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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 ballot.

Topics

Election of Speaker

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Hon. members, I would like to express my humble thanks for the great honour the House has given me by electing me Speaker.

I beg to return my humble acknowledgments to the House for the great honour my colleagues have conferred upon me by choosing me to be their Speaker.

This is one time in a session when there is a little bit of liberty in whom the Speaker recognizes. I would be remiss if I did not point out my lovely wife and my latest son, Henry, in the gallery. I would not have had any seat in the House of Commons, never mind this seat, if it were not for the support and love she has given me over the years. My parents, James and Mary Scheer, are here as well. A good friend of mine, all the way from Regina, Joan Baylis, is here as well.

I am very honoured by the trust you have put in me today.

As I mentioned in my speech, over the past few years I have had the honour to be deputy speaker and assistant deputy speaker. It truly has made me appreciate all that every member brings to this House.

I have often said that we are all motivated by the same thing. We may disagree fundamentally on issues and ideas, but we all do sincerely want Canada to be the best country it can be. I have come to appreciate that on a personal level with each and every member. Thank you very much for supporting me today, it really means a lot.

It has been a long day of voting, a little longer than last time, so I will keep my remarks short.

I promise that I will do my best to live up to the trust placed in me. I cannot claim that I will ever be perfect, but members can count that I will give 100% to the job they have given me today.

And the mace having been laid upon the table:

Election of Speaker

5:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your election.

I know this is something you have been preparing yourself for, through very hard work, for a very long time. I know it is a great day for you and your family and I again congratulate you. I also recognize, after all these years of work, that in the last few minutes you have shown a traditional reluctance to take the position. When we brought you to the chair, the Leader of the Opposition had a weapon. In any case, I am sure, nevertheless, that this is a proud day for everyone in your home.

Today's election served as a stellar example of how all members of the House have a say in its operation and how we can all work together in reaching an important decision.

All of the members who were in contention for this role deserve recognition. The same holds true for the Clerk and the dean of the House, the hon. member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, who has so impartially overseen the vote today. I was worried, and I assume you were as well, Mr. Speaker, to see how comfortable he was becoming in the role.

Your election by secret ballot demonstrates the great confidence that the members of the House have in you, your fairness and, above all, your ability to maintain the dignity and decorum associated with respectful debate.

Mr. Speaker, clearly the members of the House have as much confidence in you as your constituents, the good citizens of Regina—Qu'Appelle. In this job you are the custodian of a great parliamentary tradition.

Let me observe the following at this time, with the eyes of the nation and indeed the hockey world focused on Vancouver. It bears noting, Mr. Speaker, that you are the nation's top referee and its linesman, too. Your guidance will ensure that nobody crosses the line or goes offside. Most importantly, we will do our best to ensure there are no fights for you to break up.

Members on both sides of the House will work with you to play fair so that we can shake hands like hockey players after the big game.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, please accept from all members on this side of the House, not only our sincere congratulations but also our full co-operation as you undertake these very important responsibilities in Parliament and in our country.

Election of Speaker

5:45 p.m.

Toronto—Danforth Ontario

NDP

Jack Layton NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a bit of history was made today in that it is the first time that a Speaker of the House has been wrestled up the aisle to that chair by a New Democrat. These special moments need to be noted for the record in Hansard. New Democrats extend sincere congratulations to you on your election today.

I also want to commend all members who took the opportunity to present themselves as speaker of this place and for the words they shared with all of us. If we could put them all together and follow the spirit that was laid out, Canadians would be very proud of what we have been able to accomplish. Let us set that as an objective.

Mr. Speaker, it is also important to reference the contribution over 10 years of your predecessor, someone who I know, as you earlier reminded me, had taught you so much. We want to take this moment to acknowledge the Speaker of the House for the last 10 years, the former member for Kingston and the Islands.

If your predecessor were here, I do not think that he would hesitate to tell you that his robe—which you are not wearing now, but will be wearing tomorrow—was not always easy to wear, especially in recent years. I have seen high school teachers leave the public gallery, clearly embarrassed by the behaviour of the elected officials their students were here to observe. That must change.

I have seen accomplished women from all of the parties face intimidation simply because they were women. Some of them have even told me that they now hesitate to rise in the House. That must change and we can do it. I want to tell all members of Parliament that we can do things differently in this 41st Parliament.

We will disagree passionately at times but passionate debate is essential in this place. We may disagree but we must show each other respect at all times because Canadians elected each and every one of us here. When we do not show respect for each other as individuals, then we are not showing respect for the Canadians who sent us here.

I believe that together we can restore civility to this place and that we can choose to focus on the values we share and the work we have to do.

I am here to make a commitment before all members today that we will change. We are committed to doing our best to fix what is wrong in Ottawa and, to start, we have agreed that there will be no heckling from the 103 members of our caucus in this House of Commons and we will do our very best to ensure that is the case.

With that commitment, Mr. Speaker, and on behalf of the official opposition, congratulations once again on your election and best wishes in what lies ahead.

We are prepared to make the House of Commons an institution of which Canadians can be proud.

Election of Speaker

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his kind words.

The hon. member for Toronto Centre.

