the successful candidate from the Chair, the Member presiding invites the Speaker‑elect to take the Chair. The Member presiding steps down and the Speaker‑elect is escorted from his or her seat to the dais by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. It is customary for the Speaker‑elect to offer a token show of resistance.[216]

Standing at the top of the steps, the first official act of every Speaker elected since Confederation has been to thank the House for the honour it has bestowed. The opening words follow a pattern established over time: “Honourable Members, I beg to return my humble acknowledgements to the House for the great honour you have been pleased to confer upon me in choosing me to be your Speaker”.

Speakers have typically included in their remarks a pledge to carry out their duties with firmness and impartiality, an acknowledgement of the great responsibilities of the office, a request to the House for its continued support and goodwill, and acknowledgements and commendations directed to predecessors, other candidates (in the case of secret‑ballot elections), constituents, family and fellow Members.[217] The Speaker then takes the Chair. The voting booths and ballot box having been removed, the Sergeant‑at‑Arms takes the Mace (symbol of the authority of the House) from under the Table, where it sits during the election, and places it on the Table, signifying that now with the Speaker in the Chair, the House is properly constituted.

Since the Speaker has been elected by secret ballot, the party leaders have risen on occasion to offer congratulations and good wishes, and to pledge their support once the newly‑elected Speaker has taken the Chair and the Mace has been laid on the Table.[218] Before 1986, when the Speaker was nominated on a motion moved by the Prime Minister and elected when the motion was adopted by the House, it was the custom for the individual nominated to be spoken of warmly in the nomination speeches of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, and congratulatory remarks after the election did not occur as a rule.[219]

By the time the new Speaker has taken the Chair and heard from any Members wishing to offer congratulations, the House may have gone beyond its usual time of adjournment as set out in the Standing Orders; under these circumstances, the Speaker adjourns the House until the next sitting day.[220] This occurred in 1986 when the House adjourned at 2:30 a.m. to reconvene later the same day for the opening of the session.[221] In 1988, the Speaker was elected after a single ballot, and the sitting was suspended for several hours until the opening of Parliament later the same day.[222] Since then, the Speaker has been elected before the usual adjournment time, and the House has then adjourned to the following day at the time fixed for the opening of Parliament.[223]

During the election of a Speaker, debate is not permitted, motions are not accepted and the Member presiding may not entertain any question of privilege.[224] On one occasion, a point of order was raised and settled by the Chair.[225]

At the time fixed for the formal opening of Parliament with a Speech from the Throne, the House receives the Usher of the Black Rod and goes in procession to the Senate Chamber. At the Bar of the Senate, the newly‑elected Speaker stands on a small platform, removes his or her three‑cornered hat and receives an acknowledgement from the Governor General, who is seated on the Throne. The Speaker addresses the Governor General by an established formula, as follows:

May it please Your Excellency,

The House of Commons has elected me their Speaker, though I am but little able to fulfil the important duties thus assigned to me. If, in the performance of those duties, I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me, and not to the Commons, whose servant I am, and who, through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duty to their Queen and Country, humbly claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to Your Excellency’s person at all seasonable times, and that their proceedings may receive from Your Excellency the most favourable construction.[226]

The Speaker of the Senate, on behalf of the Governor General, makes the traditional reply:

Mr./Madam Speaker,

I am commanded by His/Her Excellency the Governor General to declare to you that he/she freely confides in the duty and attachment of the House of Commons to Her Majesty’s Person and Government, and not doubting that their proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and prudence, he/she grants, and upon all occasions will recognize and allow, their constitutional privileges. I am commanded also to assure you that the Commons shall have ready access to His/Her Excellency upon all seasonable occasions and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from him/her the most favourable construction.[227]

A new Speaker always presents himself or herself to the Governor General; however, the claiming of privileges by the Speaker on behalf of the House takes place only at the opening of a Parliament and is not repeated in the event a new Speaker is elected before the end of the Parliament.[228]

Election of the Speaker During a Session

When a Speaker is to be elected during a session, the Members assemble in the House at the usual time for the start of the sitting. The Chair is taken either by the Speaker who has already indicated his or her intention to resign the office,[229] or, in the absence of the Speaker, by the Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole.[230] Because the office of Speaker is vacant, the Mace is not on the Table.[231] The Prime Minister informs the Members that the Governor General has given the House leave to elect a Speaker. The Chair Occupant then presides over the usual proceedings for the election of a Speaker. Once a successful candidate has been announced, the Speaker‑elect is escorted from his or her place and makes some brief remarks from the upper steps before taking the Chair for the first time. The Mace is then placed on the Table and the sitting is suspended for a few minutes pending the arrival of the Usher of the Black Rod. Once summoned, the House proceeds to the Senate Chamber where the Speaker presents himself or herself and receives the Governor General’s acknowledgement, in the traditional wording.[232] Upon its return from the Senate, the House proceeds to the business of the sitting.

Only 2 of the 34 Speakers elected since Confederation were elected during a session.[233] Both cases predate the current rules providing for the election of the Speaker by secret ballot. In 1899, Speaker Bain succeeded Speaker Edgar, the only Speaker to have died while in office, and presided over the House for the remainder of the Eighth Parliament, until 1901. Speaker Francis was elected during the Second Session of the Thirty‑Second Parliament (1984) to succeed Speaker Sauvé, who resigned to become Governor General. Speaker Bain and Speaker Francis presided over the House for the balance of the session and the Parliament in which they were elected.

Election of the Speaker at the Opening of a Second or Later Session Within a Parliament

When the House is to proceed to the election of a Speaker immediately at the opening of the second or subsequent session within a Parliament, the House meets for the opening of the session on the date fixed by proclamation. As for the election of a Speaker during a session, the Chair is taken either by the Speaker who has already indicated his or her intention to resign the office, or by the Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole, and the Mace is not on the Table. The Prime Minister is recognized and signifies the consent of the Governor General to proceed to the election of a new Speaker.[234] The House then goes through the usual proceedings for the election of a Speaker. The Speaker‑elect is escorted from his or her seat to the dais where he or she makes the usual remarks and acknowledgements and takes the Chair for the first time. The Mace is then placed on the Table. The sitting is normally adjourned at this point or shortly thereafter, and the presentation of the Speaker to the Governor General and the reading of the Speech from the Throne takes place the following day.[235]

The election of a Speaker on the opening day of the second or subsequent session of a Parliament has occurred six times since 1867.[236] Each time, the vacancy in the Speakership arose through resignation. In 1986, the most recent example, Speaker Bosley’s resignation took effect on the opening day of the Second Session of the Thirty‑Third Parliament, and Speaker Fraser then became the first to take the Chair under the new rules for the election of the Speaker by secret ballot.

In all six cases, the House met for the opening of the session on the date fixed by proclamation. In the five cases preceding 1986, the House was immediately summoned to the Senate and advised (as at the opening of a Parliament) that a Speaker must be chosen before the Speech from the Throne could be read.[237] On its return from the Senate, the House proceeded to the election of a Speaker; a Member was nominated by the Prime Minister, seconded by a leading Minister, and (with one exception[238]) after a brief intervention by the Leader of the Opposition, the person nominated was unanimously elected.

Campaigning for the Speakership

The rules for the election of the Speaker by secret ballot contain no provision for a nomination process and are silent on the matter of campaigning for the office.[239] The special procedure committee which recommended the secret‑ballot process sought to give control of the choice of Speaker to the House and its Members (away from what it called the “exclusive control” of the Prime Minister), noting that the Speaker belongs neither to the government nor to the opposition, but to the House.[240] Speaker Bosley, appearing before the committee in 1985, expressed reservations about the success of a secret‑ballot system should political‑style campaigning be resorted to.[241]

In each of the eight secret‑ballot elections held to date (1986, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008), campaign activity occurred but took place informally, outside the Chamber. Except for the brief introductory statements to the House for which provision was made in 2001, the rules do not permit debate during the election process.[242] In recent years, Members have noted the difficulty faced by those newly‑elected to the House who are called upon to choose a Speaker with little time or opportunity to become informed about all the candidates.[243] Prior to the election of the Speaker in 1994, some of the parties in the House organized caucus meetings to which individual candidates were invited.[244] Prior to the 1997 election, it was suggested that candidates should declare themselves and attend an all‑party question‑and‑answer session organized by one of the four opposition parties.[245] Similarly, all candidates’ meetings were held prior to the election of the Speaker in 2001.[246]

*   Tenure

A Speaker is elected as the first item of business at the start of each Parliament, and presides over the House for the life of the Parliament.[247] When the Parliament is dissolved, the Speaker is deemed to remain in office for administrative purposes until a new election takes place.[248] Should a vacancy in the Speakership occur during a Parliament, another Speaker must be elected forthwith;[249] no other business can come before the House until a new Speaker has been chosen.

