House of Commons Hansard #1 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Election of Speaker

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Chair and hon. members, first let me also congratulate the members present today. Whether this is your first term or, like you, Mr. Chair and the dean of the House, your ninth, I am sure you will agree that there is nothing like entering the House of Commons for the first time after an election.

If I can beg the indulgence of those members who heard my speech in the 40th Parliament in a similar circumstance, I would like to use the words of Speaker William Lenthall to describe the nature of the position of speaker.

When King Charles went into the House in 1642 and demanded to know the whereabouts of certain MPs, Speaker Lenthall told the king:

May it please Your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here....

In my view, that is the primary role of the Speaker. The Speaker must serve the House first. It is the Speaker's responsibility to ensure that all members can exercise their rights and privileges in the House. The Speaker's authority comes from all the members, and that allows the House to function properly.

I believe I can carry on that legacy thanks to the experience I have gained over the last several years. I have spent the last five years in the Speaker's chair and, up until about an hour ago, as deputy speaker. Before that, I was the assistant deputy speaker from 2006 to 2008.

It is an old maxim that one learns by doing and I have certainly learned a great deal with first-hand experience in the chair. Experience and expertise should count for a lot and, while every candidate has many different experiences in different areas that will no doubt be helpful to them, I believe there is nothing quite like on-the-job training. As deputy speaker, I learned the rules, procedures and precedents while actually being in the chair.

In speaking with many members, I have received very positive feedback on the impartial and fair way I have presided over the House. I have always taken care to ensure that all parties and, indeed, all individual members were treated fairly while I presided.

I have heard some feedback about my age and I know that I am getting quite old now. The current speaker of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, Mr. John Bercow, also faced questions about his age as he was relatively young when he successfully ran for speaker. I am sure he will not mind my retelling one of his stories. In his speech asking members for their support, one particular MP said to him:

Certainly not, Bercow. You are not just too young; you are far too young—given that, in my judgment, the Speaker ought to be virtually senile.

I hope that no one here feels that way.

Many of you have spoken to me about decorum and courtesy.

I absolutely agree that the speaker needs to play a more assertive role in improving the tone of debate in this place. I believe it is time for the speaker to use the Standing Orders that already exist and are available to more strictly enforce the rules regarding behaviour.

When I was in the chair, often throughout debate we would see particular members, and I will not mention any names, consistently be disruptive and discourteous to their colleagues. Because their names were on a list, they would stand in question period, give a statement and expect the floor to be given to them. We should have a system and a speaker in place to ensure that members do not receive respect from their colleagues until they learn to give it.

Rest assured that I will make certain that members who refuse to follow the rules of debate will not be allowed to speak until they have demonstrated the respect deserved by an institution as important as the House of Commons.

In the last Parliament, I also noticed the way toxic language has crept into debate. We have a list of unparliamentary words but we need to go beyond that. I do not think unparliamentary language should be constricted to only a technical list. The speaker should ensure that members follow not just the letter of the rules regarding unparliamentary language but the spirit as well.

Base name calling and questioning the motives of other hon. members create a toxic environment, which I think is what Canadians feel let down the most about. By showing each other the mutual respect that we would expect from anyone else is very important.

As Speaker, I would like to see a respectful and courteous House of Commons in which members can freely discuss laws and ideas, knowing that their rights and privileges are protected. We have a duty to all Canadians to ensure that the House functions properly.

To my francophone colleagues, I can say that I learned French in school for 13 years, but when I moved to Saskatchewan, I forgot some vocabulary and verb conjugations. However, I am making a concerted effort to improve my French. I am learning the subjunctive, despite the imperfect nature of my discourse.

Protecting the rights of individual MPs is also an important task for any Speaker. If you select me, I will ensure that each member has the right to be heard. Our rights should be protected collectively, but each individual MP needs to have his or her rights upheld as well.

Based upon my experience, my passion for this place, and my fair enforcement of the rules, I humbly ask for your support.

