Speaker of the Senate of Canada

Liberal Party of Canada Conservative Party of Canada (historical) Senate of Canada
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Speaker of the Senate of Canada
George Furey 2016.jpg
George Furey

since December 3, 2015
StyleThe Honourable
AppointerGovernor General on the advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural holderJoseph Édouard Cauchon
FormationNovember 5, 1867
Salary$208,000 (2017)[1]
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The Speaker of the Senate of Canada (French: Président du Sénat du Canada) is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada. The Speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, and presides over debates and voting in the senate. The current Speaker is George Furey who assumed office upon nomination by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on December 3, 2015, succeeding Leo Housakos.[2]

Appointment and precedence

The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Governor General of Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Monarch, and on the Constitutional advice of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. By convention, however, this advice is generally expressed exclusively by the Prime Minister of Canada (the "Governor-in-Council").

The Speaker of the Senate of Canada takes precedence only after the Queen of Canada, Elizabeth II, her Viceroy, the Governor General of Canada, other members of the Canadian Royal Family, former Governors General of Canada and their spouses, the Prime Minister of Canada, former Prime Ministers of Canada, and the Chief Justice of Canada in the Canadian Order of Precedence—and, therefore, is qualified to represent Canada at official state functions, both in Canada and abroad.

History of the speakership

The role of the Speaker in the Senate was originally based on that of the Lord Chancellor in the United Kingdom. In keeping with the role of the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the Senate was expected to be partisan; the Speaker of the Senate would, at all times, have the right to leave the chair, to participate in debates, and to hold an original vote—unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons, who has a vote only in the event of a tie.

The Speaker of the Senate was also similar to the Lord Chancellor in being considered equal to other Senators. Decisions of the chair were not binding on the Senate unless the Speaker's decision was also the pleasure of a majority of Senators. Also similar to the practice of the Lords was that the Speaker would not intervene unless another Senator brought the matter to the attention of the Speaker. Decisions from the chair remain subject to appeals from the Senate.

Canada has more recently departed from the traditions of the House of Lords, notably since 1991, when new rules for the Senate were adopted. The new Standing Orders have made it clear that the Speaker of the Senate could intervene without being called to do so by the Senate. The new Guidelines move the Senate further from the model of the self-governing practices of the House of Lords, and more toward the Chair-governed customs of the House of Commons.

The position was preceded by the Speaker of the Speaker of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada.

Role of the Speakership

The Speaker of the Senate is historically responsible for deciding on points of order, only once risen by another Senator. However, with the 1991 amendments to the Standing Orders and Guidelines that govern the Senate of Canada, the Speakership has generally begun to assert its right to intervene, where appropriate, without being prompted to do so. Therefore, the Speaker is, broadly speaking, responsible for the maintenance of order and decorum in the Senate.

As a high-ranking individual on the order of precedence, the Speaker of the Senate often receives heads of state and heads of government — this role is not merely ceremonial; the speaker is a real delegate and representative of Canada abroad. They are expected to represent Canada internationally, and sometimes visit other nations on behalf of the Government of Canada.

While the Speaker is an officer of the Senate, the Speaker as Senator also remains a representative of the Province from which he or she was appointed. Unlike the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Speaker of the Senate of Canada has the right to participate in debates on behalf of the citizens of their Province or Territory. The Speaker has the right and power to cast an original vote, and to simultaneously preside over the voting process (rather than the Speaker merely delivering a tiebreaking vote, the question before the House is deemed to have been rejected).

Another significant difference between the two speakers is that the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada holds a management role within the administration of the House of Commons of Canada as Chair of the Board of Internal Economy. The Speaker of the Senate holds no similar role, as the (Senate) Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets, and Administration is chaired by another Senator.

In the absence of the Speaker in the Red Chamber, his duties are carried by the Speaker pro tempore, a Senator appointed at the beginning of each session by the Senate. Should both chair officers be absent, any Senator can be called upon to take the chair. Irrespective of who is in the chair, their decisions hold the same force as that of the Speaker of the Senate of Canada.


The Speaker of the Senate performs the Senate Speaker's Parade to mark the opening of a sitting in the Senate with the help of the Black Rod.[3]

List of Speakers of the Senate

The Speaker of the Senate occupies the chair in front of the thrones.


