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The Bowler Hat

The wearing of the bowler hat is one of the more interesting traditions that continues in the Legislative Assembly today.

When a matter of money or legislation is referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration, the Speaker leaves the Chair and another member sits at the table to chair the discussion. The Rules of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island require members to "rise in his or her place, head uncovered, and address the Speaker;" it is thought that the tradition of the bowler hat serves to remind those present in the legislature that the Chair of the Committee of the Whole House is entitled to certain privileges that extend beyond those of a regular member.

Today, that privilege has translated into the Chair of the Committee of the Whole House ceremonially setting the bowler hat on their head for a moment, then removing it and setting it on the table, in recognition of their responsibilities as Chair.

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