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Point of Order! Procedural or Interruption?

Anyone who has observed a Richmond Hill Council Meeting will notice that there are many calls of "Point of Order" throughout the meeting causing many unnecessary delays.


Below is an example:

Over the course of 7 meetings it was used 79 times

Source: RH Council Meeting videos Collated by resident Pat Pollock

What is a Point of Order?

  • A point of order is a tool, which is used to draw attention to a breach in rules, an irregularity in procedure, the irrelevance or continued repetition of a speaker or the breaching of established practices or contradiction of a previous decision.

  • It can be used at any time during a meeting including interrupting a speaker, but it must be valid.

  • As a point of order concerns the interpretation of the rules of procedure, it is the responsibility of the Chair to determine its merits and to resolve the issue.

  • A point of order is not raised because you disagree with or do not like what is being said.

  • A point of order is not a “viewpoint” that you want to share with the group.

Although Members frequently rise claiming a point of order, genuine points of order rarely occur. Indeed, points of order are often used by Members in attempts to gain the floor to participate in debate; in such cases, the Chair will not allow the Member intervening to continue.

Examples of correct “Points of Order”

  • point of order Mr Chairperson,… the speaker is not speaking to the motion.

  • point of order, …. allowing this person to move this motion contravenes standing order number 34, that the mover of the substantive motion cannot move a procedural motion which closes debate.

  • point of order, …. the speaker is repeating the same points he has already made

  • point of order, …. the motion contravenes our by-laws.

  • point of order, …. the specific facts the speaker is giving are incorrect. (Note: this is not a statement of opinion, but of fact and assumes the person raising the point of order can validate the point)

  • point of order, …. the speaker’s time limit has expired.

  • point of order, …. the language the speaker is using is offensive.

Examples which are not valid points of order

  • point of order, …. that’s not true.

  • point of order, …. I disagree with that.

  • point of order, …. I want to explain why I said that.

  • point of order, …. the speaker shouldn’t be allowed to say that.

  • point of order, …. how long do we have to listen to this?

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