Speaker of the Senate (Canada)
|Speaker of the Canadian Senate|
|Appointer||Governor general, on behalf of the monarch, and on the advice of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada|
|Inaugural holder||Joseph Édouard Cauchon|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Speaker of the Senate of Canada (French: Président du Sénat du Canada) is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada. The speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, and oversee debates and voting in the red chamber. This position is often misunderstood as being equivalent to that in the House of Commons, but it is not. The current speaker is Leo Housakos, who assumed the position on an interim basis on April 24, 2015, following the death of Pierre Claude Nolin.
Appointment and precedence
The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the governor general, on behalf of the monarch, and on the advice of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. By convention, however, this advice is generally expressed exclusively by the prime minister.
The Speaker of the Senate takes precedence only after the queen, the governor general, other members of the royal family, former governors general and their spouses, the prime minister, former prime ministers, and the chief justice on the Canadian Order of Precedence|order of precedence and, therefore, is qualified to represent Canada at official state functions, both in Canada and abroad.
History of the speakership
The role of the Speaker in the Senate was originally based on that of the Lord Chancellor in the United Kingdom. In keeping with the role of the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the Senate was expected to be partisan; they would, at all times, have the right to leave the chair, to participate in debates, and to hold an original vote—unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons, who has a vote only in the event of a tie.
The Speaker of the Senate was also similar to the Lord Chancellor, in being considered equal to other senators. Decisions of the chair were not binding on the Senate unless the speaker's decision was also the pleasure of a majority of senators. Also similar to the practice of the Lords was that the speaker would not intervene unless another senator brought the matter to the attention of the speaker. Decisions from the chair remain subject to appeals from the Senate.
Canada has more recently departed with the traditions of the House of Lords, notably since 1991, when new rules for the Senate were adopted. The new standing orders made it clear that the Speaker of the Senate could intervene without being called to do so by the Senate. The new guidelines move the Senate further from the self-governing practices of the House of Lords, and more toward the chair-governed customs of the House of Commons.
The position was predecessed by the Speaker of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada.
Role of the speakership
The Speaker of the Senate is historically responsible for deciding on points of order, only once risen by another senator. However, with the 1991 amendments to the standing orders and guidelines that govern the Senate of Canada, the speakership has generally begun to assert its right to intervene, where appropriate, without being prompted to do so. Therefore the speaker is, broadly speaking, responsible for the maintenance of order and decorum in the Senate.
As a high-ranking individual on the order of precedence, the Speaker of the Senate often receives heads of state and heads of government — this role is not merely ceremonial; the speaker is a real delegate and representative of Canada abroad. They are expected to represent Canada internationally, and sometimes visit other nations on behalf of the Government of Canada.
While the speaker is an officer of the Senate, they also remain a representative of the province from which they were appointed. Unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Speaker has the right to participate in debates on behalf of the citizens of their province or territory. The speaker has the right to cast an original vote, and to simultaneously preside over the voting process (rather than the speaker delivering a casting vote in the event of an equality, the question before the House is deemed to have been rejected).
Another significant difference between the two speakers is that the Speaker of the House of Commons holds a management role within the administration of the House of Commons as Chair of the Board of Internal Economy. The Speaker of the Senate holds no similar role, and the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration is chaired by another Senator.
In the absence of the Speaker in the Chamber, his duties are carried by the speaker pro tempore, a senator appointed at the beginning of each session by the Senate. Should both chair officers be absent, any senator can be called upon to take the chair. Irrespective of who is in the chair, their decisions hold the same force as that of the speaker.