A vacancy in the Speakership can arise through death or resignation of the office. Speaker Edgar (1896‑99) died while in office, in July 1899, during a session. Speaker Edgar had been away from the House for some time, due to indisposition. In his absence, the Chair was taken by the Deputy Speaker.[250] Speaker Edgar’s death was announced to the House on July 31, 1899, by the Prime Minister, who then moved a motion for the adjournment of the House. After a brief intervention by a Member of the opposition, the motion was adopted and the sitting was adjourned.[251] The next day, the House met at its usual time and immediately proceeded to elect a new Speaker.[252]

A vacancy in the Speakership may occur when the Speaker declares his or her intention to resign the office or if the House were to take action to remove a Speaker from office. It has also happened that the office of Speaker has been vacated when the incumbent accepted a position which necessitated the automatic relinquishing of his or her seat in the House.

On three occasions, vacancies in the Speakership arose after the Speaker gave written notice of his or her intention to resign. The resignations were those of Speaker Black in 1935, Speaker Sauvé in 1984 and Speaker Bosley in 1986.

The resignation of Speaker Black (1930‑35) as Speaker was tendered in a letter to the Prime Minister dated January 15, 1935, during a prorogation. This was announced to the House by the Prime Minister when the House reconvened on January 17, the date set for the opening of the session. The House then proceeded to elect a new Speaker.[253]

Speaker Sauvé (1980‑84), having been designated to become Governor General of Canada, resigned as a Member and as Speaker by letter to the Clerk of the House dated January 6, 1984. The letter stated that her resignation would take effect as of midnight, January 15, 1984. The House, which had adjourned on December 21, reconvened on January 16, and the Clerk read the letter. The House then proceeded to the election of Speaker Francis.[254]

Speaker Bosley (1984‑86) resigned the Speakership in 1986. His concern about the “erosion of public respect for Parliament” was known, and it was his opinion that he could best contribute to the reform of the institution as a private Member, giving the House an “unfettered” choice of Speaker by the new secret‑ballot process.[255] He wrote to the Clerk on September 5, 1986, while Parliament was prorogued, tendering his resignation to take effect upon the election of a successor on the date set by proclamation for the opening of the new session. When the House met on September 30, the Speaker tabled copies of the correspondence and expressed his acknowledgements to the House for the honour of having served as its Speaker. Then, pursuant to the Standing Orders, he presided over the election by secret ballot of Speaker Fraser.[256]

In three instances, Speakers accepted other positions, by virtue of which their seats in the House (and thus the Speakership) were relinquished. Speaker Brodeur (1901‑04) and Speaker Sévigny (1916‑17) were appointed to Cabinet[257] and Speaker Sproule (1911‑15) was appointed to the Senate.[258] In each case, the appointment took effect during the interval between two sessions and, therefore, no formal indication of intent to resign was communicated to the House. On those occasions, when the House reconvened, it met without a Speaker. The letter informing the House of the Deputy Governor General’s arrival for the opening of the new session, normally read by the Speaker, was instead read by the Clerk. Later, when in accordance with usual practice, the Clerk announced the list of electoral districts for which notifications of vacancy had been received, among them were those of Speaker Brodeur in 1904,[259] Speaker Sproule in 1916,[260] and Speaker Sévigny in 1917.[261]

There is also the unusual example of Speaker Anglin, who was twice elected Speaker in the course of the Third Parliament (1874‑78). First elected at the opening of Parliament in 1874, he vacated his seat in the House during the intersession.[262] A by‑election was held, in which Mr. Anglin was re‑elected. Thus, when the new session opened on February 7, 1878, the House was informed both of the vacancy in the riding held by the former Speaker, and of his re‑election to the House.[263] He was again nominated for the Speakership, and re‑elected.[264]

Few examples exist in Canada of the resignation of a Speaker following directly from the action of a legislative body to effect his or her removal.[265] In 1875, in the House of Assembly of the province of Nova Scotia, a motion was moved which proposed that the Speaker’s resignation be requested and that a new Speaker be elected.[266] The motion was adopted on a recorded division, and the House then adjourned to the following day when, as the first item of business, the Speaker rose, tendered his resignation and left the Chair.[267] The House then adopted a motion, moved by a member of the Cabinet, that the resignation be accepted and that a committee of Ministers be struck to inform the Lieutenant Governor that the House was without a Speaker.[268] When the House next met, the Committee reported that it had communicated with the Lieutenant Governor; a new Speaker was elected forthwith.[269]

In July 1956, in the House of Commons, Speaker Beaudoin (1953‑57) offered his resignation, but this offer was not taken up by the House. This occurred on the heels of the political controversy and procedural disputes of what has since become known as the Pipeline Debate.[270] During the consideration of the pipeline Bill, numerous points of order were raised and the Chair faced many challenges. There were 25 appeals from rulings of the Chair (allowed under the rules in effect at that time), all of which were sustained.[271] A motion of censure against the Speaker (a rare occurrence) was moved and defeated.[272] Three weeks after passage of the Bill by the House, a question of privilege was raised which called into question the Speaker’s impartiality.[273] On July 2, at the opening of the sitting, the Speaker made a statement and placed his resignation before the House to take effect at the pleasure of the House.[274] However, no resolution of the House was forthcoming and no objection was registered when the Speaker continued to fulfil his official duties. Speaker Beaudoin served for the balance of the Twenty‑Second Parliament.

In March 2000, a motion of censure imputing bias to the Speaker in respect of a ruling on a question of privilege was introduced in the House.[275] The ruling had been in response to allegations that privileged communications between Members and the Office of the Legislative Counsel had been inappropriately disclosed. Debate on the motion was twice circumvented by means of government motions to proceed immediately to Orders of the Day. Consultations among the House Leaders led ultimately to the withdrawal of the motion of censure and to the adoption, after debate, of a motion referring the issue of confidentiality to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.[276]

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[1] Earlier Presiding Officers were called “parlour”, “prolocutor” and “procurator” (Wilding, N. and Laundy, P., An Encyclopaedia of Parliament, 4th ed., London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1972, p. 707).

[2] May, T.E., Erskine May’s Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, 23rd ed., edited by Sir W. McKay, London: LexisNexis UK, 2004, p. 13.

[3] The task of communicating the resolutions of the Commons to the King was not an enviable one. At least nine Speakers are known to have died violently―four during the stormy period of the Wars of the Roses (mid‑fifteenth century) (Laundy, P., The Office of Speaker in the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, London: Quiller Press, 1984, pp. 19‑20).

[4] This is exemplified by the remark of Speaker Finch, in 1629, to an angry House which did not wish to comply with a royal command to adjourn: “I am not less the King’s servant for being yours!” (Laundy, p. 31).

[5] Laundy, p. 34.

[6] Laundy, pp. 68‑71.

[7] In Canadian practice, a retiring Speaker is not guaranteed a position or posting. In recent years, Speakers Lamoureux (1966‑74) and Francis (1984) were appointed Ambassadors; Speaker Michener (1957‑62) was appointed High Commissioner to India and, in 1967, was named Governor General; Speaker Macnaughton (1963‑66) was appointed to the Senate; Speaker Sauvé (1980‑84) was named Governor General; Speaker Jerome (1974‑80) was appointed a Judge to the Federal Court; Speaker Bosley (1984‑86) continued as a private Member; Speaker Fraser (1986‑94) was appointed Ambassador at Large with Special Responsibility for the Environment; and Speaker Parent (1994‑2001) was appointed Canada’s Ambassador for the Environment and Sustainable Development.

