Members of Parliament are gathering in the House of Commons to elect a new Speaker, where the seven candidates vying for the key role are making last-minute pitches to their peers.
It will be a day for the Canadian political history books, as Canada’s 38th Speaker is elected to lead the chamber as its impartial adjudicator after a time of international headline-grabbing acrimony.
The extremely rare mid-session Speaker election is on account of Anthony Rota’s resignation last week over his errant and embarrassing invitation and recognition of a man who fought alongside the Nazis in the Second World War during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to Parliament.
Here are the MPs who are rising in the House to make their case for why they want the key role and the perks it comes with:
- Liberal MP Alexandra Mendes;
- Liberal MP Greg Fergus;
- Liberal MP Sean Casey;
- Liberal MP Peter Schiefke;
- Conservative MP Chris d’Entremont;
- NDP MP Carol Hughes; and
- Green MP Elizabeth May.
Just as the House began sitting on Tuesday, Liberal MP Stephane Lauzon, who had been on the list as of Monday evening, took himself out of the running.
The Liberal caucus held an early morning meeting on Tuesday to discuss the important vote, which is being conducted using secret ranked ballots.
With Dean of the House Bloc Quebecois MP Louis Plamondon presiding for his sixth time, after candidates speak to why they’d be best to uphold the traditions of the House, some last-minute lobbying will take place behind the scenes.
“Before we begin I would like to say to Mr. Rota who proceeded me, that I have great admiration for all of the excellent work he accomplished during his two terms as Speaker. He was an excellent Speaker, let us commend him for the great work he did,” Plamondon said in French, to applause.
Then, MPs — who have to be in the Commons to cast their ballots — will file in behind the curtains to vote and the House administration will tally the results.
This process could take some time, and once a winner is named, some procedural pomp and circumstance involving key officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon are expected.
“I wish to inform the House that her excellency the governor general has seen fit to authorize this chamber to proceed with the election of a Speaker,” Trudeau said, kicking off the proceedings.
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