List of Speakers of the Senate
|The Hon. Joseph Cauchon||November 5, 1867 – May 16, 1869||Independent Conservative|
|The Hon. John Ross||May 17, 1869 – May 26, 1869||Conservative|
|The Hon. Joseph Cauchon||May 27, 1869 – June 2, 1872||Independent Conservative|
|The Hon. Amos Botsford||June 3, 1872 – June 5, 1872||Conservative|
|The Hon. Joseph Cauchon||June 6, 1872 – June 30, 1872||Independent Conservative|
|The Hon. Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau||February 21, 1872 – January 8, 1874||Conservative|
|The Hon. David Christie||January 9, 1874 – October 16, 1878||Liberal|
|The Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot||November 7, 1878 – February 10, 1880||Conservative|
|The Hon. Sir David Macpherson||February 11, 1880 – February 15, 1880||Conservative|
|The Hon. Amos Botsford||February 16, 1880 – April 18, 1880||Conservative|
|The Hon. Sir David Macpherson||April 19, 1880 – October 16, 1883||Conservative|
|The Hon. William Miller||October 17, 1883 – April 3, 1887||Liberal-Conservative|
|The Hon. Josiah Plumb||April 4, 1887 – March 12, 1888||Conservative|
|The Hon. George Allan||March 17, 1888 – April 26, 1891||Conservative|
|The Hon. Sir Alexandre Lacoste||April 27, 1891 – September 13, 1891||Conservative|
|The Hon. John Jones Ross||September 14, 1891 – July 12, 1896||Conservative|
|The Hon. Sir Charles Pelletier||July 13, 1896 – January 28, 1901||Liberal|
|The Hon. Lawrence Power||January 29, 1901 – January 8, 1905||Liberal|
|The Hon. Raoul Dandurand||January 9, 1905 – January 13, 1909||Liberal|
|The Hon. James Kerr||January 14, 1909 – October 22, 1911||Liberal|
|The Hon. Auguste Landry||October 23, 1911 – June 2, 1916||Conservative|
|The Hon. Joseph Bolduc||June 3, 1916 – February 6, 1922||Nationalist Conservative|
|The Hon. Hewitt Bostock||February 7, 1922 – May 12, 1930||Liberal|
|The Hon. Arthur Hardy||May 13, 1930 – September 2, 1930||Liberal|
|The Hon. Pierre Blondin||September 3, 1930 – January 10, 1936||Conservative|
|The Hon. Walter Foster||January 11, 1936 – May 8, 1940||Liberal|
|The Hon. Georges Parent||May 9, 1940 – December 14, 1942||Liberal|
|The Hon. Thomas Vien||January 23, 1943 – August 23, 1945||Liberal|
|The Hon. James King||August 24, 1945 – August 2, 1949||Liberal|
|The Hon. Elie Beauregard||August 3, 1949 – October 13, 1953||Liberal|
|The Hon. Wishart Robertson||October 14, 1953 – October 3, 1957||Liberal|
|The Hon. Mark Drouin||October 4, 1957 – September 23, 1962||Progressive Conservative|
|The Hon. George White||September 24, 1962 – April 26, 1963||Progressive Conservative|
|The Hon. Maurice Bourget||April 27, 1963 – January 6, 1966||Liberal|
|The Hon. Sydney Smith||January 7, 1966 – September 4, 1968||Liberal|
|The Hon. Jean-Paul Deschatelets||September 5, 1968 – December 13, 1972||Liberal|
|The Hon. Muriel Fergusson||December 14, 1972 – September 11, 1974||Liberal|
|The Hon. Renaude Lapointe||September 12, 1974 – October 4, 1979||Liberal|
|The Hon. Allister Grosart||October 5, 1979 – March 3, 1980||Progressive Conservative|
|The Hon. Jean Marchand||March 4, 1980 – December 15, 1983||Liberal|
|The Hon. Maurice Riel||December 16, 1983 – November 1, 1984||Liberal|
|The Hon. Guy Charbonneau||November 2, 1984 – December 6, 1993||Progressive Conservative|
|The Rt. Hon. Roméo LeBlanc||December 7, 1993 – November 21, 1994||Liberal|
|The Hon. Gildas Molgat||November 22, 1994 – January 25, 2001||Liberal|
|The Hon. Daniel Hays||January 26, 2001 – February 7, 2006||Liberal|
|The Hon. Noël Kinsella||February 8, 2006 – November 26, 2014||Conservative|
|The Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin||November 27, 2014 – April 23, 2015||Conservative|
|The Hon. Leo Housakos (acting)||April 24, 2015 -||Conservative|
Hays and Kinsella are the only current living former Speakers of the Senate.
Several Speakers have died during their time in office: