Ministers as committee members — a rarity, it seems


Today, John Baird signed into the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics— or #ETHI, as it’s known on Twitter. He’s a minister, remember, and they don’t tend to do that all that much.

It’s apparently quite rare for ministers to actually do that, actually, according to this footnote to Chapter 20 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice (2nd edition, 2009). But as rare as it is, the last example wasn’t all that long ago.

If you clicked through to that footnote, you’ll already know the answer to this question. But if not, take a wild guess. Which minister was the last one to sit on a standing committee of the House of Commons?

The answer (from that footnote, emphasis mine):

There have been exceptions: for example, Allan MacEachen was named to replace Mitchell Sharp on the Striking Committee during the Second Session of the Thirtieth Parliament (1976‑77) (Journals, November 1, 1976, p. 92). In 1990, Marcel Danis, who, as Deputy Speaker of the House, had been appointed Chair of the Special Committee on the Review of the Parliament of Canada Act, continued as Chair of the Committee even after his appointment to Cabinet (Journals, March 6, 1990, p. 1290). During the First Session of the Thirty‑Ninth Parliament (2006‑07), Jason Kenney continued to be a member of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, even after becoming Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) in the course of the session. He also continued to chair the Subcommittee until the end of the session. See, for example, Minutes of Proceedings, May 29, 2007, Meeting No. 20. During the Second Session of the Thirty‑Ninth Parliament, Mr. Kenny was again a member of this Subcommittee. See, for example, Minutes of Proceedings, June 17, 2008, Meeting No. 22.


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