Point of Order – Bill C-38


Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, this is an unusual situation in that we have been voting for very many hours, but I have been holding back on rising on a point of order. There is a very clear violation of our rules occurring and it is occurring relatively constantly. I think it is disrespectful to this place. It is disrespectful to Parliament. It certainly makes a mockery of the notion that we are considering legislation in a sober fashion.

The rule that is being violated is Standing Order 16(1), which states:

When the Speaker is putting a question, no Member shall enter, walk out of or across the House, or make any noise or disturbance.

This is further clarified in O’Brien and Bosc, on page 639, under the heading “Decorum During the Taking of a Vote”. It indicates that no member is to make any noise or disturbance.

I understand the Conservatives have made a habit of wild cheering on every vote, but it violates the rules and it is—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Acting Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands does point out one of the Standing Orders of this place, that members are to remain in their seats during the vote. Having said that, I realize that some members are attending some votes and leaving the chamber for others. I would certainly encourage all members to do so as quickly and quietly as possible.

In terms of the general noise in this place, there is often healthy discussion going on within the chamber while proceedings take place. The Chair would certainly appreciate the co-operation of all hon. members in terms of respecting one another. The members might proceed with due haste so that we are not wasting the time of this place to put these matters before the House. I would encourage all hon. members to regard this practice.

Is the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands rising on the same point of order?

Ted Hsu: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I think there is a difference in standing up and cheering about something one of our hon. colleagues has said. However, it is somewhat disrespectful of the voting process to make a regular habit of applauding at the beginning of each round of voting. I think there is a difference and that the Standing Orders–

The Acting Speaker: Order. I think there is a common practice in this place that the Speaker manages the level of background noise in the chamber. There are certainly times when the chamber is very animated. I would encourage all hon. members not to do anything that would slow the proceedings of this House so that we can proceed with due haste and deal with the matters before the chamber.