Election of Speaker

Noon

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

I will now call upon Mr. Bruce Stanton, the hon. member for the electoral district of Simcoe North, to address the House for not more than five minutes.

Election of Speaker

June 2nd, 2011 / noon

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Chair, this being the first opportunity I have to speak in the 41st Parliament, I would like to take time to thank the great people of Simcoe North for giving me their confidence for a third term.

I would like to congratulate the hon. members who have been elected and welcome those who are sitting here for the first time.

Canadians have elected their first majority Parliament in 11 years. It is the first time since 2004 that a federal election is not looming and it is a first term for more than one-third of hon. members. We have an opportunity to make the House of Commons work better for Canadians. Today is a big part of that; our choice for Speaker.

To help inform members in order to make a decision today, I would like to take a moment to give some of my background, relate some of my experience and share my thoughts on the role and responsibilities of Speaker.

During the 25 years I spent learning to run our family's tourism business in central Ontario, it became clear to me that our success relied on the relationships we built with the people we worked with: our family members, clients, staff and competitors.

We know that the same holds true for the work we do in public life. Listening to and understanding our constituents, colleagues, team members, volunteers, and even our political opponents, greatly determines our accomplishments.

This is the life experience that has guided my work in public life to this day. They are the lessons which helped me in chairing the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in the last Parliament.

In committee, I learned that the judicious and impartial use of procedural rules and profound respect for each member allowed the proceedings to take place in a civil and frank manner.

We are all aware that Canadians would like to see an improvement in the level of civility and decorum in the House. So, too, I expect, would members.

The difficulty lies in balancing the protection of a member's rights and privileges—freedom of speech—with respect for order and decorum. It is a careful balance, one that the Speaker must maintain.

As a servant of the House, the Speaker can only preside within the limits that the House and hon. members grant.

Achieving an improvement in civility and decorum will take a combined effort, the will of members, the fair and consistent application of procedural rules by the Speaker, and a strong working relationship among the Speaker and our House leaders and whips. This is a task that I would look forward to working through so that Canadians could take greater pride with our work here.

To conclude, I believe it is crucial that the Speaker be able to communicate in both official languages. My French teacher has told me that I am at an intermediate level and that, with some hard work, I could be functionally bilingual within a year. I am making that commitment here before you, Mr. Presiding Officer, and before the members.

I would like to thank the hon. members for having listened to me today. I would be honoured to have your support.

I thank hon. members for your consideration today and I would be honoured to have your support.

Election of Speaker

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

I now call upon Mr. Merv Tweed, the hon. member for Brandon—Souris, to address the House for not more than five minutes.

Election of Speaker

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would first like to congratulate everyone who was re-elected and welcome all the newly elected members. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents in Brandon—Souris for their unfailing support.

Brandon—Souris is located in the southwest corner of Manitoba, a province which I call le coeur du Canada, because we are the heart of this body called Canada. Manitoba is also home to Canada's newest NHL hockey team of which we are all very proud.

I am honoured to be considered for the very important role of Speaker of the House.

I have served at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government in many roles, including deputy reeve, Manitoba minister of industry, trade and tourism and chair of the very productive House committee here, transport, infrastructure and communities.

In over 20 years of public life I have experienced the highs and the lows of forming a government and forming an opposition, which gives me a unique perspective and an understanding of the balance a Speaker must preserve in a progressive chamber.

These insights and experiences on both sides of the House have taught me the benefits of working with all parties in a constructive manner and as your Speaker I will continue to do so.

Colleagues, over the last several years we have experienced a severe decline in decorum in this wonderful chamber. I find it disturbing that members attack each other, not only from a policy perspective, but on a personal level and this behaviour has to stop. Make no mistake, if you elect me as your Speaker, I will do all within my power to correct this decline.

I believe the Speaker of the House has a crucial role to play in preserving decorum in this House.

