House of Commons Procedure and Practice

Second Edition, 2009

House of Commons Procedure and Practice - 10. The Daily Program - Daily Proceedings


Each of the three events in the Daily Proceedings—Prayers, Statements by Members and Oral Questions—is covered separately in the Standing Orders.

*   Prayers

Prior to the doors of the Chamber being opened to the public at the beginning of each sitting of the House, the Speaker takes the Chair and proceeds to read the prayer, after it has been determined that a quorum of 20 Members including the Chair Occupant is present, and before any business is considered.[4] While the prayer is being read, the Speaker, the Members and the Table Officers all stand. The prayer is by custom read partly in French and partly in English. When the prayer is finished, the House pauses for a moment of silence for private thought and reflection. At the end of the moment of silence, the Speaker orders the doors opened. At this point, television coverage of the proceedings commences and the public may enter the galleries.[5]

Historical Perspective

Although the practice of reading a prayer at the start of each sitting was not codified in the Standing Orders until 1927,[6] it has been part of the daily proceedings of the House since 1877. At that time, the House charged a committee to consider the desirability of using a form of prayer in the Chamber.[7] In its report, the committee recommended that the proceedings of the House should be opened each day with the reading of a prayer, and included therein a suggested form of prayer.[8] In a discussion that immediately followed the concurrence in the committee report, it was determined that the prayer would be read prior to the doors of the House being opened, as was the practice of the Senate of Canada and the British House of Commons.[9]

Much later, suggestions were made to rewrite or reword the prayer in a non‑sectarian form and to have the prayer read by a chaplain instead of the Speaker.[10] Recommendations have also been made to change the way the House takes up the prayer. Over the years, many Members have expressed the view that the public should be admitted before the prayer is read.[11] In 1976, the House adopted a motion recommending that the Standing Orders be changed in order to allow the public to enter the galleries before the prayer was read. However, the motion was worded as a recommendation, not as an Order, and provided no instruction for implementing the change. For that reason, the Speaker indicated that the practice of reciting the prayer prior to the admission of the public would continue until the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization considered the matter and reported to the House; however, no further action was taken on this matter.[12] There have been, nonetheless, rare instances when the public has heard the prayer.[13]

Until 1994, no major change to the form of the prayer[14] was made aside from references to royalty.[15] At that time, the House concurred in a report recommending a new form of prayer more reflective of the different religions embraced by Canadians.[16] This prayer was read for the first time when the House met to open its proceedings on February 21, 1994:[17]

Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as Members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as Members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen.

There has been no explicit pronouncement on when French and English are to be used in reading the prayer. When the reading of the prayer was first sanctioned in 1877, it was agreed that the prayer would be read in the language most familiar to the Speaker.[18] Two years later, Speaker Blanchet, the Commons’ first bilingual Speaker, inaugurated the practice of reading the prayer in French and English on alternate days.[19] From then until the 1970s, many Speakers, depending on their fluency in the two languages, followed this practice. Since then, some Speakers have alternated between the two languages, while others have used a bilingual version.

When the House convenes on the first day of a new Parliament or on any day when the House is to elect a Speaker, the prayer is read after a Speaker has been elected.[20] Indeed, at that time, the election of a Speaker must be the first order of business and has precedence over all other matters.[21] Only after a Speaker has been elected, is the House properly constituted to conduct its business.[22] After the House reconvenes following the election of the Speaker, the prayer is read before the House proceeds to the Senate to inform the Governor General of its choice.[23]

*   National Anthem

Although not provided for in the Standing Orders, it has become the practice for the House of Commons to sing the national anthem each Wednesday at the opening of the sitting. After the prayer has been read, but before the doors are opened to admit the public,[24] the Speaker recognizes a Member to lead the House in singing the national anthem.[25]

The practice of singing O Canada at the beginning of each Wednesday sitting began during the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament (1994‑97). Members had discussed the possibility of singing the national anthem in the House, and the matter was raised in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. In a report presented to the House on November 10, 1995, the Committee recommended that a Member lead the House in singing the national anthem at the beginning of each Wednesday sitting; later in the sitting, the House concurred in the Committee’s report.[26]

