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§ 96. “Choose a Senator to be the President.”

The Lord Chancellor or Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England is the Prolocutor or Lord Speaker of the House of Lords by prescription. It is singular, says May, that the President of that deliberative body is not necessarily a member of it. It has even happened that the Lord Keeper has officiated for years as Speaker without being raised to the peerage. (May's Parl. Prac., 10th ed., 1893, p. 184.) Under the Constitution of the United States the Vice-President of the Republic is elected by popular suffrage, at the same time as the President; he is next in succession to the President, and is ex officio the presiding officer of the Senate. The Republican Senate, like the aristocratic House of Lords, has no voice in the selection of its official head. By the Canadian Constitution the Governor-General is authorized from time to time to appoint a senator to be Speaker of the Senate and to remove him and appoint another in his stead. The Constitution of


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the Commonwealth vests in the Senate itself the power of choosing and removing its President. The President is not elected for any particular term, but he will cease to hold office (1) if he ceases to be a senator; (2) if he is removed from office by a vote of the Senate; (3) if he resigns his office.

The duties of President are those usually assigned to and exercised by the presiding officers of legislative bodies; among these may be—to maintain order and decorum; to enforce the rules of debate; to recognize a senator who wishes to speak and thus to give him the floor; to put the question before the Senate; to ascertain and declare the will of the Senate, either on the voices, or as the result of a division; to appoint tellers to take a division; to supervise the officers of the House and see that the votes and proceedings are properly recorded, so far as those duties are not otherwise regulated by the standing orders of the Senate, passed in conformity with the Constitution. (Foster, Comm. I., p. 501.) One function in particular appears to be recognized as the particular privilege of the presiding officer of the Upper House of every Parliament constructed on the British model; it is the right to present to the representative of the Crown a joint address of both Houses. According to the English practice, when a joint address is to be presented by both Houses to the Queen, the Lord Chancellor and the House of Lords and the Speaker and the House of Commons proceed in state to the palace at the time appointed. On reaching the palace the two Houses assemble in a chamber adjoining the throne room, and when her Majesty is prepared to receive them the doors are thrown open and the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker advance, side by side, followed by the members of the two Houses respectively. The Lord Chancellor reads the address and presents it to her Majesty, who then returns an answer, and both Houses retire. (May, 10th ed. p. 430.) More important, however, than such ceremonial functions will be the duty of the President of the Senate to assist in the enforcement of the law of the Constitution, and in particular to see that the privileges of the Senate, such as those contained in sections 53, 54, 55, and 53, are not invaded.

The Constitution makes no express provision for the salary of the President. The Federal Parliament, however, has ample power to appropriate a salary for the office under section 51—xxxix.

Absence of President.

18. Before or during any absence of the President 97, the Senate may choose a senator to perform his duties in his absence.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, the clause began “In case of the absence of the President.” In the Adelaide Bill of 1897 these introductory words were omitted. At the Sydney session, the words “Before or during any absence of the President” were introduced as a drafting amendment.

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