Election of Speaker

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleagues, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in offering you our warmest congratulations on this significant personal achievement.

I think all members of the House have noticed your great interest in the affairs of this place and have noticed, as well, your commitment to an even-handed treatment of all members of the House in your previous responsibilities. I can assure you that we shall look forward very much to working closely with you and with your colleagues in ensuring that the House of Commons is as great and good a place which, at its best, I think we all know that it can be.

I will make a couple of further comments, Mr. Speaker, because this is one of the few opportunities that I have not to get cut off by you.

I first want to say that it is a tribute to the democracy of this place. Some of us who have been in previous Parliaments will know that there was a time when the speaker was not chosen by the members of the House. The speaker was chosen by the first minister of the day. The fact that it took six ballots, Mr. Speaker, for you to be chosen is a reflection of the democratic traditions of this place and of the fact that we have all participated in the toing and froing in the discussions that have taken place. It has been quite a remarkable day in that respect. You, sir, have come out as the winner and we continue to express our strong support, not only for you but for the institution.

Being where we are now in the House, I have to say that we pay special tribute to those who were not successful at the end with respect to the sixth ballot.

I join with my colleagues in expressing my appreciation to all those who presented themselves to the people who spoke so frankly and so candidly, and who presented themselves as effectively as they did.

I would like to say to my dear colleague from Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour that we have a great deal of respect for his work as the dean. We are well aware that he is no longer a member of an official party in the House. However, I can assure you that we believe that all members of the House have an important role to play in this parliament, and we will continue to respect the traditions of all members, even those who are not members of an official party, and even if we do not share all the aspirations of that party.

I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, for your efforts and your accomplishments. I join you in paying tribute to Mr. Milliken and all speakers before you, who have done an outstanding job. We expect to continue our efforts to ensure that the House works well.

For my friend, the Leader of the Opposition, whom we congratulate today on achieving this position with which those of us on this side are quite familiar, speaking personally, I will not be making any such declarations with respect to the complete and total silence of the members of my caucus when comments are made. I know we are all deeply in favour of decorous behaviour, of behaviour that respects the civility of this place, but I am also a profound realist. I have the scars in front and the scars in my back to prove it.

I am looking forward to the first sign of life from the official opposition, to the first heckle and to the first joke. I, myself, will be keeping book on how many days, indeed hours, it will be before he sees that happen.

Election of Speaker

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I appreciate the kind words from the member for Toronto Centre.

I see that the hon. member for Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour is rising to speak.

Election of Speaker

5:55 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I congratulate you, allow me to thank all the members of the House for their co-operation today and to tell them how much I appreciated their cordiality all day long. I hope to see this same cordiality throughout the entire session.

I want to thank the Prime Minister for his kind words. I also want to thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for his commitment to respect the rights of every member.

I want to take this opportunity to say, on behalf of the many members here from the Bloc Québécois, that we hope you will support us in defending our rights and privileges as members of Parliament.

We offer you our most sincere congratulations and our co-operation.

Election of Speaker

5:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to congratulate you on your victory today and to commend, as well, the hon. members who all spoke so eloquently of the dreams we share for a House of Commons that lives up to the aspirations of the citizens of Canada, who desire nothing more than that they can allow their children to watch question period without fear of learning bad habits.

I have heard such good and strong sentiments today, and I want to speak personally to you, Mr. Speaker.

Congratulations. Today I am very proud of your efforts and your hard work. When the time came to elect a new speaker, the members decided to elect someone quite young.

I am speaking frankly. We know you are a young Speaker, but this is a young House. We have more young members of Parliament than we have had before and, as the only woman leader of a federal political party, I note with pride we have more women, at 25%, in the House of Commons.

Perhaps with this new spirit of co-operation we can indeed deliver greater decorum, greater co-operation and greater respect. I am very proud to join the leader of the official opposition in pledging that my entire caucus will not heckle.

Election of Speaker

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I sincerely thank all hon. members for their very kind words. I also pay tribute to all the other candidates who ran today. It has been a great process. I have spoken to a lot of you personally over the past few weeks and I think we have all expressed a deep appreciation for the role of the Chair. You are all great, wonderful people. It has been a pleasure to work with you, and to continue to work with you.

I should also absolutely thank the good people of Regina—Qu'Appelle. They first placed their trust in me back in 2004. It seems like so long ago, but it is only seven years. To have that continued support from my friends and neighbours back home means the world to me. There is nothing you can do in Ottawa unless you have the support of your friends and neighbours back home, and I think that is something we all need to remember every day.

Thank you once again all hon. members for your support.

There is one more piece of business before we can leave.

Election of SpeakerOpening of Parliament

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that I have received the following message:

Rideau Hall

June 2, 2011

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Her Excellency Sharon Johnston will arrive at the Peace Tower at 2:30 p.m. on the 3rd day of June, 2011.

When it has been indicated that all is in readiness, Their Excellencies will proceed to the Chamber of the Senate to formally open the First Session of the Forty-First Parliament of Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Wallace

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2:35 p.m., at which time the House will proceed to the Senate where His Excellency will open the first session of the 41st Parliament.

(The House adjourned at 6:02 p.m.)