Chapter Six: Rules of Debate

Rules of the Senate

Chapter Six: Rules of Debate

 

Recognition in Debate

Recognition by the Speaker 6-1. Senators wishing to speak shall rise at their assigned place and, when recognized by the Speaker, shall address the Senators.
Senators to speak only once

6-2. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) and elsewhere in these Rules, no Senator shall speak more than once in any debate.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 6-5(3): Yielding to another Senator for questions

Rule 6-12(1): Right of final reply
Rule 12-32(3)(c): Procedure in Committee of the Whole

Clarification in case of misunderstanding 6-2. (2) A Senator may, with leave of the Senate, speak a second time in a debate for no more than five minutes in order to explain any misunderstanding arising from the original intervention. No new matter shall be introduced while explaining the misunderstanding.
 

Speaking Time

Time limits for speakers 6-3. (1) Except as otherwise provided:
Leaders (a) the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition shall be allowed unlimited time for debate; and the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group shall be permitted up to 45 minutes for debate;
Sponsor of bill (b) the sponsor of a bill, if not the Leader of the Government or the Leader of the Opposition, shall be allowed up to 45 minutes for debate at second and third reading;
Critic of bill (c) the critic of a bill, if not the Leader of the Government or the Leader of the Opposition, shall be allowed up to 45 minutes for debate at second and third reading;
Others

(d) other Senators shall speak for no more than 15 minutes in debate.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 2-5(1): Arguments
Rule 4-2(3): Senators’ Statements limited to three minutes each
Rule 4-3(2): Tributes limited to three minutes each
Rule 4-3(4): Acknowledgements of tributes
Rule 6-2(2): Clarification in case of misunderstanding
Rule 6-5(1): Yielding to another Senator for debate
Rule 7-1(3): Question on agreement to allocate time put immediately
Rule 7-3(1)(f): Procedure for debate on motion to allocate time
Rule 8-3(3): Time limit for request for emergency debate
Rule 8-4(3): Speaking times
Rule 12-22(6): Debate on a tabled report
Rule 12-32(3)(d): Procedure in Committee of the Whole
Rule 13-6(3):
Time limits on speaking on motion on case of privilege

Speeches to be timed by Clerk 6-3. (2) The Clerk shall keep a record at the table of the time taken by each Senator in each debate. The Clerk shall inform the Speaker when a Senator’s speaking time is about to expire and, when it expires, the Speaker shall so inform the Senator speaking.
 

Process of Debate

One Senator to speak at a time 6-4. (1) Except as provided in subsection (3), only one Senator shall be recognized to speak at any one time. When more than one Senator rises to speak, the Speaker shall recognize the Senator who, in the Speaker’s opinion, rose first.
Motion to hear another Senator

6-4. (2) Except as otherwise provided, if the Senator first recognized has not yet started to speak, another Senator, rising on a point of order, may immediately move a motion that a third Senator, who also rose to speak, “do now speak” or “be now heard”. The question shall be put on the motion immediately, without debate or amendment.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 4-2(7): No motions during Senators’ Statements
Rule 8-3(4): No motions during request for emergency debate

If motion to hear another Senator adopted 6-4. (3) If the motion to hear another Senator is adopted, it shall be an order of the Senate to recognize the Senator identified in the motion. If the motion is not adopted, the Senator who was first recognized by the Speaker shall be entitled to speak. In either case, no other motion to the same effect shall be received until either the Senator designated to speak has completed any remarks or the time allowed for the intervention has expired.
Yielding to another Senator for debate

6-5. (1) A Senator recognized to speak may yield the floor to another Senator for the purpose of debate. The speaking time of the Senator who thus obtains the right to speak is limited to:

(a) the time remaining to the Senator who yielded; or
(b) the time remaining, not to exceed 15 minutes, if the Senator who yielded is the Leader of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition, or the leader or facilitator of any other recognized party or recognized parliamentary group.

Yielding for debate counts as speaking

6-5. (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) and elsewhere in these Rules, neither the Senator who yields the floor nor the Senator to whom it is yielded shall speak again to the same question.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 6-2(2): Clarification in case of misunderstanding
Rule 6-12(1): Right of final reply
Rule 12-32(3)(c):
Procedure in Committee of the Whole

Yielding to another Senator for questions

6-5. (3) A Senator recognized to speak may yield the floor to any other Senator for a question. The Senator asking the question retains the right to speak in debate at a later time, unless the Senator has already spoken. The time taken for any questions and answers shall count as part of the time of the Senator originally recognized. After the questions and answers, the Senator originally recognized may resume the floor for any time remaining.

