The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella
42nd Speaker of the Senate (2006 - 2014)
February 8, 2006 to November 26, 2014
Senator Noël A. Kinsella was appointed Speaker of the Senate of Canada on February 8, 2006 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Duties of the Speaker are multifaceted. It is the Speaker’s function, according to Senate Rules, to preserve order and decorum and to decide points of order subject to an appeal to the Senate. He is also called upon to perform diplomatic duties at home and abroad consistent with the Speaker of the Senate’s fourth overall position in the Canadian Order of Precedence. Receiving visiting dignitaries and hosting official diplomatic events are all part of the Senate Speaker’s day. Additional responsibilities come with each visit to Canada by a head of state, and with invitations from abroad.
Parliamentary service began with his appointment to the Senate by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on September 12, 1990, while serving as Associate Under-Secretary of State of Canada. He became the Senate Opposition Whip in 1994 and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in 1999. Senator Kinsella was elected Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in October 2004.
Academic work commenced with elementary and secondary schooling in Saint John, New Brunswick, and has involved university studies in several European universities including: University College, Dublin, Ireland (B.A.); St. Thomas Aquinas University, Rome, Italy (L.Ph., and Ph.D.), Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy (S.T.L., S.T.D.). He is a licensed member of the College of Psychologists of New Brunswick. Dr. Kinsella spent 41 years as a faculty member at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, N.B. where he has taught psychology, philosophy and human rights, and is currently a member of the Board of Governors. A Knight of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, and an Honorary Captain (Navy) in the Canadian Forces, Speaker Kinsella has received an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Dominican University College, Ottawa, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., and an honorary Doctor of Literature from University College, Dublin, Ireland.
Human rights is a field in which Speaker Kinsella has been active. He served as the Chairperson of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for 22 years, beginning in 1967, as President of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, and is well-known nationally and internationally as a human rights advocate and academic for such cases as Malcolm Ross, and for bringing Lovelace v. Canada to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He is presently a member of the Advisory Council of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Born in Saint John, N.B., he is married to Ann Conley Kinsella.
The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum in the Senate. In doing so the Speaker may act without a want of order or decorum being brought to his or her attention. Furthermore, the Speaker shall be authorized to act on his or her own initiative to interrupt any debate to restore order or to enforce the Rules of the Senate. In the case of grave disorder, the Speaker may suspend the sitting of the Senate for a period not to exceed three hours.
The Speaker shall decide points of order and when so doing shall state the reasons for the decision together with references to the rule or other written authority applicable to the case.
With respect to the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, the authority of the Speaker is limited to matters expressly incorporated into these rules.
When the Speaker has been asked to decide any question of privilege or point of order he or she shall determine when sufficient argument has been adduced to decide the matter, whereupon the Speaker shall so indicate to the Senate, and continue with the item of business which had been interrupted or proceed to the next item of business, as the case may be.