Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order regarding a motion that was passed yesterday evening. The motion adopted the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
The report had all-party agreement at the committee level and yesterday was adopted unanimously in the House. The report recommended standing order changes regarding Private Members' Business.
Mr. Speaker plays a very important role in this matter. You are the protector of the private member and the keeper of our rules.
In my point of order I will argue that some of the recommendations in the report could clearly be implemented now and some may require the assistance of your clerks to draft standing order changes.
I argue that recommendations Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 8 should be implemented immediately. These changes are very briefly as follows.
When a division is taken on a private member's item, the calling of the vote will begin with the sponsor and will then proceed beginning with the back row on the sponsor side of the House and then the back row on the other side of the House. This recommendation is intended to protect private members from being intimidated by the front benches.
There is now a process in place whereby a law clerk and a parliamentary counsel of the House of Commons will be appointed to be responsible for the provision of legislative drafting services for members. That person or persons will be provided with sufficient staff.
Priority will now be given to the drafting of private members' bills and motions for members who have not previously had a bill drafted during that session of parliament.
Recommendations Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6 would require standing order changes. I will comment briefly on these changes.
An item outside the order of precedence that has been jointly seconded by 100 members will be placed at the bottom of the order of precedence. If a bill or motion has merit, it will now move forward instead of being subjected to the lottery draw which is often frustrating and humiliating for the sponsor.
There is protection from the threat of prorogation. A private member can now reintroduce a bill at this stage.