Madam Speaker, I think that as the Majority Leader said, the Leadership exists for guidance purposes to Hon Colleagues who file Questions, so that Questions that are posted are seen to conform to our rules of procedure and also to help the Hon Members themselves make the strongest political points that they may want to achieve. It is not in any way intended to undermine the legitimate rights of Hon Members.
But Madam Speaker, the other thing
that the Majority Leader referred to rather tangentially, is maybe, the Question having been approved on the blind side of Madam Speaker. If I understand it, there are Deputy Speakers and in the absence of Madam Speaker, they act as the Speaker. Madam Speaker, so it does seem to me that the Majority Leader was referring to the possibility of the Question having been admitted by a Deputy Speaker or the other.
Madam Speaker, I think, for record purposes, we should get this straight. Our Standing Orders, Order 13 (2) provides and with your permission, I read:
“Whenever the House is informed by the Clerk-at-the-Table of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker, the First Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of Mr. Speaker in relation to all proceedings of the House until Mr. Speaker resumes the Chair, without any further communication to the House.”
Madam Speaker, the duties of the Deputy Speakers are here explained; they are to perform the duties of Mr. Speaker in relation to all proceedings of the House. So the duties of the Deputy Speakers are, in my view, confined to this Chamber -- presiding and conducting business -- not administrative. Madam Speaker, the point is also reinforced by Order 13 (3) and with your permission, I quote:
“Whenever the House is informed by the Clerk at the Table of the unavoidable absence of both Mr. Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker, the Second Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of the Speaker in accordance with paragraph (2) of this Order.”
Paragraph (2) talks about conducting business, that is proceedings of the House.
Madam Speaker, I think these are the
boundaries set for the Deputy Speakers. They cannot suo motu act for you in matters pertaining to administration unless you specifically so direct. If the practice is going off the mark, Madam Speaker, we should be careful.
I thank you.