Parliamentary Procedure

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Parliamentary procedure at the Legislative Assembly is founded on constitutional and statutory provisions, the Standing Orders, parliamentary practice, and Speakers' decisions. Assembly proceedings are regulated by a vast body of parliamentary rules and practices intended to expedite the business of the Assembly while ensuring the right of each Member to participate in the parliamentary process.

Standing Orders

Standing Orders are the formal written rules adopted by the Assembly to govern its proceedings. The continuing or “standing” nature of these rules means that they remain in effect until the House itself decides to suspend, change, or replace them.

Temporary sessional orders change or supplement existing rules for the session in which they were adopted, while special orders may apply to a single or special occasion. The Clerks, the senior officials of the House, are available to provide procedural information and advice on interpreting the rules.

Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia

The procedural authority of choice at the Legislative Assembly is Parliamentary Practice in British Columbia, 4th Edition, written by E. George MacMinn, QC, OBC – a former Clerk of the House. This guide to the Standing Orders includes detailed explanatory notes, decisions, and helpful precedents.

Speakers' Decisions

Speakers' decisions are an important part of our parliamentary practice and address procedural questions raised by Members. Speakers' decisions interpret and enforce the Standing Orders to preserve order and ensure debates are carried out fairly.

Your first speech in the House

New Members may use their inaugural speech during the Throne Speech debate to introduce their constituency, describe issues of interest to their communities, and comment on the content of the Throne Speech. There are certain protocols to follow when speaking in the House:

  • Stand and address all remarks to the Speaker
  • Refer to Members by the name of their constituency or their position
  • Refer to notes, but do not read prepared speeches or read from a laptop or other electronic device once recognized to speak
  • Observe time limits for individual speeches and debates. See Standing Order 45A
  • Speak only from your own desk

For more information, please consult with the Office of the Clerk or refer to Rules of Debate in the Standing Orders.

Chamber Tips

  • Bow to the Speaker when entering or leaving the Chamber, or when crossing the floor at the far end
  • Assume you are on camera at all times
  • Wait until your microphone is illuminated before beginning to speak
  • Don't pass between a Member speaking and the Chair, or between the Chair and the mace
  • Don't use displays or props at any time

Chamber Tips

Last Updated: May 11, 2017