The Panorama - May 2018

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The Panorama - May 2018


An Update From Regina's Area Chief of Staff

Bourinot's Rules of Order

In 1876 Henry Martin Robert published his first edition of a manual of parliamentary procedure. Robert was an officer in the US Army who had been asked to oversee some community meetings and the chaos and disorder that ensued motivated him to adopt parliamentary rule for community meetings. In 1884 Sir John George Bourinot, Clerk of the Canadian House of Commons, published a manual on Parliamentary Procedure and Practice which he adapted in 1894 for non-parliamentary meetings. This manual has been revised over the years was eventually renamed Bourinot's Rules of Order. Bourinot's Rules of Order are the rules for conducting meetings set out in the Saskatchewan Health Authority Governance Charter.

The purpose of Bourinot's Rules of Order is to ensure that meetings can be conducted in an orderly fashion with both the views of the majority and the minority being heard and considered. Basic principles include all members having equal rights and that every motion is fully discussed; it is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure these principles are met. The Chair must remain impartial, and does not vote. Any substantive motion, i.e. important motion or one containing a number of considerations should be submitted in writing prior to the meeting. During meetings a motion is made to bring topics forward for discussion. One member of the committee is required to second the motion, thereby indicating that it is worthy of being considered. Seconding a motion does not imply agreement with the motion, rather an indication of its value for discussion. Once a motion is seconded, the person who makes the motion has the right to speak first to explain their motion. Subsequently members of the committee may indicate to the Chair that they wish to speak to the motion and each member will have one opportunity to state their views. It is important during debate that all discussions remain relevant to the motion on the floor and all remarks are addressed to the Chair. When debate is finished, the Chair may call for a vote by asking "all in favour", "all opposed" and finally "all abstained". The Chair typically then announce the vote.

I hope this brief explanation will help physicians be more confident when raising a motion, seconding a motion, or suggesting items for the agenda of the meetings they attend. As physicians your voice can be heard through a variety of meetings and forums within the Saskatchewan Health Authority and I encourage you to engage in these opportunities fully when they arise.

Submitted by: Dr. Juliet Soper, Area Chief of Staff - Regina