*   Statements by Members

The second activity under Daily Proceedings is Statements by Members. At 2:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 11:00 a.m. on Fridays, the Speaker calls Statements by Members.[27] Members who are not Ministers, when recognized by the Speaker, are permitted to address the House for up to one minute on virtually any matter of international, national, provincial or local concern.[28] This one‑minute time limit is rigorously enforced by the Speaker, and has on occasion left Members in mid-sentence.[29]

If Statements by Members begins promptly at 2:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m. on Fridays),[30] the entire 15 minutes provided for these proceedings is used; 15 Members at a minimum are typically recognized. If the start of these proceedings is delayed, the time is reduced accordingly and could even be entirely eliminated from that sitting. Question Period begins promptly at 2:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. on Fridays), regardless of whether or not a full 15 minutes has been allotted to Statements by Members. If not enough Members rise to use all the time provided for, then the Speaker would proceed to call Oral Questions, although there is no record of this having occurred.[31]

Historical Perspective

The procedures regarding Statements by Members came into force with the adoption of provisional rule changes in 1982.[32] However, what is now used to give Members an opportunity to make statements on issues of current interest had its genesis in another rule, which existed for the first 60 years of Confederation, allowing Members to seek the unanimous consent of the House to move a motion without notice.[33] In 1925, a special committee reported that “The unanimous consent of the House is usually granted with such readiness and so little opposition that in many cases motions are passed before the House has had time to understand them” and recommended that the rule be changed so that a satisfactory explanation could be given as to why notice should be waived.[34] In 1927, the House finally agreed to the recommendation that the Standing Orders be amended so that unanimous consent could be sought only “in case of urgent and pressing necessity previously explained by the mover”.[35] It was not until 1968 that this rule was invoked with any frequency when more and more Members began to rise daily under its provisions before Question Period, often in regard to cases where no “urgent and pressing necessity” appeared to exist.

This trend continued until 1975 when a further limitation was instituted whereby such motions could be moved only by Members not of the Ministry during a restricted time period before Oral Questions were called.[36] Nonetheless, throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, it became a common, though misused and often time‑consuming, feature of the proceedings of the House.[37] In 1982, a special procedure committee concluded that “the Standing Order is used for purposes for which it was never intended. It is also open to objection because the refusal of unanimous consent to waive notice can frequently be misunderstood as a declaration of opposition to a well‑intentioned motion”. The committee’s recommendation to abolish this Standing Order was endorsed by the House, which also adopted the committee’s proposal to institute a new Standing Order that “would enable Members to make statements on current issues on a daily basis during the first 15 minutes of the sitting”.[38] Originally, Members were allowed to speak for not more than 90 seconds; this rule was amended in 1986 when the time for each Member’s statement was reduced to not more than one minute.[39]


In presiding over the conduct of this daily activity, Speakers have been guided by a number of well‑defined prohibitions. In 1983, when the procedure for Statements by Members was first put in place, Speaker Sauvé stated that:[40]

*       all questions raised must be on matters of concern but do not necessarily have to be on matters of urgent necessity;

*       personal attacks are not permitted;[41] and

*       congratulatory messages, recitations of poetry and frivolous matters are out of order.

These guidelines are still in place today, although Speakers tend to turn a blind eye to the latter restriction.[42]

Since 1983, additional restrictions have been placed on these statements. The Speaker has cut off an individual statement and asked the Member to resume his or her seat when:

*       offensive language has been used;[43]

*       a Senator has been attacked;[44]

*       the actions of the Senate have been criticized;[45]

*       a ruling of a court has been denounced;[46]

*       the character of a judge has been attacked;[47] or

*       a song has been sung.[48]

The Speaker has also cautioned Members not to use this period to make defamatory comments about non‑Members,[49] nor to use the verbatim remarks of a private citizen as a starting point for a statement,[50] nor to make statements of a commercial nature.[51]

The opportunity to speak during Statements by Members is allocated to private Members of all parties. In according Members the opportunity to participate in this period, the Chair is guided by lists provided by the Whips of the various parties and attempts to recognize those Members supporting the government and those Members in opposition on an equitable basis.[52] While Ministers are not permitted to use this period to address the House, Parliamentary Secretaries may.[53] Leaders of parties in opposition have availed themselves of this rule.[54] Chair Occupants other than the Speaker, in their capacity as Members, have also made statements.[55]

Points of order arising from Statements by Members are normally dealt with after Question Period,[56] although in some cases, unparliamentary language is dealt with immediately.[57]

The Speaker retains discretion over the acceptability of each statement and has the authority to order a Member to resume his or her seat if improper use is being made of this Standing Order.[58] As Speaker Parent noted, however, in a 1996 ruling, “the Chair is often caught between respect for freedom of speech and the rapid delivery of 60‑second statements”.[59] It is often difficult for the Chair to determine the direction a Member is going to take and thus the acceptability or otherwise of the remarks before the Member completes the statement.

