Speaker Nolin in the chamber

The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin

43rd Speaker of the Senate (2014–2015)

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November 27, 2014 – April 23, 2015

The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Mulroney on June 18, 1993 for the senatorial division of De Salaberry (Québec). Born in Montreal on October 30, 1950, Speaker Nolin received an LL.L degree from the University of Ottawa in 1976 and worked as a lawyer.

In the Senate, he served on various committees, including the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs; the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration; the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence; the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations; the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade; the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament; the Senate Special Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act; and the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. Speaker Nolin occupied various leadership positions with the Conservative Party since 1984.

He joined the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, formerly the North Atlantic Assembly, in 1994. He held several positions within its Science and Technology Committee: Special Rapporteur on the Partnership for Peace (1994-1996); Vice-President (1996-2000); President (2000-2004); Principal Rapporteur (2004-2009); Special Rapporteur – Climate Change (2004-2014) and Special Rapporteur on Unmanned Military Systems (2009-2014). He also served on the Bureau of the Assembly as Vice-President - North America (2004-2006) and as Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly Reform Working Group (2005-2014) and Treasurer (2007-2014).

Since 1995, Speaker Nolin was a member of the Cercle des Honoraires of the Régiment de Maisonneuve. On September 4, 2012, the Minister of National Defence appointed him an honorary lieutenant-colonel of the Régiment de Maisonneuve. He was named a Commander of the Order of Saint Lazarus on May 9, 2014.

On November 20, 2013, he was unanimously elected Speaker pro tempore of the Senate and, on November 26, 2014, the Governor General appointed him Speaker of the Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Harper. Senator Nolin served as Speaker until his death on April 23, 2015.

Official photo of the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin

Tributes to the life and legacy of the late Speaker, the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin

Watch video highlights of tributes in the Chamber

Speaker's Rulings

The Speaker shall preserve order and decorum in the Senate. In doing so the Speaker may act without a want of order or decorum being brought to his or her attention. Furthermore, the Speaker shall be authorized to act on his or her own initiative to interrupt any debate to restore order or to enforce the Rules of the Senate. In the case of grave disorder, the Speaker may suspend the sitting of the Senate for a period not to exceed three hours.

The Speaker shall decide points of order and when so doing shall state the reasons for the decision together with references to the rule or other written authority applicable to the case.

With respect to the Conflict of Interest Code for Senators, the authority of the Speaker is limited to matters expressly incorporated into these rules.

When the Speaker has been asked to decide any question of privilege or point of order he or she shall determine when sufficient argument has been adduced to decide the matter, whereupon the Speaker shall so indicate to the Senate, and continue with the item of business which had been interrupted or proceed to the next item of business, as the case may be.


November 27, 2014

Many of us, I suspect, are familiar with the tradition in the House of Commons when a new Speaker takes the Chair for the first time. There is always a demonstration of resistance or reluctance. The practice here in the Senate is somewhat different. While I was escorted to the chair by the two Leaders, there was no pretence of reluctance. I willingly accepted the commission of the Governor General to serve as Speaker of the Senate. What is important to note is that my commission is in substance no different than the one that we all received when we were appointed to this House. On this basis, I see us all as equals. As appointed parliamentarians, as Senators, we should treat each other with the same dignity and respect whether we sit with the Government, the Opposition, or as Independents. In this way, we can work better together in carrying out our shared responsibility of fulfilling the constitutional mandate of the Senate, to provide sober second thought in the important work we do here. My goal as Speaker is to work with all of you so that the Senate can continue to fulfill its parliamentary duties effectively for the good of the nation. This is my pledge to you. Thank you.