[8] See next section, “Governing Provisions”.

[9] For a description of this process, see Redlich, J., The Procedure of the House of Commons: A Study of its History and Present Form, Vol. I, translated by A.E. Steinthal, New York: AMS Press, 1969 (reprint of 1908 ed.), pp. 52‑72.

[10] See Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”.

[11] An example is the recurring proposal for the establishment of a special constituency for the Speaker, designated as Parliament Hill, with the electorate being the Members of the House of Commons. A private Member’s bill with this objective was introduced on October 20, 1970 (Journals, p. 40) and debated on October 29, 1971 (Debates, pp. 9186‑92). See also the Fourth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, presented to the House on December 3, 1982 (Journals, p. 5420) and paragraph 11 of the First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, presented to the House on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211).

[12] Seven Speakers have served in two Parliaments: Cockburn (1867‑74), Anglin (1874‑79), Rhodes (1917‑22), Michener (1957‑62), Jerome (1974‑80), Fraser (1986‑94) and Parent (1994‑2001). See Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”.

[13] Speaker Jerome (1974‑80), a Liberal, elected to a second term to serve as Speaker during the Progressive Conservative minority government of Prime Minister Clark in 1979, was the first of only two Speakers to be elected from opposition parties. The second was Speaker Milliken, also a Liberal, elected to a third term in 2006, during the first Conservative minority government of Prime Minister Harper and to a fourth term in 2008 during the second Harper minority government.

[14] Precedence (the right to precede others) in ceremonies and matters of protocol is governed by the Table of Precedence for Canada, which is maintained by the Department of Canadian Heritage. It is published in the Canadian Parliamentary Guide and is posted on the Department’s Web site.

[15] Order in Council approved on December 19, 1968.

[16] See the Salaries Act (R.S. 1985, c. S‑3, s. 4.1) for salaries of Cabinet Ministers and the Parliament of Canada Act (R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 62.1) for the Speaker’s salary.

[17] Journals, June 11, 1965, p. 224.

[18] Standing Orders 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

[19] Standing Orders 7 and 8. Corresponding motions for appointment are no longer subject to debate or amendment.

[20] R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, ss. 44‑7 and 49.

[21] R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, ss. 13(1), 23(2), 25(1), 28, 42‑4, 50‑3, 60, 70(2) and (3) and 74.

[22] R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, ss. 42 and 43.

[23] R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 53.

[24] R.S. 1985, c. E‑3, s. 6.

[25] R.S. 1985, 2nd Supp., c. 6, ss. 5 and 6.

[26] R.S. 1985, 4th Supp., c. 31, s. 49(4).

[27] For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Tabling of Documents”.

[28] For further information and examples, see the section on statutory debates in Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[29] See, for example, Standing Orders 9 to 14 and 19. For examples of administrative responsibilities set out in the Standing Orders, see Standing Orders 107, 121 and 148 to 159.

[30] Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 143‑4.

[31] Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 149‑50. See also Speaker Fraser’s ruling, Debates, April 14, 1987, pp. 5119‑24.

[32] See, for example, Debates, May 3, 1990, pp. 10941‑2; October 25, 1995, pp. 15812‑3; February 25, 2003, pp. 3986‑7; October 16, 2006, p. 3815.

[33] Parliamentary privilege is the “sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively as a constituent part of the High Court of Parliament, and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals” (May, 23rd ed., p. 75). See also Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.

[34] See, for example, Debates of the Senate, April 4, 2006, p. 3.

[35] Bourinot, Sir J.G., Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada, 4th ed., edited by T.B. Flint, Toronto: Canada Law Book Company, 1916, pp. 49‑50. See later sections in this chapter for information on the election of the Speaker during the course of a Parliament.

[36] See paragraph 3 of the First Report of the Special Committee on the Rights and Immunities of Members, presented to the House on April 29, 1977 (Journals, pp. 720‑9).

[37] For further information, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[38] Speaker Fraser observed that there can be no freedom of speech without order in the House (Debates, March 24, 1993, pp. 17486‑8).

[39] Prima facie means “at first sight” or “on the face of it”. Maingot offers the following definition: “A prima facie case of privilege in the parliamentary sense is one where the evidence on its face as outlined by the Member is sufficiently strong for the House to be asked to debate the matter and to send it to a committee to investigate whether the privileges of the House have been breached or a contempt has occurred and report to the House” (Maingot, J.P.J., Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, 2nd ed., Montreal: House of Commons and McGill‑Queen’s University Press, 1997, p. 221).

[40] Maingot, 2nd ed., p. 220.

[41] Standing Order 48(1). The wording of the rule is unchanged since Confederation. For further information on the role of the Speaker in deciding on a question of privilege, see Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.

[42] Standing Order 10. For further information on matters of order and decorum, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[43] Standing Order 10.

[44] See, for example, Debates, May 12, 2006, p. 1300.

[45] Standing Order 19. See, for example, Debates, October 2, 2006, p. 3496.

[46] See, for example, Debates, October 29, 1986, p. 864; October 6, 2006, p. 3770.

[47] See, for example, Journals, March 28, 1916, pp. 201‑2; June 1, 1956, pp. 678‑9; Debates, May 13, 1999, pp. 15108‑9; February 14, 2001, p. 700.

[48] See, for example, Debates, March 21, 2001, p. 1991, for Speaker Milliken’s statement explaining the selection process for report stage motions.

[49] Standing Order 11(2).

[50] See, for example, Debates, September 26, 1996, p. 4715; June 22, 2006, p. 2817.

[51] See, for example, Debates, April 22, 1997, pp. 10103, 10106; September 25, 2006, pp. 3195‑6.

[52] See, for example, Debates, October 26, 1998, p. 9396; June 9, 2006, p. 2196.

[53] See, for example, Debates, October 19, 2006, p. 4009.

[54] See, for example, Debates, November 27, 2002, p. 1949.

[55] On one occasion, a Deputy Speaker responded to disruptive behaviour during a recorded division by warning that he was quite prepared to strike the votes of any offending Member from the record (Debates, March 30, 2000, p. 5443).

[56] Standing Order 11(1).

[57] Standing Order 11(1)(a). See, for example, Journals, April 5, 2000, p. 1551; December 6, 2002, p. 272. For further information on naming, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[58] Standing Order 11(2). See, for example, Debates, March 16, 1962, pp. 1888‑90.

[59] For further information on naming in a Committee of the Whole, see Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”.

[60] Parliament of Canada Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 44. For instances of Members being named by the Deputy Speaker, see Debates, May 20, 1983, pp. 25628‑31; December 6, 2002, pp. 2379‑80. For examples of Members being named by the Acting Speaker, see Debates, March 24, 1983, pp. 24109‑10; May 25, 1984, pp. 4078‑9.

[61] Standing Order 14.

[62] See, for example, Debates, May 11, 1970, p. 6796. On this occasion, the Speaker ordered the galleries cleared and then obtained the agreement of the House to suspend the sitting, which resumed 34 minutes later. On another occasion, by order of the Speaker, the galleries were entirely cleared and reopened to the public within 10 minutes (Debates, November 28, 1989, pp. 6339, 6342‑3). In other cases when a disturbance arises, the security staff on duty in the galleries proceed to remove the individual responsible and there is little or no disruption of the sitting. See, for example, Debates, May 7, 1974, p. 2114; April 14, 1986, p. 12188; November 26, 1992, p. 14108.

[63] See, for example, Debates, May 10, 1899, col. 2897; September 12, 1983, p. 26987; November 17, 1992, p. 13501.

[64] See the section on secret sittings of the House in Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.

