Inside Politics

Commons committees to shrink by two seats

It's about to get a bit cozier around House of Commons committee tables.

Under a rule change adopted quietly -- and unanimously -- this afternoon, from now on, committee membership lists will drop from 12 to 10 MPs, with the Conservatives and the New Democrats each giving up one seat in order to maintain the current ratio. 

The move was triggered by a report from the procedure and house affairs committee. 

The committee provided no rationale for the cutback, but was nevertheless adopted on the spot without so much as a moment of debate, and nary a peep of protest from the opposition benches.  

Then again, it's not hard to imagine caucus staffers breathing a collective sigh of relief at having one fewer seat to fill during particularly lengthy or late-night committee sessions.  

The full text of that report: 

That, (a) on the first sitting day following the first adjournment of the House, pursuant to Standing Order 28(2), after the House concurs in this report, Standing Orders 104(1) and 104(2) each be amended by replacing the word "twelve" with the word "ten";  

(b) for the remainder of the 41st Parliament, once paragraph (a) of this Order comes into effect, the ten Members on each Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Orders 104(1) and 104(2), as amended by paragraph (a) of this Order, be composed of six Members from the government party, three Members from the Official Opposition, and one Member from the Liberal Party;

(c) in relation to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, (i) the members serving on the said Committee be appointed by the Whip of each party depositing with the Clerk of the House a list of his or her party's members of the Committee no later than 6:00 p.m. on the day on which paragraph (a) of this Order comes into effect, provided that any future changes to the membership of the Committee be effected in the usual manner, and (ii) the Committee shall prepare and report to the House, during the ten sitting days after paragraph (a) of this Order comes into effect, lists of Members to compose the Standing Committees of the House pursuant to Standing Order 104(2);

(d) and Standing Order 106(1) shall be deemed to apply with respect to the report presented to the House pursuant to paragraph (c) of this Order; and

(e) for the remainder of the 41st Parliament, Standing Order 106(4) be amended by replacing the words "four members" with the words "three members".

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