A brass rail known as the Bar of the House blocks entry to the
Legislative Chamber. This barrier cannot be crossed by anyone who is not a Member of the Legislative Assembly or an authorized official. If the
Speaker wants to address someone on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, that person may be summoned to the Bar. Orders to appear at the Bar of the House are rarely given, but they may occur if the Assembly wishes to praise or congratulate an individual or, conversely, to interrogate someone.
In 1917, the secretary-treasurer of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was summoned to the Bar, but refused to answer questions about electoral campaign contributions. He was found to be in contempt and was taken into custody by the
Sergeant-at-Arms and held for a month. He had a bed in what was once a lounge for
Cabinet ministers and had his meals at the nearby Empress Hotel, accompanied by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
There are several cases in B.C.'s past of people being summoned to the Bar for writings that were considered to be insulting to the Assembly. One such case occurred in 1892, when the owner and editor of the Daily Columbian were brought before the Bar to answer for libel accusations against certain Members of the Legislative Assembly.
In happier circumstances, provincial archivist Willard Ireland was called to the Bar in 1954 to receive the old mace into his care when a new mace was put into use. The members of the board of directors of the B.C. Centennial Committee were also called to the Bar to be congratulated on their "tremendous service" in 1959. In 1973, Ned DeBeck,
the longest serving Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, was honoured by being called to the Bar on his 90th birthday, at which time he was told he had been designated as Queen's Counsel.
In 1998, a special sitting of the House marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of the present Parliament Buildings included an address to the Assembly by former MLA Mark Rose on behalf of all former MLAs. Later that year, Nisga'a Chief Dr. Joseph Gosnell addressed the Assembly during its deliberations on the
first modern-day treaty in B.C.
Others called to the Bar of the House include:
William Scow and Frank Assu, February 14, 1950
Scow, president of the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia, and Assu, president of the North American Brotherhood, spoke to the Assembly to mark the granting of franchise to Indigenous peoples in B.C.
Ashley Morton, February 10, 1998
Spoke to the Assembly as a representative of the B.C. Youth Parliament on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the present Parliament Buildings.
The B.C. Lions Football Team, November 22, 2006
Representatives from the B.C. Lions were presented at the Bar to mark their 2006 Grey Cup win, but did not speak.
Rick Hansen, May 30, 2007
The president and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation was presented at the Bar to mark the 20th anniversary of the Man in Motion tour, but did not speak.
Kim Baird, October 15, 2007
Chief Baird of the Tsawwassen First Nation spoke to the Assembly about the
Charlie Cootes, Violet Mundy, Therese Smith, Robert Dennis Senior, and Bert Mack, November 21, 2007
On the occasion of the introduction of the
Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act, the following individuals addressed the Assembly: Chief Councillor Cootes of the Uchucklesaht First Nation; Chief Councillor Mundy of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation; Chief Councillor Smith of the Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h' First Nation; Chief Councillor Dennis Senior of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations; Hereditary Chief Mack of the Toquaht Nation.
The B.C. Lions Football Team, April 26, 2012
Representatives from the B.C. Lions were presented at the Bar to mark their 2012 Grey Cup win, but did not speak.
Rick Hansen, May 1, 2012
Rick Hansen addressed the Assembly to mark the 25th anniversary of the Man in Motion tour.
Clint Williams, February 14, 2013
Chief Clint Williams of the Tla'amin First Nation spoke about the Tla'amin Treaty.
The University of British Columbia Football Team, April 4, 2016
Representatives from the UBC Thunderbirds football team were presented at the Bar to mark their 2015 Vanier Cup win, but did not speak.