The Honourable George J. Furey, Q.C.
Speaker of the Senate
In the Chamber
The Speaker plays an important role in facilitating the conduct of business within the Chamber. The Speaker calls out items under Routine Business, reminds senators about time limits for different categories of activity, including Senators’ Statements and Question Period, and conducts and announces the results of any vote taken in the Senate.
In addition, the Speaker is responsible for ruling on all questions which are raised with regard to parliamentary procedures in the Chamber, or the rights and immunities of the Senate, or of individual senators as they carry out their duties. Any decision of the Speaker, however, is not necessarily final. All rulings of the Speaker on points of order, or questions of privilege, can be appealed to the Senate and be either confirmed or rejected by a vote.
The Speaker rarely participates in debate. When this happens, it is usually because the Speaker feels very strongly about the issue being discussed or feels there is a particular point of view which merits representation. When participating in debate, the Speaker leaves the Chair and speaks from his or her designated seat in the Chamber. Senate Speakers are entitled to participate in recorded divisions of the Senate, the formal standing votes when the names of voters are recorded. However, the Speaker of the Senate has no “casting vote,” a vote which would break a tie. In the event of a tie, the vote is deemed to be negative.