*   Oral Questions

The third event under the Daily Proceedings is Oral Questions. Each sitting day, following Statements by Members, at no later than 2:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. on Fridays), Question Period begins.[60] It lasts no longer than 45 minutes. At this time, Members may seek information from the Ministry by asking questions on matters falling within the jurisdiction of the federal government. Question Period is discussed extensively in Chapter 11, “Questions”.

Top of Page

[4] Standing Order 30(1). The reading of the prayer is considered the first stage of the proceedings of the House (Debates, February 19, 1877, p. 94). Objections have been raised in the House that the practice of reciting the prayer is in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response, the Speaker noted that it was not for the Chair to rule on the constitutionality of this practice or make any decision concerning the laws of the nation. The Speaker further stated that the jurisdiction of the Chair extended only to decisions concerning the procedural rules, and if any changes were contemplated regarding the practice of the prayer, it was a matter for the House and not the Chair to decide (Debates, June 19, 1990, pp. 12927‑9).

[5] Standing Order 30(2) states: “Not more than two minutes after the reading of prayers, the business of the House shall commence”. This excludes any private business that may have to be conducted in camera before the doors are opened to the public. This Standing Order came into force in 1975 and has not been amended since. See the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and Organization, par. 9, presented to the House on March 14, 1975 (Journals, p. 373), and concurred in on March 24, 1975 (Journals, p. 399). Although not recently, there have been occasions, following the prayer but before the public was allowed into the galleries, when the House has met in camera to discuss internal matters or matters of privilege (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, p. 219). See also Debates, February 19, 1877, p. 94. References to in camera discussions can be found in Debates, December 6, 1867, p. 199; December 19, 1867, p. 317; Journals, April 16, 1929, p. 245. See a related discussion in Debates, April 12, 1929, pp. 1508‑11.

[6] Journals, March 22, 1927, pp. 330, 333.

[7] Journals, February 13, 1877, p. 26. See also Debates, February 12, 1877, pp. 26‑8.

[8] Journals, February 19, 1877, p. 42.

[9] Debates, February 19, 1877, p. 94. Although not specified in the report, when two sittings occur on the same day, the prayer must be read at the opening of each (Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 216).

[10] Debates, November 12, 1957, p. 991; April 21, 1978, p. 4734; Tenth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, par. 16 and 17, presented to the House on September 30, 1983 (Journals, p. 6250); Third Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, par. 7.12, presented to the House on June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839).

[11] Debates, February 1, 1944, p. 65; Tenth Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, par. 15, presented to the House on September 30, 1983 (Journals, p. 6250); Third Report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, par. 7.12, presented to the House on June 18, 1985 (Journals, p. 839).

[12] Debates, November 9, 1976, p. 881; November 10, 1976, pp. 939‑40.

[13] On March 19, 1984, for example, the sitting was suspended and resumed the following day. That sitting ended at 11:30 a.m. on March 20 and was immediately followed by the opening of the next sitting. The public was in the galleries when the prayer was read since the galleries had remained opened (Debates, March 19, 1984, pp. 2219‑21; March 20, 1984, p. 2223). See also Debates, February 21, 1994, p. 1581, when the Speaker requested the “agreement” of the House to read the prayer in public.

[14] The text of the prayer was as follows:

O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit that she may always incline to thy will and walk in thy way; Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts: grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally, after this life, she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord—Amen.

Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Charles, Prince of Wales, and all the Royal Family: Endue them with thy Holy Spirit; enrich them with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper them with all happiness; and bring them to thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord—Amen.

Most gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the United Kingdom, Canada and Her Majesty’s other Realms and Territories, so especially for Canada, and herein more particularly for the Governor General, the Senate, and the House of Commons, in their legislative capacity at this time assembled; that thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the safety, honour, and welfare of our Sovereign and Her Realms and Territories, that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These, and all other necessaries for them, and us, we humbly beg in the name, and through the mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour—Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil—Amen.

