The Senate

Motion to Amend the Rules of the Senate--Debate Adjourned

June 3, 2021


[19:29]

Pursuant to notice of December 16, 2020, moved:

That the Rules of the Senate be amended:

1.by replacing rule 3-6(2) by the following:

“Adjournment extended

3-6. (2) Whenever the Senate stands adjourned, if the Speaker is satisfied that the public interest does not require the Senate to meet at the date and time stipulated in the adjournment order, the Speaker shall, after consulting all the leaders and facilitators, or their designates, determine an appropriate later date or time for the next sitting.”;

2.by replacing rule 4-2(8)(a) by the following:

“Extending time for Senators’ Statements

4-2. (8)(a) At the request of a whip or the designated representative of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group, the Speaker shall, at an appropriate time during Senators’ Statements, seek leave of the Senate to extend Statements. If leave is granted, Senators’ Statements shall be extended by no more than 30 minutes.”;

3.by replacing rule 4-3(1) by the following:

“Tributes

4-3. (1) At the request of any leader or facilitator, the period for Senators’ Statements shall be extended by no more than 15 minutes for the purpose of paying tribute to a current or former Senator.”;

4.by replacing rules 6-3(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d) by the following:

“Leaders and facilitators

(a) any leader or facilitator shall be permitted up to 45 minutes for debate;

Sponsor of a bill

(b) the sponsor of a bill shall be allowed up to 45 minutes for debate at second and third reading;

Critic of a bill

(c) the critic of a bill shall be allowed up to 45 minutes for debate at second and third reading;

Spokesperson on a bill

(d) the spokesperson on a bill from each recognized party and recognized parliamentary group, except those of the sponsor and critic, shall be allowed up to 45 minutes for debate at second and third reading; and

Others

(e) other Senators shall speak for no more than 15 minutes in debate.”;

5.by replacing rule 6-5(1)(b) by the following:

“(b) the time remaining, not to exceed 15 minutes, if the Senator who yielded is a leader or facilitator.”;

6.by replacing the portion of rule 7-1(1) before paragraph (a) by the following:

“Agreement to allocate time

7-1. (1) At any time during a sitting, the Leader or the Deputy Leader of the Government may state that the representatives of the recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups have agreed to allocate a specified number of days or hours either:”;

7.by replacing the portion of rule 7-2(1) before paragraph (a) by the following:

“No agreement to allocate time

7-2. (1) At any time during a sitting, the Leader or the Deputy Leader of the Government may state that the representatives of the recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups have failed to agree to allocate time to conclude an adjourned debate on either:”;

8.by replacing rule 7-3(1)(f) by the following:

“(f) Senators may speak for a maximum of 10 minutes each, provided that a leader or facilitator may speak for up to 30 minutes;”;

9.by replacing rules 9-5(1), (2) and (3) by the following:

“(1) The Speaker shall ask the whips and the designated representatives of the recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups if there is an agreement on the length of time the bells shall ring.

(2) The time agreed to shall not be more than 60 minutes.

(3) With leave of the Senate, the agreement on the length of the bells shall constitute an order to sound the bells for that length of time.”;

10.by replacing rule 9-10(1) by the following:

“Deferral of standing vote

9-10. (1) Except as provided in subsection (5) and elsewhere in these Rules, when a standing vote has been requested on a question that is debatable, a whip or the designated representative of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group may defer the vote.

EXCEPTIONS

Rule 7-3(1)(h): Procedure for debate on motion to allocate time

Rule 7-4(5): Question put on time-allocated order

Rule 12-30(7): Deferred vote on report

Rule 12-32(3)(e): Procedure in Committee of the Whole

Rule 13-6(8): Vote on case of privilege automatically deferred in certain circumstances”;

11.by replacing rule 9-10(4) by the following:

“Vote deferred to Friday

9-10. (4) Except as otherwise provided, if a vote has been deferred to a Friday, a whip or the designated representative of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group may, at any time during a sitting, further defer the vote to 5:30 p.m. on the next sitting day, provided that if the Senate only meets after 5 p.m. on that day, the vote shall take place immediately before the Orders of the Day.