[65] Standing Order 14. In 1990, Nelson Riis (Kamloops) attempted to move the motion but was ruled out of order on the grounds that the motion cannot be moved by a Member who has been given the floor on a point of order (Debates, April 4, 1990, pp. 10186‑7). For further information on this rule, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[66] Traditionally, and in accordance with Standing Orders 157(2) and 158, the Sergeant‑at‑Arms is responsible for preserving order and decorum in the galleries and other parts of the House and for removing strangers who “misconduct” themselves. For further information on the role of the Sergeant‑at‑Arms, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[67] Standing Order 10.

[68] See 1867 rule 8, and 1962 rule 12(1).

[69] See, for example, Debates, May 20, 1868, p. 750; Journals, March 24, 1873, pp. 58‑9. Although Members were sometimes openly critical of a ruling, few formal challenges were made. See the comments of Sir John A. Macdonald, Debates, March 5, 1877, p. 485.

[70] Between 1907 and 1917, for example, six appeals took place (Journals, April 3, 1907, p. 381; April 6, 1910, pp. 418‑20; May 12, 1913, pp. 576‑7; March 25, 1914, pp. 301‑2; May 10, 1916, pp. 353‑5; September 8, 1917, pp. 639‑40, 641).

[71] See entries in the Journals indexes under the heading “Speaker’s Rulings and Statements”.

[72] During the spring months of 1956, the government was seeking to obtain passage of Bill No. 298, An Act to establish the Northern Ontario Pipe Line Crown Corporation. The opposition did not favour the Bill and, for the first time in 24 years, closure was invoked; moreover, it was applied to each stage in the passage of the Bill. Debate was acrimonious and punctuated by procedural argument. For text of the rulings and votes on the appeals, see Journals for 1956 as follows: March 21, pp. 323‑8; May 10, pp. 517‑23; May 14, pp. 536‑43; May 15, pp. 554‑7; May 17, pp. 568‑70; May 23, pp. 602‑4, 604‑9; May 25, pp. 628‑32; May 31, pp. 662‑9; June 1, pp. 675‑7; June 5, pp. 705‑10.

[73] See Journals indexes for this period.

[74] Journals, June 11, 1965, p. 224.

[75] Debates, June 8, 1965, p. 2140.

[76] Journals, March 24, 1873, pp. 58‑9.

[77] Journals, June 25, 1926, p. 477; January 31, 1963, pp. 462‑3 (two rulings); October 28, 1963, p. 493.

[78] Journals, December 4, 1963, pp. 621‑2.

[79] See, for example, Debates, February 2, 1999, p. 11292; March 27, 2001, pp. 2311‑2.

[80] Speakers will, on occasion, intervene to clarify statements made on the floor of the House which might be interpreted as impugning the impartiality of the Chair. See, for example, Debates, April 28, 2003, p. 5483.

[81] In June 1956, during the “Pipeline Debate”, Speaker Beaudoin ruled to revert the House to a position it had been in 24 hours earlier. On June 4, the Leader of the Opposition moved a motion of censure against the Speaker for his actions and rulings of June 1. The motion was defeated on June 8, 1956. See Debates, June 1, 1956, pp. 4537‑40; Journals, June 4, 1956, pp. 692‑3; June 8, 1956, pp. 725‑6.

On March 13, 2000, the leader of the Bloc Québécois gave notice of a motion of non‑confidence in Speaker Gilbert Parent for a ruling on a question of privilege raised by another Member and for rejecting a point of order raised by a third Member, both in connection with alleged breaches of the confidentiality of the work of the office of the Legislative Counsel. The motion was subsequently withdrawn pursuant to an agreement to refer the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (Debates, March 13, 2000, p. 4397).

[82] On March 13, 1964, the Prime Minister moved, without notice, a motion calling for Canadian peacekeeping forces to be sent to Cyprus. Even though the motion appeared to have the general support of the House, some opposition Members objected to the fact that no notice of motion had been given. Stating that the Prime Minister had in fact obtained the proper “permission”, Deputy Speaker Lamoureux dismissed the objections and directed the House to consider the motion in question. On March 18, 1964, a Member introduced a motion of non‑confidence in the Deputy Speaker, alleging that he had violated the Standing Orders and deprived certain Members of their rights and privileges. The motion was put to a vote on March 19, 1964, and was rejected (Debates, March 13, 1964, pp. 910‑26; Journals, March 18, 1964, pp. 103‑4; March 19, 1964, pp. 106‑7).

On May 4, 1992, a Member gave notice of a motion of non‑confidence (under the heading “Motions” and printed in the Order Paper and Notice Paper of May 4, 1992) in the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole and Acting Speaker (Steve Paproski) for not allowing, on April 30, 1992, full time for debate on a bill. The debate gave rise to a question of privilege on May 1, 1992. The Speaker found that there was “no prima facie case of privilege in this matter” (Debates, April 30, 1992, p. 9945; May 1, 1992, pp. 9963‑72, 9990‑1). On February 12, 1993, at the request of the Member who had sponsored it, the motion of non‑confidence was withdrawn (Debates, February 12, 1993, p. 15851).

[83] Journals, April 25, 1894, pp. 108‑9.

[84] Journals, December 22, 1976, p. 270.

[85] Debates, January 21, 1981, p. 6410; January 22, 1981, pp. 6455‑7.

[86] Debates, March 16, 1993, p. 17027; March 23, 1993, pp. 17403‑5; March 25, 1993, p. 17537.

[87] Order Paper and Notice Paper, March 5, 1996, p. 15; Journals, October 23, 1996, p. 768.

[88] Debates, March 9, 1998, pp. 4560‑75; March 10, 1998, pp. 4592‑8, 4666‑8. See also the Twenty‑Ninth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on April 27, 1998 (Journals, p. 706) and adopted on May 5, 1998 (Journals, pp. 744‑5).

[89] Speakers have occasionally brought constituency‑related business before the House by arranging to have other Members act as their agents. See, for example, Debates, February 16, 2005, p. 3573.

[90] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 49; Standing Order 9. For further information, see the section in this chapter entitled “Casting Vote”.

[91] Standing Order 53.1 permits the Speaker to preside over take‑note debates which are conducted in accordance with rules similar to those governing proceedings in a Committee of the Whole.

[92] Speaker Anglin (1874‑78), for example, was an active participant during proceedings in a Committee of the Whole. See, for example, Debates, April 26, 1878, p. 2216; May 3, 1878, pp. 2402‑3.

[93] Debates, April 7, 1927, pp. 2034‑8.

[94] The last to do so was Speaker Macnaughton on November 27, 1964 (Debates, pp. 10623‑9).

[95] See, for example, the appearances of Speaker Milliken before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in connection with the Estimates of the House of Commons, on April 30, 2002; April 1, 2004; May 11, 2006; April 17, 2007; April 24, 2007.

[96] For example, Speaker Bosley (1984‑86) appeared before the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons on January 22, 1985; Speaker Fraser (1986‑94) appeared before the Standing Committee on Elections, Privileges, Procedure and Private Members’ Business on November 29, 1989, and before the Special Committee on the Review of the Parliament of Canada Act on September 25, 1990. Speaker Jerome (1974‑80) chaired the Special Committee on the Rights and Immunities of Members (1976‑77) and the Special Committee on TV and Radio Broadcasting of Proceedings of the House and Its Committees (1977‑78).

[97] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 49; Standing Order 9. In contrast to this, the Rules of the Senate provide that “when the voices are equal the decision shall be deemed to be in the negative” (Rule 65(5)). In this regard, it should be noted that the Speaker of the Senate may participate in any vote taken in the Senate and customarily does so before the other Senators. Similarly, in some Commonwealth Parliaments (e.g., that of New Zealand), there is no longer a casting vote vested in the Speaker, and in the event of an equality of voices, the motion simply fails to carry (McGee, D., Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, 3rd ed., Wellington: Dunmore Publishing Ltd., 2005, p. 212).

