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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.

HOW MANY TIMES YOU ASK?

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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