Today in Politics and Podcast: Special Debate on Indigenous Justice

Today in Politics and Podcast: Special Debate on Indigenous Justice

UPDATED February 14, 2018 9:22amET


The “experience of Indigenous peoples within Canada’s justice system” is the subject of a take-note debate in the House of Commons this evening.

MPs switch to a Committee of the Whole for this style of debate, which looks at broader national issues rather than specific bills. MPs can speak as many times as they wish – 10 minutes at a time.

About Committees of the Whole

Committees of the Whole date back to the 1500s and the creation of the committee system in England’s Parliament. Major bills were debated in a less restrictive forum than formal proceedings of the House of Commons overseen by a Speaker. Canadian legislatures adopted the custom with little change until 1968, when the current system of standing committees was established.

Today, the House of Commons switches to this less formal setting on rare occasions.

The Speaker leaves their customary chair and moves to the Clerk’s seat at the main table on the Commons floor. MPs can speak more often than  a normal House debate.

Also on the Order Paper: a ways and means motion on the governance agreement between the federal government and the Crees of Eeyou Istchee (Grand Council of the Crees) in Quebec.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak on Indigenous governance following question period.

The government’s environmental assessment bill (C-69) is also on the order paper after being introduced last week.

-Andrew Thomson