Saturday, December 14, 2013

New rules to cut speaking time in Parliament; PM must answer questions

A special committee of Parliament has made several sweeping recommendations for changing some of the standing orders, including a reduction in the amount of speaking time to be allowed to a member of the legislature and regular questions to the Prime Minister.

The committee comprises House leader Dr Roodal Moonilal, who laid the report Friday, Speaker Wade Mark, Colm Imbert, Opposition whip Marlene McDonald, Collin Partap, Jairam Seemungal and Delmon Baker.

Here are some key recommendations:
  1. Prime Minister’s Question Time. Any member may ask the PM a question about matters of national importance, or on the general performance of the Government and government agencies. 
  2. The Prime Minister’s Question Time is proposed for a the second sitting of each month and is to last no longer than 30 minutes
  3. Questions to the PM should not exceed 15 seconds and must be asked “without argument or opinion and shall not address more than one matter of general government policy".
  4. Speaking time for MPs to be reduced from the current 75 minutes to a total of 40 minutes (30 minutes and an extension of 10 minutes). Currently, MPs in the Lower House can speak for 45 minutes with a 30-minute extension. 
  5. A 15-minute period for urgent questions. All questions would have to be submitted to the Clerk of the House in advance for approval by the Speaker who will determine if the question relates to a matter that is urgent and has arisen suddenly and he considers to require immediate responses in the public interest. 
  6. A minister would be allowed to decline to answer, if, in his opinion, publication of the answer would be contrary to the public interest.
  7. Questions on the agenda to be deferred once only for a maximum period of 14 days. If the query remains unanswered at the end of the 14 days, the MP who asks the question may ask the Speaker to write to the minister concerned seeking reasons for the delays in answering
  8. A fixed recess. The House must not sit between the first week of the month of July to the first week in the month of September in any year, “unless there are urgent or extraordinary reasons for so doing”.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai