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About the Senate - Officers

The presiding officer of the Senate, known as the speaker, is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. The speaker is assisted by a speaker pro tempore (or speaker for the time-being), who is elected by the Senate at the beginning of each parliamentary session. If the speaker is unable to attend, the speaker pro tempore presides instead. Furthermore, the Parliament of Canada Act, passed in 1985, authorizes the speaker to appoint another senator to take his or her place temporarily.
The speaker presides over sittings of the Senate and controls debates by calling on members to speak. If a senator believes that a rule (or standing order) has been breached, he or she may raise a "point of order," on which the speaker makes a ruling. However, the speaker's decisions are subject to appeal to the whole Senate. When presiding, the speaker remains impartial, though he or she still maintains membership in a political party. Unlike the speaker of the House of Commons, the speaker of the Senate does not hold a casting vote, but instead retains their right to vote in the same manner as any other senator (see Procedure below). The current speaker of the Senate is NoC+l A. Kinsella.
The member of the government responsible for steering legislation through the Senate is Leader of the Government in the Senate. The leader is a senator selected by the prime minister, and serves in Cabinet. The leader manages the schedule of the Senate, and attempts to secure the opposition's support for the government's legislative agenda. The opposition equivalent is the leader of the opposition in the Senate, who is selected by his or her counterpart in the House, the leader of the opposition. However, if the Official Opposition in the House is a different party than the Official Opposition in the Senate (as was the case, for example, from 1993 to 2003), then the Senate party chooses its own leader.
Officers of the Senate who are not members include the clerk, the deputy clerk, the law clerk, and several other clerks. These officers advise the speaker and members on the rules and procedure of the Senate. Another officer is the usher of the black rod, whose duties include the maintenance of order and security within the Senate chamber. The usher of the black rod bears a ceremonial black ebony staff, from which the title "black rod" arises. This position is roughly analogous to that of sergeant-at-arms in the House of Commons, but the usher's duties are more ceremonial in nature. The responsibility for security and the infrastructure lie with the Director General of Parliamentary Precinct Services.
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