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Amendment of rules.
Suspension of rules.
the Committee practically adopted the rules previously in force in the former legislative assembly of Canada.
Sessional orders are rules of a temporary nature intended to govern the business of the session, such as the time of adjournment or the presentation of papers1; resolutions may also be passed but their force will expire at the end of the session2.
The rules and standing orders may from time to time be amended. The amendments are in the first instance discussed by a Special Committee appointed by the House, of which Committee the Speaker is always a member, and are afterwards considered by a Committee of the whole House3.
The Senate and House of Commons never permit their rules and standing orders to be suspended, except by unanimous consent though a rule may be repealed or amended by a majority of the members*.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
The House on days when it is in session meets at three o'clock. Twenty members including the Speaker are rethe sitting. quired to constitute a quorum, and if on taking the chair the
Speaker finds that 20 members are not present, he adjourns
the House until the usual hour on the next sitting day". A count-out rarely happens in Canada. Contrary to the English practice members may enter the House during the whole time the count is going on. The Speaker reads a form of prayer adopted by the House in 1877, the doors are then opened and the business of the day proceeds. The order of routine business in the Commons is as Order of business. follows:
1 Burinot, p. 217.
3 Ib. p. 214.
4 Ib. p. 215.
5 At 6 o'clock the Speaker leaves the chair until 7.30.
6 B. N. A. Act 1867, ss. 35, 48.
7 Com. S. O. 1, 2.
9 Com. S. O, 19.
Reading and receiving petitions.
Presenting reports by Standing and Select Committees.
After the routine business come Questions, Notices of Motion, Private Bills, Government Orders, and Public Bills but the order in which these matters are taken varies. On Tuesdays and Fridays Government Notices and Orders take precedence, on Wednesdays and Thursdays Questions have the first place, whilst on Mondays the House first considers Private Bills.
On presenting a petition the member having charge Petitions. of it is allowed to state the parties from whom it comes, the number of signatures attached to it, and the material allegations it contains. He is not allowed to read it, though he may have that done by the clerk at the table. He must endorse his name on it and is answerable for its not containing any objectionable matter'. The petition is taken charge of by one of the clerks and after passing through the Journals' office, where it is examined so as to see that it is framed in accordance with the rules of the House, it is two days after presentation brought to the table to be read and received. Any member may oppose the reception of the petition.
By consent of the whole House a petition may be received when it is presented, but this course is only adopted in an urgent case, or where it is advisable to refer it at once to a Committee2.
1 Com. S. O. 84-86.
3 May, 613.
The House, following the practice of the English House Petitions for Money. of Commons, refuses to receive any petition involving directly a grant of money, unless it is first recommended by the Crown. This does not apply to petitions which are expressed
Burinot, p. 269.
Can. Com. J. 1867-8, 297.
Petitions regarding Taxes.
in general terms and do not directly ask for public aid or which ask the House only to take the facts into its consideration or to adopt such measures as the House may think it expedient to take.
Up to 1876 petitions asking for imposition of duties were not received, but in that year it was thought advisable to alter the practice and to receive them. Petitions also are received asking for bounties for a particular industry, for remission on public grounds of taxes or duties, or for compensation for losses through legislation, but a petition in which a bounty is demanded for a particular individual, or which prays for remission of a debt due to the Crown' is not received.
Every private bill is initiated by means of a petition, and such petition is governed by the ordinary rules regulating petitions.
Opposition to private bills also is commenced by a petition.
A public bill may originate in either House, except when it involves an appropriation of the revenue or imposes a tax3. The method of procedure in the Senate differs in some respects from that adopted in the House of Commons, but both Houses have followed very closely the English practice. In the Commons a bill passes through seven stages, viz. (1) Introduction, (2) First reading, (3) Second reading, (4) Committee, (5) Report, (6) Third reading, (7) Passing.
By the standing orders of each House the three readings are as a rule to be on separate days, except in the case of bills of an urgent nature".
The Senate in a case of urgency formally suspends its standing orders, but in the Commons it is sufficient for the House to declare the matter urgent.
1 Burinot, p. 266.
3 B. N. A. Act, 1867, s. 53.
2 See Burinot, p. 268.
4 Sen. S. O. 41, 42. Com. S. O. 43.
Introduction. In the House of Commons every bill is Motion for introduced upon motion for leave specifying the title of the bill', and therefore two days' notice must be given2; a copy of the bill must be furnished to the Speaker along with the motion in writing. It is usual for the member in charge to explain clearly the main provisions of the measure3, but though there is no rule preventing a debate or forbidding an amendment, it is not usual to discuss the bill at this stage.
There are two classes of bills that cannot be introduced directly on motion, but which require to be first considered in committee (1) Bills relating to Trade, and (2) Money Bills.
1. Bills relating to Trade. The 41st standing order of Bills relating to the House of Commons provides, that all bills relating to trade. trade or to the alteration of the laws concerning trade must be first considered in Committee in order to give opportunity for full discussion and a wide notice to persons interested. There is no such rule in the Senate. The rule applies to bills affecting trade generally as well as those relating to a particular trade.
2. Money Bills. By order 88, it is provided
"If any motion be made in the House for any public aid Bills. or charge upon the people, the consideration and debate thereof may not be presently entered upon but shall be adjourned until such future day as the House may think fit to appoint and then it shall be referred to a Committee of the whole House before any resolution or vote of the House do pass thereon."
This rule requires that money bills shall first be considered as resolutions in Committee of the whole House.
1 Com. S. O. 39.
2 Ib. 31.
3 Burinot, p. 517.
4 May, 530, and see Burinot, p. 519, for cases to which the rule has been held to be applicable in Canada.
5 Apart from this such bills must be recommended by the GovernorGeneral, see post p. 164.
If a bill contains only some clauses involving the payment of money it may be introduced on motion. The money clauses (which are not considered to be part of the bill) go before the Committee and after approval are incorporated with the bill: but this course can be adopted only if the clauses in question are a subsidiary part of the bill. "Whenever the main object of a bill is the payment of public money it must directly originate in Committee of the whole or else the proceedings will be null and void the moment objection is taken1."
The rule does not apply either to clauses imposing pecuniary penalties or to bills of a declaratory nature'.
A similar rule prevails in the English House of Commons, and the principle is extended to bills, relating to Religion or altering laws relating to Religion3.
In the Senate no notice or leave is required to bring in a bill. By standing orders 39 and 40 it is provided that
"It is the right of every Senator to bring in a bill.” "Immediately after the bill is presented it is read a first time and ordered to be printed."
This corresponds with the English practice.
First reading. After leave has been given to introduce Reading. the bill it is read a first time without amendment or debate*.
The Speaker then proposes the formal question "when shall the bill be read a second time?" in order that the bill may be placed on the orders of the day for second reading, a motion that is usually never opposed3.
Second reading. On the motion for second reading the Reading. Commons discuss the principle of the measure, and it is out
of order to discuss the clauses seriatim. The Senate has an express rule "43, the principle of a bill is usually debated at its second reading." As regards amendments the same
1 Burinot, p. 524.
2 Ib., pp. 525, 526.
5 Burinot, p. 528.
3 Anson, p. 226