[98] An equality of voices is a rarity, having occurred on just seven occasions in the House: May 6, 1870 (Journals, p. 311, Debates, cols. 1401‑2); February 28, 1889 (Journals, pp. 113‑4, Debates, p. 368); March 31, 1925 (Journals, pp. 180‑2, Debates, pp. 1714‑5); December 4, 1963 (Journals, pp. 621‑2, Debates, pp. 5405‑6); September 16, 2003 (Journals, pp. 972‑3, Debates, pp. 7436‑7); May 4, 2005 (Journals, pp. 701‑2, Debates, pp. 5674‑5); May 19, 2005 (Journals, pp. 783‑4, Debates, pp. 6259‑60) and on four occasions in a Committee of the Whole: Debates, June 20, 1904, col. 5164; April 15, 1920, p. 1265; June 23, 1922, p. 3473; March 26, 1928, p. 1681.

[99] For an elaboration of these conventions in the British context, see May, 23rd ed., pp. 413‑7.

[100] Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, August 19, 1863, p. 33. See also Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 384.

[101] If adopted, the hoist amendment has for effect the rejection of the bill. See Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”.

[102] Debates, May 6, 1870, col. 1401; in this case, no reasons were entered in the Journals.

[103] Debates, February 28, 1899, p. 368.

[104] See, for example, Journals, September 16, 2003, p. 973; May 4, 2005, p. 702; May 19, 2005, p. 784.

[105] Debates, March 11, 1930, pp. 502‑3; March 12, 1930, p. 527; June 22, 2005, pp. 7645‑6; June 23, 2005, pp. 7694‑6. In 1930, the casting vote was not noted in the Journals. See Journals, March 11, 1930, pp. 83‑4. The disposition of the motion was not changed as it had in fact been defeated by one vote before the Speaker cast his vote with the “nays”. In 2005, the disposition of the motion was reversed and the correction duly noted in the Journals. See Journals, June 23, 2005, p. 976.

[106] Journals, December 4, 1963, pp. 621‑2.

[107] A quorum of 20 Members, including the Speaker, is required for the House to conduct business (Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 48; Standing Order 29(1)). For further information on quorum, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.

[108] Parliament of Canada Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 43(1); Standing Order 8. See, for example, Journals, November 19, 2004, p. 235; June 9, 2006, p. 255.

[109] For further information, see Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

[110] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 334. See also Debates, May 20, 1986, p. 13443; May 5, 1994, p. 3925. For further information, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[111] Standing Order 10. See the section above entitled “Order and Decorum” and also Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.

[112] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 178.

[113] Standing Order 10.

[114] Standing Order 1. For further information on the rule and practice pertaining to unprovided cases, see Chapter 5, “Parliamentary Procedure”.

[115] Standing Order 13.

[116] Journals, December 20, 1867, pp. 115‑25.

[117] See, for example, Debates, December 9, 1968, pp. 3639‑43; Journals, December 10, 1968, pp. 511‑3; July 24, 1969, pp. 1398‑9; Debates, March 3, 2000, pp. 4327‑35, 4349; June 12, 2001, pp. 5027‑31.

[118] Standing Orders 76(5) and 76.1(5). The text of these rules includes guidelines for the Speaker on the selection of amendments. See also Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”.

[119] Standing Order 81(14)(b). See also Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[120] Standing Order 94(1)(a). For further information, see Chapter 21, “Private Members’ Business”.

[121] Standing Order 94(1)(a).

[122] Standing Order 94(2)(a).

[123] Standing Order 86(4).

[124] For further information, see Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”.

[125] Standing Order 146(1).

[126] Standing Order 146(4).

[127] Typically, this is done during Routine Proceedings under the rubric “Tabling of Documents”. See, for example, Journals, June 22, 2006, p. 343; September 28, 2006, p. 469. The Speaker has also tabled documents immediately prior to Statements by Members. See, for example, Debates, September 26, 1996, p. 4740; May 16, 2006, p. 1439.

[128] See, for example, Journals, September 18, 2006, pp. 369‑70.

[129] Standing Order 32(5). For further information on the tabling of documents, see Chapter 10, “The Daily Program”.

[130] Standing Order 148(1). See, for example, Journals, May 5, 2006, p. 136.

[131] The rule requires the Speaker to table, within 10 days of the opening of a session, a report of the Board’s proceedings for the previous session; the practice of more frequent tablings throughout the session began in the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament (Debates, February 17, 1994, p. 1507).

[132] Standing Order 148(2). See, for example, Journals, May 5, 2006, p. 136.

[133] R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 52.5(2) and (3). See, for example, Journals, June 21, 2006, p. 341.

[134] Standing Order 28(2)(b). See, for example, Journals, September 28, 2006, p. 469.

[135] They are the Auditor General, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Information Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner and the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

[136] Auditor General Act, R.S. 1985, c. A‑17, ss. 7(3), 8(2) and 19(2); Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, s. 534; Official Languages Act, R.S. 1985, 4th Supp., c. 31, ss. 65(3), 66, 67(1) and 69(1); Access to Information Act, R.S. 1985, c. A‑1, ss. 38, 39(1) and 40; Privacy Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑21, ss. 38, 39(1) and 40(1); Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S. 1985, c. H‑6, s. 61.

[137] Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, R.S. 1985, c. E‑3, s. 21; R.S. 1985, c. 6 (2nd Supp.), s. 5. See, for example, Journals, February 24, 2003, p. 451; March 26, 2003, p. 569. The legislation provides an alternative course for the Speaker, should a report arrive during an intersession. For further information on the role of the House of Commons in the redistribution process, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[138] Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9, ss. 531(3) and (4), 532(3) and (4). For further information on contested elections, see Chapter 4, “The House of Commons and Its Members”.

[139] Standing Order 52(4). For further information on emergency debates, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[140] Standing Order 52(9). For example, an application was made on Friday, November 27, 1998. The Speaker granted it and ruled that the debate would take place on Monday, November 30 at 8:00 p.m. (Journals, November 27, 1998, p. 1323).

[141] Standing Order 52(12).

[142] Standing Order 52(15).

[143] Standing Order 28(3).

[144] Standing Order 55(1). For further information on recall of the House and publication of a Special Order Paper, see Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”, and Chapter 12, “The Process of Debate”.

[145] The original notice for recall was given on June 26, 1992, for the House to meet on July 15, 1992; the notice of cancellation was issued on July 11 and tabled when the House met on September 8, at which time the Speaker made a statement to the House (Journals, September 8, 1992, p. 1924, Debates, p. 12709).

[146] For further information on parliamentary publications, see Chapter 24, “The Parliamentary Record”.

[147] Standing Orders 112 and 113. It should be noted that due to fluctuations in the use of legislative committees since 1994, Panels of Chairs have not always been selected. For further information about legislative committees, see Chapter 20, “Committees”.

[148] Standing Order 112.

[149] Standing Order 113(2). On one occasion, the Speaker was relieved of this duty when the Chair of a legislative committee was designated in the motion to appoint the committee (Debates, October 26, 2007, p. 459).

[150] Standing Order 53.1.

[151] See Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[152] Maingot, 2nd ed., pp. 183‑5.

[153] R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 52.3. For further information on the Board of Internal Economy, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[154] The Clerk of the House serves as Secretary to the Board of Internal Economy, as provided for in the Parliament of Canada Act. For further information on the role of the Clerk, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[155] Standing Order 151.

[156] See Chapter 18, “Financial Procedures”.

[157] Maingot, 2nd ed., p. 183.

[158] An incident in 1998 illustrates the authority of the Speaker over access to the precinct. On February 26, 1998, a Member’s employee, carrying a large flag, accosted a Member in the House of Commons foyer, and security staff intervened. The Speaker investigated the incident and the employee in question was required, for a minimum period of one year, to confine his activity in the Centre Block to the public entrance and the party offices on one floor of the building.

[159] Standing Orders 157 and 158. For further information on the role of the Sergeant-at-Arms, see Chapter 6, “The Physical and Administrative Setting”.

[160] See, for example, the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, presented to the House on September 21, 1973 (Journals, p. 567). See also the Speaker’s comments in Debates, November 30, 1979, pp. 1890‑2; May 19, 1989, pp. 1951‑3. For further information, see Chapter 3, “Privileges and Immunities”.

[161] Journals, November 27, 2007, p. 219, Debates, p. 1420.

[162] A question of privilege arose in 2006 with regard to control over the lowering of flags to half‑mast within the parliamentary precinct. The Speaker noted in his ruling that title to the buildings and land within the parliamentary precinct is in the name of Her Majesty in Right of Canada, and that the authority of the Speaker applies to the internal affairs of the House and is exercised only as necessary to enable Members to perform their parliamentary work without obstruction or interference. He concluded that the position of the flag is an external matter under the jurisdiction of the owner of the building (Debates, May 10, 2006, pp. 1188‑9).

[163] National Capital Act, R.S. 1985, c. N‑4, s. 10(1).

[164] National Capital Act, R.S 1985, c. N‑4, s. 10(2)(d).

[165] In 2004, the Speaker ruled that a prima facie breach of privilege had occurred when RCMP officers had interfered with the free movement of Members of the House of Commons within the Parliamentary Precinct during a visit by the President of the United States (Debates, December 1, 2004, pp. 2134‑7).

[166] An example would be messages to the House from the Senate. See, for example, Debates, November 6, 2001, p. 7043. For examples of the Speaker conveying resolutions from other legislatures, see Debates, May 9, 1980, p. 884; December 17, 1986, p. 2205.

[167] In the absence of the Speaker, the Presiding Officer for the sitting takes the Speaker’s place in the Parade. For further information on the Speaker’s Parade, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.

[168] For further information on the opening of a Parliament or a session, see Chapter 8, “The Parliamentary Cycle”.

[169] For further information on the Royal Assent ceremony, see Chapter 16, “The Legislative Process”.

[170] For further information on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, see Chapter 15, “Special Debates”.

[171] The associations are: Canada‑China Legislative Association; Canada‑France Interparliamentary Association; Canada‑Japan Interparliamentary Group; Canada‑United Kingdom Interparliamentary Association; Canada‑United States Interparliamentary Group; L’Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie; Canada‑Africa Parliamentary Association; Canada‑Europe Parliamentary Association; Canadian‑NATO Parliamentary Association; Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA); Interparliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA); and the Interparliamentary Union (IPU). The interparliamentary groups are the Canada‑Germany Interparliamentary Group, the Canada‑Ireland Interparliamentary Group, the Canada‑Israel Interparliamentary Group, and the Canada‑Italy Interparliamentary Group. 

[172] The Joint Interparliamentary Council, which is responsible for budget allocation among the associations, is presided over by Co‑Chairs from the two Houses and operates under the authority of the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the Speaker of the House of Commons. In addition to the Chairs, the membership currently includes two Senators and five Members of the House of Commons.

[173] Other Members who have attempted to direct the attention of the House to the presence of visitors have been ruled out of order. See, for example, Debates, February 6, 1992, p. 6550; March 15, 2001, pp. 1725‑6; March 21, 2001, p. 1985; November 21, 2007, pp. 1153, 1156. See also Speaker Milliken’s remarks in Debates, October 30, 2002, p. 1081.

[174] See, for example, Debates, October 5, 2006, p. 3718 (recognition following Question Period); April 25, 2006, p. 489 (recognition prior to Question Period); June 3, 1992, p. 11294 (recognition during Question Period).

[175] On one occasion, however, a group of World War II veterans seated in the Diplomatic Gallery was recognized by the Speaker (Debates, June 6, 1994, p. 4858).

[176] In 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2004, the House sat as a Committee of the Whole for ceremonies recognizing the national Olympic and Paralympic Teams of the 1996 Summer Games, the 1998 Winter Games, the 2002 Winter Games and the 2004 Summer Games, for which the athletes were brought onto the floor of the House (Journals, October 1, 1996, p. 699, Debates, pp. 4944‑6; Journals, April 22, 1998, p. 691, Debates, pp. 5959‑60; Journals, April 15, 2002, p. 1288, Debates, pp. 10393‑4; Journals, November 1, 2004, p. 173, Debates, pp. 1011‑2).

[177] For further information on joint addresses to Parliament, see Chapter 9, “Sittings of the House”.

[178] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 44.

[179] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 45.

[180] Standing Order 2(1) and (2).

[181] Of the 34 Speakers who have served the House since Confederation, 26 were first elected at the opening of a Parliament; another 2 (Edgar Nelson Rhodes and John Fraser) were each re‑elected at the opening of a subsequent Parliament, having first been elected in the course of the previous Parliament. See Appendix 2, “Speakers of the House of Commons Since 1867”.

[182] Standing Orders 2 and 6.

[183] Standing Order 2(3).

[184] Of the Speakers elected at the beginning of a Parliament (as opposed to those elected in the course of a session), the nominations of eight were seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, starting in 1953.

[185] For a typical example, see the election of Speaker Michener on October 14, 1957 (Journals, pp. 7‑8, Debates, pp. 1‑4). No more than one name was ever proposed at any election. Occasionally, there was opposition to the name put forward. For example, Speaker Anglin was elected on a recorded division in 1878 (Journals, February 7, 1878, pp. 9‑10). In 1936, Speaker Casgrain was elected “on division”—meaning it was not unanimous (Journals, February 6, 1936, p. 8). The House “divided” on the question, but no recorded vote was requested.

[186] Wilding and Laundy, pp. 706‑7. Laundy (pp. 14, 64) identifies Sir Richard Waldegrave as the founder of this tradition in 1381: “In all probability he anticipated a dispute between the King and the Commons which could result in embarrassment for himself. Little could he have known that in expressing his own genuine reluctance to serve as Speaker he was founding a tradition which was to endure for centuries, long after it had become completely meaningless”.

[187] This decision was in accordance with the Fourth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure (the Lefebvre Committee), presented to the House on December 3, 1982 (Journals, p. 5420); and with the First Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons (the McGrath Committee), presented to the House on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211). The proposed amendments to the Standing Orders were tabled in the House on June 27, 1985, and adopted the same day (Journals, pp. 910‑9).

[188] Journals, September 30, 1986, pp. 2‑8, Debates, pp. 1‑10.

[189] Journals, June 3, 1987, p. 1016. After the Standing Orders were reorganized and renumbered in 1988, the original Standing Order on the election of the Speaker was divided into the present Standing Orders 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

[190] Standing Order 3.1.

[191] See the Report of the Special Committee on the Modernization and Improvement of the Procedures of the House of Commons presented to the House on June 1, 2001 (Journals, p. 465) and concurred in on October 4, 2001 (Journals, pp. 691‑3). Since there was only one candidate for election as Speaker in October 2004, speeches by candidates were first heard at the commencement of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament on April 3, 2006 (Debates, pp. 1-3).

[192] The Usher of the Black Rod is an officer of the Senate whose responsibilities include delivering messages to the House of Commons when its Members’ attendance is required in the Senate Chamber by the Governor General or a Deputy of the Governor General (In November 1997, the title of the office was changed to “Usher of the Black Rod” from “Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod”. Debates of the Senate, November 6, 1997, pp. 333‑43).

[193] A Deputy to the Governor General is a person, usually a Justice of the Supreme Court, who exercises the powers of the Governor General on certain occasions.

[194] Standing Order 5.

[195] Standing Order 3.

[196] Standing Order 4(1).

[197] Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 2. In practice, the Clerk sends a written reminder of these provisions to all Members.

[198] This occurred in 1986; the Member who did so, John A. Fraser, was eventually elected Speaker.

[199] See Laundy, P., “Electing a Speaker―Canadian Style”, The Table, Vol. LV, 1987, pp. 42‑50. The author was a Clerk Assistant at the House of Commons at the time of the first secret‑ballot election of a Speaker.

[200] Standing Order 3(1)(a). Length of service is determined by reference to the Canada Gazette, which publishes the names of Members elected in the order in which the returns are received by the Chief Electoral Officer.

[201] Standing Order 3(1)(b).

[202] Standing Order 3(1)(c).

[203] Standing Order 3(2).

[204] Standing Order 4(3). See, for example, Debates, April 3, 2006, p. 1.

[205] See, for example, Debates, December 12, 1988, pp. 1‑2; January 17, 1994, p. 1. In 2004, the Member presiding invited all candidates “whose names are on the ballot and who do not wish to be considered for election to kindly rise and inform the Chair accordingly”. This resulted in the acclamation of Speaker Milliken (Debates, October 4, 2004, pp. 1‑2).

[206] Standing Order 3.1. See, for example, Debates, April 3, 2006, pp. 1‑3.

[207] Standing Order 4(2).

[208] Standing Order 4(4).

[209] Standing Order 4(5).

[210] Standing Order 4(6). Those assisting the Clerk in the ballot‑counting will have taken an oath of secrecy.

[211] Standing Order 4(7).

[212] Standing Order 4(8)(a).

[213] Standing Order 4(8)(b). In 1986 (the only election in which Members withdrew after the first ballot), three Members withdrew their names (Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 3).

[214] Standing Order 4(9). See, for example, Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 4. To date, this is the only instance of a withdrawal following the second or a later ballot.

[215] Standing Order 2(3). This occurred once: in 1986, the House met at 3:00 p.m., the election process concluded after 11 ballots and the House adjourned at 2:30 a.m.

[216] For the historical background to this practice, see Laundy, The Office of Speaker in the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, pp. 14, 64. In 2004 (following the election of Speaker Milliken by acclamation) the Speaker was escorted to the Chair by the Dean of the House (Debates, October 4, 2004, p. 2).

[217] See, for example, the remarks of Speaker Sutherland, the first to make his remarks in both official languages (Debates, January 11, 1905, cols. 3‑4); Speaker Lamoureux (Debates, January 18, 1966, pp. 5‑6); Speaker Fraser (Debates, September 30, 1986, pp. 7‑8); and Speaker Milliken (Debates, January 29, 2001, p. 4). This is a convention of the British Parliament as well, where in addition the Speaker‑elect must seek Royal approbation (May, 23rd ed., p. 281). Redlich describes the ancient custom of the Speaker‑elect making repeated and exaggerated declarations of unworthiness, which prevailed long before the modern, non‑partisan Speakership, when the office of Speaker was political and dependent on the Crown, and the attitude of its incumbent was characterized as “subservient” (Redlich, Vol. II, pp. 156‑8).

[218] This occurred in 1986, 1988, 1994, 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2008; in 1994, congratulatory remarks were also made by a private Member on behalf of the independent Members, by the Member who presided over the election, and by one other private Member (Debates, September 30, 1986, pp. 8‑10; December 12, 1988, pp. 5‑7; January 17, 1994, pp. 6‑7; January 29, 2001, pp. 5‑7; October 4, 2004, pp. 3‑5; April 3, 2006, pp. 5‑6; November 18, 2008, pp. 10‑1). In 1997, a Member sought the unanimous consent of the House to deem the Speaker unanimously elected, and it was granted (Journals, September 22, 1997, p. 9, Debates, p. 4).

[219] In 1963 and 1966, the Prime Minister briefly congratulated the newly‑elected Speaker (Macnaughton and Lamoureux, respectively) prior to making the usual suggestion for the suspension of the sitting (Debates, May 16, 1963, p. 5; January 18, 1966, p. 6). In 1874, after the election of Speaker Anglin, the Leader of the Opposition offered congratulations but went on to express misgivings about the government’s choice. In 1878, in speaking to the motion to elect Speaker Anglin (who had served as Speaker earlier in the same Parliament, resigned his seat and then was re‑elected), the Leader of the Opposition questioned the choice of the government and raised a lengthy argument―in which the Prime Minister and another Member intervened―as to the right of Mr. Anglin to take his seat in the House prior to the election of the Speaker (Debates, February 7, 1878, pp. 2‑11).

[220] Standing Order 2(3). For daily meeting and adjournment times, see Standing Order 24.

[221] Journals, September 30, 1986, pp. 8‑9.

[222] Journals, December 12, 1988, p. 3.

[223] Journals, January 17, 1994, p. 11; September 22, 1997, p. 9; January 29, 2001, p. 9; October 4, 2004, p. 9; April 3, 2006, p. 9; November 18, 2008, p. 10. In 2001, before the House adjourned, the Speaker recognized the presence in the gallery of Speakers of the provincial legislatures (Debates, January 29, 2001, p. 7).

[224] Standing Order 4(10).

[225] Debates, September 30, 1986, p. 2.

[226] See, for example, Debates of the Senate, April 4, 2006, p. 3.

[227] See, for example, Debates of the Senate, April 4, 2006, p. 3.

[228] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 49‑50. See, for example, the presentation of Speaker Francis, elected during the Second Session of the Thirty‑Second Parliament, and of Speaker Fraser, elected at the opening of the Second Session of the Thirty‑Third Parliament (Journals, January 16, 1984, pp. 72‑3; October 1, 1986, p. 12).

[229] Standing Order 3(1)(b).

[230] Standing Order 3(1)(c).

[231] In 1984, the Mace was on the Table and was moved beneath it after the Speaker’s letter of resignation had been read by the Clerk.

[232] No claim of privileges is made; this is done only at the beginning of a Parliament.

[233] For the election of Speaker Bain, see Journals, August 1, 1899, pp. 488‑9, Debates, cols. 9062‑4. For the election of Speaker Francis, see Journals, January 16, 1984, pp. 72‑3, Debates, pp. 421‑4.

[234] In 1986, when the Speaker was elected at the opening of the Second Session of the Thirty‑Third Parliament, the House met, prayers were read and, after some remarks by the outgoing Speaker who was to preside over the election of a successor, the Prime Minister was recognized (Debates, September 30, 1986, pp. 1‑10).

[235] In 1904, the Leader of the Opposition asked a question of the Prime Minister, and the sitting was then adjourned (Debates, March 10, 1904, cols. 1‑5). In 1916, a new Member took his seat after the Mace had been placed on the Table (Debates, January 12, 1916, pp. 1‑4); in other instances, this had occurred prior to the election of the Speaker (Debates, February 7, 1878, pp. 1‑2; March 10, 1904, cols. 1‑3). In 1917, the Speaker announced the appointment of a Deputy Sergeant‑at‑Arms, there were tributes to deceased Members, Orders in Council were tabled by the Prime Minister and a question asked of the Prime Minister before the sitting adjourned (Debates, January 18, 1917, pp. 1‑5). In 1935, when the Speech from the Throne was read later the same day, the Mace was placed on the Table and, immediately thereafter, the Speaker read the letter informing the House of the arrival of the Governor General in the Senate Chamber (Debates, January 17, 1935, pp. 1‑2).

[236] Speaker Anglin, who had earlier resigned his seat and the Speakership, was re‑elected in a by‑election and re‑elected Speaker at the opening of the Fifth Session of the Third Parliament (Journals, February 7, 1878, pp. 9‑10). Speaker Belcourt was elected at the opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament (Journals, March 10, 1904, p. 10). Speaker Sévigny was elected at the opening of the Sixth Session of the Twelfth Parliament (Journals, January 12, 1916, p. 6). Speaker Rhodes was elected at the opening of the Seventh Session of the Twelfth Parliament (Journals, January 18, 1917, pp. 6‑7). Speaker Bowman was elected at the opening of the Sixth Session of the Seventeenth Parliament (Journals, January 17, 1935, p. 2). Speaker Fraser was elected at the opening of the Second Session of the Thirty‑Third Parliament (Journals, September 30, 1986, pp. 2‑8).

[237] In 1878, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod arrived with a message from the Deputy Governor General for the immediate attendance of the House in the Senate Chamber. In 1904, 1916, 1917 and 1935, the arrival of the Black Rod was preceded by the Clerk reading a letter informing the House of the date and time of the Deputy Governor General’s arrival at the Senate for the opening of the session. For pre‑Confederation examples and British precedents, see Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 172‑3.

[238] In 1878, Speaker Anglin’s nomination was not supported by the opposition. He is the only Speaker whose election was the subject of a recorded vote (Debates, February 7, 1878, pp. 2‑12).

[239] All Members apart from party leaders and Cabinet Ministers are considered candidates, unless they take the prescribed action to remove themselves from consideration (Standing Orders 4(1) and 5).