Speaker Tenure Party Appointed by
The Hon. Joseph Cauchon November 5, 1867 – May 16, 1869 Independent Conservative Sir John A. Macdonald
The Hon. John Ross May 17, 1869 – May 26, 1869 Conservative
The Hon. Joseph Cauchon May 27, 1869 – June 2, 1872 Independent Conservative
The Hon. Amos Botsford June 3, 1872 – June 5, 1872 Conservative
The Hon. Joseph Cauchon June 6, 1872 – June 30, 1872 Independent Conservative
The Hon. Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau February 21, 1872 – January 8, 1874 Conservative
The Hon. David Christie January 9, 1874 – October 16, 1878 Liberal Alexander Mackenzie
The Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot November 7, 1878 – February 10, 1880 Conservative Sir John A. Macdonald
The Hon. Sir David Macpherson February 11, 1880 – February 15, 1880 Conservative
The Hon. Amos Botsford February 16, 1880 – April 18, 1880 Conservative
The Hon. Sir David Macpherson April 19, 1880 – October 16, 1883 Conservative
The Hon. William Miller October 17, 1883 – April 3, 1887 Liberal-Conservative
The Hon. Josiah Plumb April 4, 1887 – March 12, 1888 Conservative
The Hon. George Allan March 17, 1888 – April 26, 1891 Conservative
The Hon. Sir Alexandre Lacoste April 27, 1891 – September 13, 1891 Conservative
The Hon. John Jones Ross September 14, 1891 – July 12, 1896 Conservative John Abbott
The Hon. Sir Charles Pelletier July 13, 1896 – January 28, 1901 Liberal Sir Wilfrid Laurier
The Hon. Lawrence Power January 29, 1901 – January 8, 1905 Liberal
The Hon. Raoul Dandurand January 9, 1905 – January 13, 1909 Liberal
The Hon. James Kerr January 14, 1909 – October 22, 1911 Liberal
The Hon. Auguste Landry October 23, 1911 – June 2, 1916 Conservative Sir Robert Borden
The Hon. Joseph Bolduc June 3, 1916 – February 6, 1922 Nationalist Conservative
The Hon. Hewitt Bostock February 7, 1922 – May 12, 1930 Liberal William Lyon Mackenzie King
The Hon. Arthur Hardy May 13, 1930 – September 2, 1930 Liberal
The Hon. Pierre Blondin September 3, 1930 – January 10, 1936 Conservative R. B. Bennett
The Hon. Walter Foster January 11, 1936 – May 8, 1940 Liberal William Lyon Mackenzie King
The Hon. Georges Parent May 9, 1940 – December 14, 1942 Liberal
The Hon. Thomas Vien January 23, 1943 – August 23, 1945 Liberal
The Hon. James King August 24, 1945 – August 2, 1949 Liberal
The Hon. Elie Beauregard August 3, 1949 – October 13, 1953 Liberal Louis St. Laurent
The Hon. Wishart Robertson October 14, 1953 – October 3, 1957 Liberal
The Hon. Mark Drouin October 4, 1957 – September 23, 1962 Progressive Conservative John George Diefenbaker
The Hon. George White September 24, 1962 – April 26, 1963 Progressive Conservative
The Hon. Maurice Bourget April 27, 1963 – January 6, 1966 Liberal Lester Pearson
The Hon. Sydney Smith January 7, 1966 – September 4, 1968 Liberal
The Hon. Jean-Paul Deschatelets September 5, 1968 – December 13, 1972 Liberal Pierre Trudeau
The Hon. Muriel Fergusson December 14, 1972 – September 11, 1974 Liberal
The Hon. Renaude Lapointe September 12, 1974 – October 4, 1979 Liberal
The Hon. Allister Grosart October 5, 1979 – March 3, 1980 Progressive Conservative Joe Clark
The Hon. Jean Marchand March 4, 1980 – December 15, 1983 Liberal Pierre Trudeau
The Hon. Maurice Riel December 16, 1983 – November 1, 1984 Liberal
The Hon. Guy Charbonneau November 2, 1984 – December 6, 1993 Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney
The Rt. Hon. Roméo LeBlanc December 7, 1993 – November 21, 1994 Liberal Jean Chrétien
The Hon. Gildas Molgat November 22, 1994 – January 25, 2001 Liberal
The Hon. Daniel Hays January 26, 2001 – February 7, 2006 Liberal
The Hon. Noël Kinsella February 8, 2006 – November 26, 2014 Conservative Stephen Harper
The Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin November 27, 2014 – April 23, 2015 Conservative
The Hon. Leo Housakos April 24, 2015 - December 3, 2015 Conservative
The Hon. George Furey December 3, 2015 – present Independent Justin Trudeau

Hays, Kinsella and Housakos are the only current living former Speakers of the Senate.

Several Speakers have died during their time in office:

External links


  1. ^ "Indemnities, Salaries and Allowances". Parliament of Canada.
  2. ^ Gloria Galloway (3 December 2015). "Liberals setting up advisory board to fill empty Senate seats". Globe and Mail.
  3. ^ "The Senate Speaker's Parade". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2013-06-16.