A shorter version of the prayer was initiated by Speaker Sauvé in the early 1980s; there is no record of the change in the Journals or the Debates, nor is there any indication that objections were raised.

[15] For examples of the House being informed of changes in references to royalty, see Journals, March 22, 1957, p. 303; July 28, 1958, p. 311.

[16] On February 18, 1994, the House concurred in the Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which contained the text of the new prayer (Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, March 15, 1994, Issue No. 3, pp. 5, 12; Debates, February 18, 1994, pp. 1559‑60, 1563‑5).

[17] Debates, February 21, 1994, p. 1581.

[18] Debates, February 19, 1877, pp. 94‑6.

[19] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 215‑6.

[20] Bourinot, 4th ed., p. 216.

[21] Standing Order 2.

[22] Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 88‑9.

[23] See, for example, Journals, October 9, 1979, p. 11; April 14, 1980, p. 11; November 5, 1984, p. 10. Neither the Journals nor the Debates make reference to the prayer before the House proceeded to the Senate for the opening of Parliament on December 12, 1988. Since 1994, the Speaker has been elected the day prior to the opening of Parliament; the prayer has been read on the day Parliament has opened. See, for example, Journals, January 18, 1994, p. 14; September 23, 1997, p. 11; January 30, 2001, p. 11; October 5, 2004, p. 11; April 4, 2006, p. 11.

[24] The public is not allowed access to the galleries when the national anthem is being sung, but the event is televised. The members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs who considered the implementation of this new practice were of the view that allowing members of the public to enter the galleries when Members were singing the national anthem could create disorder. The Committee decided, therefore, that the doors would not be opened until the singing had ended. See Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 9, 1995, Issue No. 53, pp. 1-6, in particular pp. 1, 3-4, as well as the Ninety-Eighth Report of the Committee, presented to the House and concurred in on November 10, 1995 (Journals, pp. 2124-5).

[25] Members wishing to lead the House in the singing of the anthem advise the Speaker of their interest through their Whip and the Speaker recognizes one of them. See Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Evidence, November 9, 1995, Issue No. 53, p. 2. On December 4, 1996, a visiting choir led the House in the singing of the anthem. After the reading of the prayer, the Sergeant‑at‑Arms was ordered to admit the choir into the gallery facing the Speaker before the doors were opened to the public (Debates, December 4, 1996, p. 7077). Other choirs have also participated in the singing of the national anthem (Debates, December 10, 1997, p. 3021; December 9, 1998, p. 11107; February 6, 2008, p. 2653). In June 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, the Speaker invited the Pages to lead the House in the singing of the anthem (Debates, June 8, 2005, p. 6807; June 7, 2006, p. 2061; June 6, 2007, p. 10199; June 4, 2008, p. 6521) to highlight the end of their year of service.

[26] Ninety-Eighth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings, November 10, 1995, Issue No. 53, p. 10; Journals, November 10, 1995, pp. 2124‑5. Deborah Grey (Beaver River) led the House in singing the national anthem for the first time on November 22, 1995 (Debates, November 22, 1995, p. 16659). For statements in the House in this regard, see also, Debates, October 30, 1995, pp. 15975‑6.

[27] Standing Order 30(5).

[28] When Statements by Members was first established in 1983, Speaker Sauvé stated that this period was intended to provide Members with an opportunity “to voice serious issues of international, national or local concern” (Debates, January 17, 1983, p. 21873). During this period, Members have, on occasion, given part or all of their statement to the House in a language other than English or French (for example, Inuktitut, Cree, Slavey, Italian, Hebrew, Creole, Croatian and Armenian). See, for example, Debates, October 2, 1991, p. 3134; March 26, 1992, p. 8856; April 10, 1992, p. 9644; February 8, 1993, p. 15550; March 31, 1993, pp. 17837, 17840; March 10, 1994, p. 2120; May 27, 1998, p. 7269; March 19, 2007, p. 7596. A Member has also used sign language to make a statement (Debates, May 13, 1998, pp. 6918‑9). When using another language, Members usually provide the interpreters with a copy of the text in English or French. For further information, see Chapter 13, “Rules of Order and Decorum”.

[29] Speaker Sauvé had warned Members this would happen (Debates, January 17, 1983, pp. 21873-4). See also Debates, October 29, 1986, p. 864; November 23, 1990, pp. 15649‑52.

