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Speech in Senate Chamber: Senator Cools raises a Point of Order regarding Debates of the Senate showing a motion moved by Senator Stratton when no such motion was moved.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order that I believe can be clarified quickly. I am referring to the Debates of the Senate of yesterday, February 12, 2004, immediately following on the intervention of Honourable Senator Banks. The record states clearly, "On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned."

Honourable senators, my recollection is that yesterday, when the order was called, Senator Banks spoke for a few moments and at the end of that process, since Senator Tkachuk was holding the debate from the previous day, all that needed to have happened was for the debate to fall back into Senator Tkachuk's name.

My recollection of the events yesterday was that Senator Stratton moved no motion whatsoever. He just said "stand," yet, it appears from the record that he made a motion. In actual fact, there was no need for a motion because the floor was yielded by Senator Tkachuk to Senator Banks. The adjourned debate would have just fallen back to Senator Tkachuk.

I do not know how this has happened, but it is not in order and is not proper. In actual fact, once a motion to adjourn has been made, and the next day an honourable senator rises and says "stand," there is no need for another motion for adjournment because "stand" means that the adjourned debate stands over. The stand is on the strength of the first or the previous adjournment motion. I do not know if there is some explanation to this meaning, but there is something wrong in the record of what transpired yesterday.

This record says very clearly that Senator Stratton made a motion. Senator Stratton is not here now, but Senator Stratton moved no motion yesterday to adjourn that debate. The debate should have continued to stand adjourned in Senator Tkachuk's name as by the order of the Senate from the previous day when Senator Tkachuk moved the adjournment.

I do not know if this is a mistake of some kind or if the record can be corrected, but I have no doubt that Senator Stratton yesterday moved no such motion and the record should not be saying that he did move a motion. I do not know if anyone else has noticed this, but perhaps it could be clarified quickly.

The Hon. the Speaker: I thank the Honourable Senator Cools for giving me notice of this concern. The record stands, but the Honourable Senator Cools is quite right; my recollection, as well, is that Senator Stratton simply used the word "stand." However, we have a rule that I had been made aware of by Honourable Senator Banks, which I will read. Honourable senators will recall that Senator Banks had spoken to the motion.

37(1) No Senator shall speak more than once. However, if a material part of the Senator's speech has been misunderstood, the Senator may speak again in the same debate. In such a case, the Senator, with leave of the Senate, shall be permitted no more than one period of five minutes to explain that part of the speech which was misunderstood. In so doing, the Senator shall not introduce new matters.

Senator Banks asked for leave. I asked if leave was granted and leave was granted. Senator Banks actually spoke pursuant to the rule. Our practice is that following an intervention such as a speech, we would have the process that was followed, which was an actual adjournment of the debate.

Perhaps the proper procedure would have been to say, "Senator Stratton, would you please use the words, `I move the adjournment of the debate'?" I skipped over that, thinking that honourable senators would understand that we were simply following the rules. In the past, we have not made much of observing precise wording on these occasions. In any event, that is the explanation as to why we proceeded as we did.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I thought I was making myself clear. Perhaps I was not. My point was not related to Senator Banks' intervention or the rightness or propriety of his intervention. His intervention was perfectly in order. I had no problems with that. Honourable senators were pleased to agree to have him make the correction. That is not what I am speaking about.

The procedure should have been that as he made that intervention, which he was properly allowed to do, the adjourned debate should have fallen back; that is, the debate should automatically have fallen back to Senator Tkachuk without the need for any motion or intervention. Obviously, Senator Stratton understood that. He just said "stand"; in other words, stand over, as it was before.

What His Honour is saying essentially is that he spoke for Senator Stratton or made an innovation on Senator Stratton's part. It should be clarified that once a senator says "stand," there is no need for a new motion because "stand" means that the old motion standover until whenever. I wanted to make that clear.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I do not wish to prolong this matter; hence I will make a ruling.

I did not think that anything that Senator Banks did was outside of our regular practices. Rule 37(1) provides specifically for what occurred.

When we have an intervention such as a speech, which is provided for in the rule, the normal practice is that the debate is adjourned. It may be adjourned in the name of the same senator, although occasionally it is not, but we have not followed a precise way of doing that. The only issue that I can think of that is a problem here is that Senator Stratton did not use the words, "I move the adjournment of the debate" but rather said "stand." I put words in his mouth, I guess, and perhaps I will take this as an admonition to myself that I must be more careful in the future, and I will try to be.

However, my ruling is that the proceeding that took place is within the rules and, in particular, within the provisions of the rule that Senator Banks used to intervene a second time and that the process that was followed is not out of order.

The remainder of this day's Senate Debates are available here.