All eyes on the Speaker


At noon today, the Speaker will rule on Elizabeth May’s point of order. Pending that decision, he would then rule as to how the amendments and clause deletions will be handled.

Update 11:34am. Here is the full list of Ms. May’s proposed amendments.

Update 11:40am. A little background on the parliamentary process. Here is the Procedure and Practice chapter on the legislative process (scroll down to “Report Stage”) and here is a specific guide to amending bills at committee and report stage. A 2001 statement by Speaker Peter Milliken on report stage motions can be viewed here.

Update 11:45am. Two more things. Our rough guide to C-38 is here. And the text of Ms. May’s point of order is here.

Update 12:05pm. Speaker Scheer has begun delivering his ruling on Ms. May’s point of order.

Update 12:16pm. Speaker Scheer has ruled that he cannot agree with Ms. May. And, in the absence of rules around omnibus legislation, he cannot set aside C-38.

Update 12:18pm. Now to a decision as to how the House will vote on C-38.

Update 12:23pm. The Speaker has ruled about two dozen amendments—out of a total of 871—out of order.

Update 12:27pm. The Speaker has grouped together the amendments for debate, but it’s not clear to me that the Speaker has ruled as to how many votes will take place.

Update 12:32pm. Correction: The Speaker’s office has released a schedule and, depending on the result of each vote, C-38 will face a maximum of 159 votes. Presuming all of the amendments are defeated, that would seem to be the number of votes.


All eyes on the Speaker

  1. Any reasoning Wherry? Or just cause he’s a CPC shill?

    • But wait, he’s putting the house in order…

    • Essentially: The House hasn’t set out limits on omnibus legislation and so there isn’t much the Speaker can do.

      • Does any precedent exist for the Speaker deciding to “group” amendments as has been done here? It seems to me that this grouping has the effect of diminishing the role of the MPs. If Scheer’s claim is that he hasn’t the authority to declare the bill ‘out of order’ then I’d ask where he derives the authority to bundle these amendments?

  2. It appears that it was the correct decision, but I’d say that it wasn’t right.

    • I disagree. May’s reasoning that the bill is imperfect, that it is missing clauses that should have been in it, is more than evidenced by the CPC members referring to specific things that aren’t in it.

      Given the Speaker’s current reasoning, a completely blank bill could be submitted and would be equally as valid as any changes the government spoke of could be assumed to “flow from” it in later course — especially if it had a title of say, “An Act to Amend Anything We Want To”

      • That would not be at all valid according to the Standing Orders (as referenced in the Speaker’s ruling):

        Standing Order 68(3) – the basis of the point of order raised by
        the Member for Saanich – Gulf Islands – refer to. House of Commons
        Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, at page 728, states:

        (quote) “Since Confederation, the Chair has held that the
        introduction of bills that contain blank passages or that are in an
        imperfect shape is clearly contrary to the Standing Orders. A bill in
        blank or in an imperfect shape is a bill which has only a title, or the
        drafting of which has not been completed.

        • Except, as I just explained, this current bill *is* in imperfect shape, as the CPC statements attest that the drafting of this has not been completed.

          He acknowledges this, and then goes and says it’s fine anyway, as what they’re talking about will probably follow “in due course” from the bill. Which is exactly what I postulate at the extreme end.. a blank bill where everything is to follow “in due course” from it.

          This is why his ruling is not correct either.

          • If the bill is fully written and ready to vote, then it is fully drafted regardless of what members say or have said about it. Your hypothetical situation (a blank bill) is specifically against the rules while the real situation (a complete bill with members musing about future changes) is not.

            And by the way, I used ctrl-f to try and find “due course” in the Speaker’s ruling…and it doesn’t appear. So I’m not sure who or what you are quoting here.

          • Bounce to the other thread to continue this if you want.
            The bill isn’t fully written. Clauses are obviously missing..we know this, because the government was speaking about them, repeatedly, as if they were there.

  3. An ugly precedent. give a bill a broad name and you can fill it with broad, sweeping legislation.

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