Quoting Commons speeches 6-6. The content of a speech made in the House of Commons during the current session may be summarized but shall not be quoted unless it is a speech of a minister relating to government policy. A Senator may always quote from a speech of a previous session.
Reading the question 6-7. Except when another Senator is speaking, a Senator may, at any time during debate, request that the question then before the Senate be read.
Motions allowed during debate

6-8. Except as otherwise provided, during debate on a question, no other motion shall be received unless it is a motion:

(a) to amend the motion under debate;
(b) to refer the motion to a committee;
(c) to put the previous question;
(d) to adjourn the debate;
(e) to adjourn the debate to a certain day; or
(f) to adjourn the Senate.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 6-4(2): Motion to hear another Senator
Rule 6-9(2): Application of previous question
Rule 7-3(1)(d): Procedure for debate on motion to allocate time
Rule 7-4(1)(b): Government order to which time is allocated
Rule 8-4(4): Limitations on motions

Previous question 6-9. (1) A motion for the previous question shall be in the form “That the question be now put”.
Application of previous question 6-9. (2) The previous question may be applied either to a main motion or to a main motion as amended, but it cannot be moved in respect of a motion in amendment. A motion for the previous question cannot itself be amended.
No previous question in committee 6-9. (3) The previous question shall not be moved in a Committee of the Whole or in any other committee.
Speaking after previous question moved 6-9. (4) A Senator who has spoken on the main motion, or on the main motion as amended, may speak again after the previous question is moved, but cannot move or second the motion for the previous question.
Adopting previous question 6-9. (5) If the previous question is adopted, the main motion, amended or not, shall be put immediately, without further debate.
Defeating previous question 6-9. (6) If the previous question is defeated, the main motion, amended or not, shall be dropped from the Orders of the Day.
Motion to adjourn Government Business 6-10. (1) If a motion to adjourn debate on an item of Government Business is adopted, the item shall be an order of the day for the next sitting and shall not stand in the name of any Senator.
Motion to adjourn Other Business 6-10. (2) If a motion to adjourn debate on an item of Other Business is adopted, the item shall be an order of the day either for the next sitting or for the day specified in the motion to adjourn. The item shall stand as an order of the day in the name of either the Senator who moved the motion to adjourn debate or another Senator whose name was specified in the motion to adjourn debate.
Mover or seconder may speak later 6-11. The mover and seconder of a motion, if they do not speak at the start of debate, retain the right to speak at a subsequent time.
Right of final reply

6-12. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) and elsewhere in these Rules, a Senator shall have the right of final reply if:

(a) the Senator moved the second reading of a bill;
(b) the Senator moved a substantive motion;
(c) the Senator initiated an inquiry; or
(d) the Senator is the subject of a committee report made under the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators.

EXCEPTIONS
Rule 7-1(3): Question on agreement to allocate time put immediately
Rule 7-3(1)(e): Procedure for debate on motion to allocate time
Rule 7-4(5): Question put on time-allocated order
Rule 8-3(3): Time limit for request for emergency debate
Rule 8-4(3): Speaking times
Rule 13-6(3): Time limits on speaking on motion on case of privilege

REFERENCE
Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 51(2)

Exception to right of final reply 6-12. (2) For greater certainty, a Senator who has moved a motion to adopt a committee report under the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators pertaining to the conduct of another Senator does not have the right of final reply.
Closing debate 6-12. (3) The final reply closes debate. It is the duty of the Speaker to ensure that every Senator wishing to speak has the opportunity to do so before the final reply is made.
 

Unparliamentary language

Objectionable speech 6-13. (1) All personal, sharp or taxing speeches are unparliamentary and are out of order.
Unparliamentary language 6-13. (2) When a Senator is called to order for unparliamentary language, any Senator may demand that the words be taken down in writing by the Clerk.
Retractions and apologies 6-13. (3) A Senator who has used unparliamentary words and who does not explain or retract them or offer an apology acceptable to the Senate shall be disciplined as the Senate may determine.