Parliament Question Period

The right to seek information and the right to hold the Government accountable are recognized as fundamental to our system of parliamentary government. One of the principal ways by which Members exercise these rights is by asking questions in the House. Questions may be asked orally without notice during Question Period, or they may be submitted in writing with sufficient notice.

A Member who is not satisfied with the answer to an oral question may pursue the matter at greater length during the Adjournment Proceedings, a short question and answer period held at the end of each sitting day, except Fridays. The matter of a written question that has not received a response from the Government within 45 days is automatically referred to a standing committee, unless a Member elects to raise it during Adjournment Proceedings.
 
Conduct of Question Period
Each sitting day, time is set aside for the purpose of asking oral questions.

Pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), "Oral Questions", more commonly known as "Question Period”, follows "Statements by Members" and lasts a maximum of 45 minutes.

The Standing Orders specify that each question should be addressed to a Minister or to a designated spokesperson of the Board of Internal Economy. Members may also put questions concerning committees to the respective committee chairs.
 
Guidelines
Guidelines have been established to provide a framework for the Speaker as he or she presides over Question Period. They allow for a fair degree of discretion in allowing questions, and even wider latitude with regard to supplementary questions.

A question asked by a Member must be brief, seek information, and direct the question to an important matter of some urgency that is within the administrative responsibility of the Government or of the Minister addressed.
 
Government Replies to Oral Questions

Questions, although customarily addressed to specific Ministers, are directed to the Cabinet as a whole.
 
Members may not insist upon receiving answers nor may they insist that specific Ministers respond to their questions.

In response to a question, a Minister may:

  • provide an answer;
  • defer an answer;
  • explain briefly why an answer cannot be provided at that time; or
  • say nothing.