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Committees and Committee of the Whole House
Standing and special committees
Members typically serve on one or more of the Legislative Assembly’s standing or special committees. Committees examine subjects relevant to their mandates, which are defined in chapter 19 of the Rules. They hold meetings to hear from witnesses (members of the public, experts, representatives of organizations, government personnel, etc.) who have views to contribute for the committee’s consideration. Committees report their activities and the subjects they’ve examined to the House, possibly with recommendations for the House to consider.
Members are encouraged to direct questions about committees to the Clerk and Clerks Assistant.
Committee of the Whole House
Committee of the Whole House is a proceeding used by the House to review bills in detail after second reading or to review estimates of expenditure associated with operating, capital, or supplementary budgets. Committee of the Whole House is a committee in which all members participate. It differs from other proceedings in that:
- the Speaker chooses a member to serve as Chair of the Committee of the Whole House and then leaves the Chamber;
- the Chair of the committee and the promoter of the bill or minister responsible for the estimates to be examined sit at the Table normally occupied by the clerks;
- the promoter/minister may request that a stranger be permitted to join them at the Table to assist in responding to questions about the bill or estimates;
- each individual clause of a bill or estimate amount forms a question that members vote on;
- members may speak about each bill clause or estimate as many times as they would like;
- members may speak from any desk and do not need to stand when speaking;
- members may move motions to amend the bill, or to reduce or eliminate an estimate amount,
- motions do not need a seconder in Committee of the Whole House;
- the motion known as the Previous Question (phrased as “That this question be now put”) may not be moved in Committee of the Whole House;
- after all clauses or estimates are voted on, the committee votes on whether to recommend the bill or estimates as a whole, and reports its conclusion to the Speaker; and,
- recorded divisions (“standing votes”) are not permitted in Committee of the Whole House, but may be undertaken when the Speaker returns to the Chair and the House votes on whether to adopt the report of the committee.