The use of closure is highly controversial. The Opposition cries, "Dictatorship!"; the Government cries, "Filibuster!" Added to the Standing Orders in 1913, the rule was used 18 times before 1982, 4 times during the PIPELINE DEBATE in 1956. It was used to bring on the vote for concurrence in the flag committee report in 1964, and to add 3 new Standing Orders: SO 115, 116 and 117, which provide for limitation of debate at each stage of a bill's passage through the House (see ALLOTMENT OF TIME), and in 1987 on the debate on CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. It was used as recently as 1995 to limit debate to the Liberal government's Electoral Boundries Readjustment Act, an Act which ultimately failed to gain approval in the Conservative-dominated Senate.
Author JOHN B. STEWART Revised: JOHN C. COURTNEY