Parliament of Canada
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Table of Contents
Parliaments and Ministries
Privileges and Immunities
The House of Commons and Its Members
The Physical and Administrative Setting
The Speaker and Other Presiding Officers of the House
The Parliamentary Cycle
Sittings of the House
The Daily Program
The Process of Debate
Rules of Order and Decorum
The Curtailment of Debate
The Legislative Process
Types of Bills
Form of Bills
Structure of Bills
Stages in the Legislative Process
Committees of the Whole House
Private Members’ Business
Private Bills Practice
The Parliamentary Record
House of Commons Procedure and Practice
Edited by Robert Marleau and Camille Montpetit
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16. The Legislative Process
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The Legal Framework of Government: A Canadian Guide
, Aurora, Ont.: Canada Law Book Inc., 1992, p. 122.
, p. 79.
The stages relating to private bills are described in
Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”
See A.R. Myers, “Parliamentary Petitions in the Fifteenth Century”,
The English Historical Review
, Vol. LII, (1937), pp. 590-613. For a historical overview of the legislative process in Great Britain, the following texts may be consulted: Sir William R. Anson,
The Law and Custom of the Constitution
ed., revised edition (1911), Oxford: Clarendon Press, Vol. I, pp. 240-54; Sheila Lambert, “Procedure in the House of Commons in the Early Stuart Period,”
The English Historical Review
, Vol. XCV (1980), pp. 753-81.
A favourable reply was expressed by the words
le roy le veult
, a negative reply by the words
le roy s’avisera
.Until the latter part of the reign of Edward III (1327-77), all parliamentary proceedings were conducted in French. The use of English was extremely rare until the reign of Henry IV (1399-1413). Beginning with the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509), English was used for all proceedings, with the exception of Royal Assent, which was always expressed in Norman French (
ed., pp. 512-3; 22
ed., p. 565).
The expression “
” is used in French to mean “
” or “law” only in reference to Great Britain and, by extension, to the other Commonwealth Parliaments. However, in Canada, the expression “
” is used in French.
A favourable reply did not necessarily mean that the Commons obtained the legislation they wanted from the King. Sometimes, the matter would be forgotten, or intentionally laid aside until the legislature was dissolved. See Ronald Butt,
A History of Parliament: The Middle Ages
, London: Constable, p. 271;
, p. 247.
, p. 248.
Although Henry VI and Edward IV (1461-70 and 1471-83) occasionally added new provisions to statutes without consulting Parliament, the form of legislating as we know it today has its origin in the reign of Henry VI (
ed., p. 459).
, p. 249.
The Elizabethan House of Commons
, Hammondsworth: Penguin Books, 1
ed. (1949), revised edition (1963), p. 356.
ed., p. 19.
, pp. 86-9, 113-4, 173-4.
At that time, this was a 73-page document that had been prepared by a committee of the Assembly under the direction of Speaker Jean-Antoine Panet.
, p. 174.
To preserve the uniformity of the texts, bills relating to the criminal laws of Great Britain were introduced in English and then translated. Bills relating to the civil laws, customs and rights were introduced in French and then translated. This meant that several days might go by between when the motion to introduce the bill was adopted and the motion for first reading (
, p. 174).
At that time, bills were referred to a Committee of the Whole or a select committee. See
Chapter 19, “Committees of the Whole House”
, the section that gives a historical overview of Committees of the Whole in Canada.
Every bill first had to be submitted to the Governor, or the Governor’s representative, for assent in His/Her Majesty’s name. Assent could be given or withheld, or the Governor could reserve assent and submit the bill for the “Signification of his Majesty’s Pleasure thereon” (
Constitutional Act, 1791
, R.S.C. 1985, Appendix II, No. 3, ss. XXX, XXXI).
, p. 134.
, pp. 279-80.
, p. 279.
, December 20, 1867, p. 333.
For a number of years, the expression “Bill” was used in both English and French to refer to bills. The expression “
projet de loi
” was first used in the French version of the Standing Orders of the House in 1982.
See rules 40, 43, 44, 48 and 93 of the first edition of the Rules of the House, adopted on December 20, 1867.
See, for example,
, March 4, 1884, pp. 184-5.
, April 23, 1913, pp. 507-9.
, July 12, 1955, pp. 930-1.
, April 11, 1991, p. 2913.
See the comments in
, April 19, 1886, pp. 789-90.
, March 22, 1927, pp. 328-9. Until 1982, the present Standing Order 43 governed the length of speeches during consideration of bills.
, November 29, 1982, p. 5400. See also Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, Third Report, presented to the House on November 5, 1982 (
, p. 5328).
See, in particular, the report of the Joint Committee on Legislation. That Committee was established in 1923 to consider various matters, including the form of bills (
, June 14, 1923, pp. 469-70). See also Special Committee on Procedure and Organization of the House, Report, presented to the House on December 19, 1963, paragraph 2 (
, pp. 705-6), and Special Committee on Procedure and Organization of the House, First Report, presented to the House on March 25, 1964, paragraph 9 (
, p. 125).
, September 24, 1968, p. 68; December 20, 1968, pp. 554-62. See also Special Committee on Procedure and Organization of the House, Fourth Report, presented to the House on March 13, 1968 (
, pp. 761-7), before the dissolution of the Twenty-Seventh Parliament.
, December 6, 1968, p. 432.
For example, the first version of Standing Order 69, which was adopted in December 1867, read as follows: “That this bill be now read a first time”. That text remained unchanged until the amendments adopted in December 1968, which gave it its present wording: “That this bill be read a first time and printed.” The Committee intended the effect of the amendment to be that the passing of the motion would mean only that the House consented to the introduction of the bill without any commitment beyond the fact that it should be made generally available for the information of Parliament and the public. The new version gave effect to some of the objectives of the Committee, which wanted the crucial stages in the passage of a bill to be identified. While it recommended retaining the three readings, the Committee proposed that the motion relating to each reading be rephrased in such a way as to illuminate the philosophy behind each of the stages in that process (
, December 6, 1968, pp. 432-3; December 20, 1968, p. 576).
, December 6, 1968, pp. 432-4; December 20, 1968, pp. 554-62.
See Special Committee on Standing Orders and Procedure, Sixth Report, presented to the House on March 29, 1983 (
, p. 5765), Issue No. 19, pp. 3-12.
See Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, First Report, presented to the House on December 20, 1984 (
, p. 211), Issue No. 2, pp. 7-10, 21.
, June 27, 1985, pp. 918-9.
, April 11, 1991, pp. 2898-932.
, January 25, 1994, pp. 58, 61; February 7, 1994, pp. 112-20.
See, for example, Bill C-15,
An Act to amend, enact and repeal certain laws relating to financial institutions
(Journals, March 8, 1996, p. 69).
See, for example, Bill C-1001,
An Act respecting Bell Canada
, April 12, 1978, p. 638).
Chapter 21, “Private Members’ Business”
Standing Orders 87 to 99.
Standing Order 88.
Private legislation may be defined as legislation “of a special kind for conferring particular powers or benefits on any person or body of persons, including individuals and private corporations, in excess of or in conflict with the general law” (
ed., pp. 285-6).
Chapter 23, “Private Bills Practice”
In a ruling dated February 22, 1971, Speaker Lamoureux stated that “the fact that [a bill that has both private and public characteristics] may correspond to what is a hybrid bill in… the British House, does not mean it should be treated that way in our own Parliament” (
, p. 351).
In a ruling dated March 12, 1875, Speaker Anglin clearly ruled that a bill that involved private considerations could not be introduced as a public bill (
, p. 213). See also
, October 23, 1975, pp. 795-6.