[30] For the convenience of the House, the Speaker has occasionally proceeded to Statements by Members before 2:00 p.m. (or 11:00 a.m. on Fridays). See, for example, Debates, November 28, 1997, p. 2432; June 9, 1998, p. 7803. The House has also unanimously agreed to proceed to Statements by Members before the appointed time. See, for example, Debates, November 30, 1990, p. 16031; March 27, 1992, p. 8923; February 6, 2001, p. 272.

[31] Since 2001, the time set aside for Statements by Members and Question Period has frequently been extended by a few minutes so that Members have the full amount of time allotted (Debates, March 21, 2001, pp. 1973, 1976, 1985; November 22, 2005, pp. 9987, 9989‑90, 9998; April 8, 2008, pp. 4625, 4628‑29, 4637). However, prior to 2001, there were very few instances of this (Debates, September 18, 1991, p. 2300; June 16, 1995, p. 14011; November 1, 1995, p. 16063; November 29, 1996, p. 6903). Once before a Christmas adjournment, the Speaker allowed Statements by Members to exceed the time limit by five minutes (Debates, December 19, 1990, p. 16939). Question Period was also extended accordingly. On one occasion, the House unanimously agreed to dispose of this proceeding and proceed directly to Question Period after Members paid tribute for more than 30 minutes to the retiring Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney (Debates, February 24, 1993, pp. 16379‑83).

[32] Journals, November 29, 1982, p. 5400.

[33] The Standing Order read: “A motion may be moved by unanimous consent of the House without previous notice”. See also Bourinot, 4th ed., pp. 301‑2.

[34] Journals, May 29, 1925, p. 356.

[35] Journals, March 22, 1927, pp. 334‑5.

[36] Journals, March 14, 1975, p. 373; March 24, 1975, p. 399.

[37] See Jerome, J., Mr. Speaker, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1985, pp. 104‑6. See also Speaker’s ruling, Debates, February 13, 1979, pp. 3164‑6.

[38] Third Report of the Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, November 4, 1982, Issue No. 7, p. 19, presented to the House on November 5, 1982 (Journals, p. 5328), and concurred in on November 29, 1982 (Journals, p. 5400).

[39] Journals, February 6, 1986, p. 1648; February 13, 1986, pp. 1709‑10. In April 1993, the Standing Committee on House Management made recommendations pertaining to the recognition of Members, enforcement of the time limits, and using the time during the ringing of the division bells for Statements by Members, but the report was neither debated nor concurred in. See the Eighty-First Report of the Standing Committee on House Management, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, April 1, 1993, Issue No. 53, pp. 14-5, presented to the House on April 1, 1993 (Journals, p. 2774). In June 1994, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs also studied the practices relating to Statements by Members, but did not recommend any changes. See the Thirtieth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, June 16, 1994, Issue No. 18, p. 3, presented to the House on June 17, 1994 (Journals, p. 610).

[40] Debates, January 17, 1983, pp. 21873‑4.

[41] In a 1990 ruling, Speaker Fraser clarified that a statement about another Member’s political position would be acceptable, but a personal attack against a Member would not be allowed (Debates, November 26, 1990, p. 15717). Speaker Parent further cautioned in a 1996 decision that “once they [the words] have been uttered, it is very difficult to retract them and the impression they leave is not always easily erased” (Debates, November 29, 1996, p. 6899). See also Debates, September 22, 1994, pp. 6032‑3; December 3, 1997, p. 2646; November 23, 2004, p. 1723; October 20, 2006, pp. 4047-8.

[42] See, for example, Debates, November 26, 1990, p. 15705; March 8, 1994, p. 1992; September 29, 1997, p. 204; December 11, 1997, pp. 3107‑8; May 21, 2002, pp. 11551, 11553‑4.

[43] See, for example, Debates, October 20, 1986, p. 510; March 25, 1987, p. 4541; October 29, 1997, p. 1278. Speaker Fraser ruled that it is inappropriate for a Member to use this proceeding to attack another Member for offensive language when that Member has already been admonished by the Chair (Debates, October 29, 1986, p. 864).

[44] See, for example, Debates, October 1, 1990, pp. 13607, 13621‑2; October 3, 1997, pp. 456‑7. See also Debates, February 13, 1998, p. 3853; February 19, 1998, p. 4156.