EXCEPTIONS

Rule 12-30(7): Deferred vote on report

Rule 13-6(8): Vote on case of privilege automatically deferred in certain circumstances”;

12.by replacing rule 12-3(3) by the following:

“Ex officio members

12-3.(3) In addition to the membership provided for in subsections (1) and (2), the Leader of the Government, or the Deputy Leader if the Leader is absent, and the leader or facilitator of each recognized party and recognized parliamentary group, or a designate if a leader or facilitator is absent, are ex officio members of all committees except the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators, the Standing Committee on Audit and Oversight, and the joint committees. The ex officio members of committees have all the rights and obligations of a member of a committee.”;

13.by replacing rule 12-8(2) by the following:

“Service fee proposals

12-8. (2) When the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government tables a service fee proposal, it is deemed referred to the standing or special committee designated by the Leader or Deputy Leader of the Government following consultations with the leaders and facilitators of the recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups, or their designates.

REFERENCE

Service Fees Act, subsection 15(1)”;

14.by replacing rule 12-18(2)(b)(ii) by the following:

“(ii) with the signed consent of the majority of the leaders and facilitators, or their designates, in response to a written request from the chair and deputy chair.”;

15.by replacing rule 12-27(1) by the following:

“Appointment of committee

12-27. (1) As soon as practicable at the beginning of each session, the Leader of the Government shall move a motion, seconded by the other leaders and the facilitators, on the membership of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators. This motion shall be deemed adopted without debate or vote, and a similar motion shall be moved for any substitutions in the membership of the committee.

REFERENCE

Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, subsection 35(4)”;

16.in Appendix I:

(a)by replacing the words “(Porte-parole d’un projet de loi)” at the end of the definition of “Critic of a bill” by the words “(Critique d’un projet de loi)”;

(b)by deleting the definition “Ordinary procedure for determining duration of bells”; and

(c)by adding the following new definitions in alphabetical order:

“Designated representative of a recognized party or a recognized parliamentary group

The Senator designated from time to time by the leader or facilitator of a recognized party or a recognized parliamentary group without a whip as that group or party’s representative for a purpose or purposes set out in these Rules. (Représentant désigné d’un parti reconnu ou d’un groupe parlementaire reconnu)”;

“Leaders and facilitators

The Government Leader and the leaders and facilitators of the recognized parties and recognized parliamentary groups (see definitions of “Leader of the Government”, “Leader of the Opposition” and “Leader or facilitator of a recognized party or recognized parliamentary group”). (Leaders et facilitateurs)”; and

“Spokesperson on a bill

The lead Senator speaking on a bill from each recognized party and recognized parliamentary group, as designated by the leader or facilitator of the party or group in question. (Porte-parole d’un projet de loi)”; and

17.by updating all cross references in the Rules, including the lists of exceptions, accordingly; and

That the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators be amended by deleting subsection 35(5), and renumbering other subsections and cross-references accordingly.

He said: Honourable senators, this motion that I have put forward re-establishes on our Order Paper a motion from the previous session that died upon prorogation last fall. This motion combines the original motion proposed by Senator Woo, and my amendments prior to prorogation.

Essentially, the motion proposes a series of changes to the Rules of the Senate aimed at providing equality to all groups in the Senate. The changes centre around actions that, up until now, have been reserved for the government and the opposition and levels up the other groups by providing equal rights and responsibilities. For example, the establishment of a spokesperson from each group with the same rights as sponsor and critic of legislation; the equality of whips, designated representatives and the like on deciding the length of bells and the deferring of votes; the equality of all leaders and matters currently reserved for leaders of government and opposition, such as ex officio membership, granting of permission for committees to meet outside regular schedules and so on.

I want to be clear, colleagues: These rule changes are proposed not to take away tools from the Leader of the Government or the opposition but to provide the same tools to all groups, giving them equal rights and responsibilities that go with those.

These changes are proposed in good faith and in recognition of the fact that there are multiple groups in the Senate of Canada, and this is likely to be the case, as we know, for many years to come. Today, almost 75% of senators belong to groups not in opposition or government. That said, there’s no pride of authorship here. I look forward to robust debate with many contributions from all perspectives, and hopefully we can come to some resolution of this at some point in the future. Thank you.