However, as Speaker, I cannot do this alone. Above all other reasons, my pursuit of this position is to ensure that our Canadian democracy is delivered in a productive and respectful way. I have always treated members with respect and I believe that if asked, those with whom I have served would say the same.

As Speaker, I would commit to all members of this chamber to be accessible to you at all times.

As Speaker, I will serve as every member's Speaker, regardless of their party colours, and I promise to be accessible to each and every one of you.

I have experience from years of public service. I have demonstrated a non-partisan demeanour throughout my career. I would fully commit every hour of my day to this important position. I would work to restore decorum in the House while treating all with respect.

As Speaker, I would also represent members of Parliament throughout Canada and the world with dignity and honour.

Today, we, as members of Parliament, have an opportunity to prove to Canadians that this Parliament of Canada will be one where very much needed decorum and respect are once again the order of the day.

By electing me Speaker, I would provide the confidence and direction to conduct the orders of the House according to the time tested rules. I have been serving Canadians with respect and dignity for the better part of my adult life and I would continue this ethic should my name be the final one chosen today.

I humbly ask for your support and thank you.

I humbly submit my name for your consideration.

Sitting Suspended
Election of Speaker

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

Before I suspend the sitting for one hour, I wish to remind hon. members that the bells to call the members back to the House will be sounded for not more than five minutes. You therefore have one hour to reflect before returning to the House to vote.

When you are done reflecting, perhaps you will have time to discuss the Canucks' fantastic win last night.

The sitting is suspended to the call of the Chair.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 12:13 p.m.)

(The House resumed at 1:18 p.m.)

Sitting Resumed
Election of Speaker

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

Order, please. Pursuant to the Standing Orders, the House will now proceed to elect a Speaker.

A list of those members who are eligible as candidates has been placed in each polling station and at the table.

May I please have the ballot box, Sergeant-at-Arms?

After the Clerk has unsealed the ballots, I will suggest a method of proceeding which will help to accelerate the voting process.

As we are about to begin the voting procedure, may I remind hon. members to print the first and last name of their candidate on their ballot.

I would suggest that members leave their desk, exit through the curtains and come to the table using the doors on the left and the right of the Chair on their respective side of the House. A clerk will issue a ballot paper to each member.

After casting their ballot, members are asked to leave the voting area.

The polling booths are now open.

(Members were issued ballots and marked their ballots in secret at voting stations)

Sitting Resumed
Election of Speaker

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

If there are any members who have not voted and wish to do so, will they please vote now.

If any hon. members have not yet voted and wish to do so, will they please vote now?

All members having voted, I now instruct the Clerk of the House to proceed with the counting of the ballots after I have cast my ballot. Would the Sergeant-at-Arms please bring the ballot box forward?

Suspension of House
Election of Speaker

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

Before I suspend the sitting may I bring to the attention of members that when the counting of the ballots has been completed the bells to call the members back to the House will be sounded for not more than five minutes.

The sitting is suspended to the call of the Chair.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 1:44 p.m.)

(The House resumed at 2:09 p.m.)

Sitting Resumed
Election of Speaker

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

It is my duty to inform the House that a second ballot will be necessary.

The names of members eligible for the second ballot are as follows:

Barry Devolin

Ed Holder

Lee Richardson

Denise Savoie

Andrew Scheer

Merv Tweed

We will now proceed to the second ballot. If any members whose names I have just read wish to withdraw as a candidate for the second ballot, would they please rise in their places and state their reasons.

(Members were issued ballots and marked their ballots in secret at voting stations.)

Sitting Resumed
Election of Speaker

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

All members having voted, I do now instruct the Clerk to proceed with the counting of the ballots after I have cast my ballot.

Suspension of Sitting
Election of Speaker

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

The Presiding Officer Louis Plamondon

The sitting is suspended to the call of the Chair.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 2:36 p.m.)

(The House resumed at 2:58 p.m.)