[45] See, for example, Debates, December 20, 1989, pp. 7247‑8; June 8, 1990, p. 12522; September 22, 1994, pp. 6031‑2, 6040.

[46] See, for example, Debates, November 19, 1986, p. 1315; December 1, 1986, pp. 1636, 1651‑2. In his ruling on December 1, 1986, Speaker Fraser noted that “it is often the obligation of Members of Parliament to criticize a law. However … it is not their place to castigate a court or judge or the decisions rendered under a law …” (Debates, p. 1636).

[47] See, for example, Debates, November 28, 1996, pp. 6853‑4.

[48] Debates, October 3, 2005, pp. 8322, 8331. In his ruling, Speaker Milliken reminded Members that we can “leave the matter of poetry, which seems to have been acceptable over a period of time, but singing perhaps is rising to new heights that we need not ascend”. Prior to November 1995, on a few occasions, the Speaker allowed Members to sing the national anthem during their statements (Debates, February 15, 1995, pp. 9650-1; October 30, 1995, p. 15967). The Chair has tolerated a Member’s urging all Members to rise and sing “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” with her, in honour of St. Patrick’s Day (Debates, March 17, 1999, p. 13006).

[49] See, for example, Debates, December 3, 1991, pp. 5679‑82. See also Debates, November 28, 1991, pp. 5509‑10.

[50] See, for example, Debates, April 27, 1995, p. 11878; November 18, 1998, p. 10133; November 8, 2006, p. 4895.

[51] See, for example, Debates, September 16, 1996, pp. 4221‑2; September 17, 1996, pp. 4309‑10.

[52] At the start of the Thirty‑Fifth Parliament (1994‑97), the Speaker informed the House that, after consultation, the party Whips had agreed on a format regarding party representation and the number of Members to be recognized to offer statements during this period (Debates, January 19, 1994, p. 17). Five months later, Speaker Parent observed that Members not belonging to a recognized party had participated almost daily during Statements by Members (Debates, June 16, 1994, p. 5439). Since then, at the beginning of each Parliament, and at other times as required, the breakdown has been established by agreement between the parties. From time to time, an independent Member is recognized to speak during this period. See, for example, Debates, May 7, 2007, p. 9121; October 22, 2007, p. 200.

[53] See, for example, Debates, March 9, 1994, pp. 2036‑7; October 23, 2006, p. 4104; October 25, 2006, p. 4220. On one occasion, the House permitted the Prime Minister, by unanimous consent, to offer a statement pursuant to this Standing Order (Debates, February 6, 2001, pp. 272, 297‑8).

[54] See, for example, Debates, February 26, 1998, p. 4495; June 9, 1998, p. 7807; December 6, 2004, p. 2308; June 5, 2006, p. 1949; November 9, 2006, p. 4968; January 31, 2008, pp. 2419‑20.

[55] See, for example, Debates, February 25, 1993, p. 16461; September 26, 2005, p. 8005; April 25, 2006, p. 486.

[56] Standing Order 47. See, for example, Debates, February 25, 1998, pp. 4406‑7; December 12, 2002, p. 2640; November 23, 2004, pp. 1723, 1733.

[57] See, for example, Debates, June 19, 1992, pp. 12437, 12448; March 19, 1998, p. 5126.

[58] Standing Order 31. On at least one occasion, the Speaker has allowed a Member who was initially asked to resume his seat to revise his statement and present an acceptable version at the conclusion of the period for Statements by Members (Debates, December 8, 1992, pp. 14849‑51).

[59] Debates, November 29, 1996, p. 6899.

[60] Standing Order 30(5). On occasion, the start of Question Period has been considerably delayed if Statements by Members has been delayed or extended (Debates, June 3, 2002, pp. 12030‑1, 12034 (recorded division); April 4, 2005, pp. 4617, 4619, 4622 (tribute to the late Pope John‑Paul II)); when a tribute or introduction of new Members took place immediately following Statements by Members (Debates, June 5, 2002, pp. 12184‑6 (tribute to Alexa McDonough, former Leader of the New Democratic Party); May 21, 2002, pp. 11554, 11556 (introduction of six new Members)); or if the Speaker has delivered a ruling that could impact on Question Period (Debates, May 2, 1994, pp. 3762‑3). Under these circumstances, the Speaker has typically extended the time allotted for Oral Questions.

Top of Page