[240] First Report of the Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, par. 8-16, presented to the House on December 20, 1984 (Journals, p. 211).

[241] The Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, January 22, 1985, pp. 3, 14‑7.

[242] Standing Orders 3.1 and 4(10). For further information on campaigning, see Danis, M., “The Speakership and Independence: A Tradition in the Making”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer 1987, pp. 17‑9; Holtby, J., “Secret ballot in the Canadian Commons elects new Speaker”, The Parliamentarian, Vol. LXVIII, No. 1, January 1987, pp. 36‑8; O’Brien, A., “Election of a Speaker by Secret Ballot: A Milestone for the House of Commons”, Canadian Parliamentary Review, Vol. 29, No. 3, Autumn 2006, pp. 27‑8. It has also been noted that because the 1986 election took place in the course of a Parliament, there was prior opportunity for the House membership to become acquainted with the individuals on the ballot.

[243] Debates, April 21, 1998, pp. 5867‑8, 5876. Following the general election of 1993, an unprecedented degree of turnover occurred, such that 205 of the 295 Members sent to the House of Commons were first‑time Members called upon to elect a Speaker.

[244] Press reports indicate that some candidates attended these sessions, and some did not. See, for example, Winkelaar, S., “MPs in contention for Speaker put under Reform microscope”, Times Colonist, January 15, 1994.

[245] Debates, April 21, 1998, pp. 5867‑8.

[246] Debates, January 29, 2001, p. 7.

[247] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, ss. 44 and 46.

[248] Parliament of Canada Act, R.S. 1985, c. P‑1, s. 53.

[249] Constitution Act, 1867, R.S. 1985, Appendix II, No. 5, s. 45.

[250] See, for example, Journals, July 13, 1899, p. 426.

[251] Debates, July 31, 1899, cols. 9060‑1.

[252] Journals, August 1, 1899, pp. 488‑9. See also the account in Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 171‑2.

[253] Journals, January 17, 1935, pp. 1‑2, Debates, p. 1. It was reported that ill health had forced the Speaker’s resignation. Mr. Black continued to sit as a private Member, but was later hospitalized and did not contest the general election of October 1935; he recovered and, in 1940, was elected to his old seat in the House of Commons, where he remained until 1949 (Levy, G., Speakers of the House of Commons, 4th ed., Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 1996, pp. 56‑7). See also “Vacancy in the Office of Presiding Officer”, The Table, Vol. XXIV, 1955, in particular pp. 31‑3.

[254] Journals, January 16, 1984, p. 72, Debates, p. 421.

[255] These views were expressed in letters written by the Speaker on September 5, 1986, to the leaders of the three recognized parties in the House.

[256] Journals, September 30, 1986, p. 2, Debates, p. 1. Former Speaker Bosley sat as a private Member until the end of the Thirty‑Fourth Parliament (1988‑93).

[257] Until 1931, Members who accepted certain positions in Cabinet were required, pursuant to sections of the Senate and House of Commons Act, to resign their seats and seek re‑election (Senate and House of Commons Act, R.S. 1927, c. 147, ss. 13 and 14). The Act (now called the Parliament of Canada Act) was amended to remove this requirement (R.S. 1930, c. 52, s. 1).

[258] Section 39 of the Constitution Act, 1867 provides that “A Senator shall not be capable of being elected or of sitting or voting as a Member of the House of Commons”.

[259] Journals, March 10, 1904, pp. 1‑2, 5. The notification of vacancy was dated January 19, 1904; Mr. Brodeur was then re‑elected in a by‑election and took his seat in the House as a Cabinet Minister on March 10, 1904 (Journals, p. 10).

[260] Journals, January 12, 1916, pp. 1‑2, 4. The notification of vacancy was dated December 3, 1915, the date of his appointment to the Senate (Journals of the Senate, January 12, 1916, pp. 1‑2).

[261] Journals, January 18, 1917, pp. 2, 6. The notification of vacancy was dated January 8, 1917. Mr. Sévigny was re‑elected in a by‑election and took his seat in the House as a Cabinet Minister on April 19, 1917 (Journals, p. 90).

[262] A notification of vacancy was submitted, dated June 5, 1877. Speaker Anglin was known to have had business dealings with the government of the day, and this became the subject of study by a privilege committee. On April 28, 1877, the last day of the session, the committee presented a report stating that, in its view, the Speaker was in violation of the Independence of Parliament Act and thus his election was void. (The Act provided that individuals could not be Members of the House of Commons if they held offices of emolument under the Government of Canada, or were contractors with the Government of Canada (31 Vict., c. 25, amended in 1871 by 34 Vict., c. 19). For background, see Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 140‑8.) The report was not considered by the House (Journals, April 28, 1877, p. 357. For the text of the report, see item No. 8 in the Appendix to the Journals for the Fourth Session of the Third Parliament).

[263] Journals, February 7, 1878, pp. 2, 5.

[264] This occurred over the objections of the opposition, who forced a recorded vote on the question (Journals, February 7, 1878, pp. 9‑10).

[265] On two occasions in the seventeenth century, the British House pronounced itself on the question of the continuance of its Speaker in the Chair. In 1673, a motion for the removal of Speaker Seymour was defeated (Hatsell, J., Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, Vol. II, South Hackensack, New Jersey: Rothman Reprints Inc., 1971 (reprint of 4th ed., 1818), pp. 214‑5). In 1694, a parliamentary committee found that Speaker Trevor had accepted a bribe, and he resigned after the House resolved that he was guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor (Laundy, The Office of Speaker in the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, pp. 39‑40).

[266] Province of Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, April 30, 1875, p. 109. There was a preamble to the motion which stated, first, that past Speakers had been selected on the basis of their parliamentary experience; second, that the incumbent had no parliamentary experience or previous training indicating fitness for the “onerous and sometimes technical” duties of Speaker; and third, that the “present state of things is not calculated to elevate the dignity and preserve the decorum of this Legislature”. See also the account in Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 177.

[267] Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, April 30, 1875, pp. 109‑10; May 1, 1875, p. 110.

[268] Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, May 1, 1875, pp. 110‑1.

[269] Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, May 3, 1875, pp. 111‑2.

[270] In May and June of that year, the government (having concluded an agreement to provide assistance on or before June 7 for the building of a pipeline) was seeking to obtain passage of Bill No. 298, An Act to establish the Northern Ontario Pipe Line Crown Corporation. The opposition did not favour the Bill and, for the first time in 24 years, closure was invoked; moreover, it was applied to each stage in the passage of the Bill. Debate was acrimonious and punctuated by procedural argument (for background and details, see Dubroy, J.G., “Canada: House of Commons: Relations between Chair and Opposition in 1956”, The Table, Vol. XXV, 1956, pp. 39‑53).

[271] Of the 25 appeals, 11 were from rulings of the Speaker and the remainder were from rulings of the Chair in a Committee of the Whole. Appeals from rulings of the Speaker were abolished in 1965.

[272] On June 1, 1956, which later became known as “Black Friday”, the Speaker ruled to revert the House to its position of the day before (with respect to its deliberations on the pipeline Bill); the ruling was sustained on appeal (Journals, June 1, 1956, pp. 678‑80). On Monday, June 4, the Leader of the Opposition moved a motion of censure against the Speaker (Journals, pp. 692‑3). The motion was defeated on June 8 (Journals, pp. 725‑6). See also Debates, June 4, 1956, pp. 4643‑60; June 6, 1956, pp. 4783‑6; June 7, 1956, pp. 4794‑831; June 8, 1956, pp. 4845‑70.

[273] On June 29, 1956, the Leader of the Opposition rose on a question of privilege to allege that the Speaker had improperly impugned the motives of certain Members; the allegation was based on extracts of private correspondence of the Speaker, which had been published in a newspaper (Debates, pp. 5509‑15).

[274] Journals, July 2, 1956, p. 838. For the full text of the Speaker’s remarks, see pp. 835‑8.

[275] Debates, March 13, 2000, p. 4397.

[276] Journals, March 16, 2000, pp. 1402‑3, Debates, pp. 4733‑9.

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