Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

The NDP doesn't want House Speaker Greg Fergus to resign

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House Speaker Greg Fergus, who has only held the position since October, is in embarrassment over his virtual appearance at a partisan event. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

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The New Democrats have ruled out joining their voices with those of the Conservatives and Bloc to demand, in turn, the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons, Greg Fergus.

The latter, who has only held this position since October, is in embarrassment due to his virtual appearance in a partisan event.

I think it's irresponsible at this time to ask for his resignation, said Tuesday afternoon the deputy leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Alexandre Boulerice, to journalists.

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New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice (Archive photo)

The pressure on Mr. Fergus, Liberal MP for the Hull–Aylmer riding, would have been greater if the New Democrats had had the opposite position. In this case, a majority of elected officials would have demanded that he relinquish his functions.

Rather, it is the opposite scenario that is emerging since, this morning, the government's parliamentary leader, Karina Gould, signaled that the Liberals maintain their confidence in the Speaker of the House.

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It was a mistake, what he did, but he admitted it, she argued in the press scrum, specifying that Mr. Fergus apologized and assured the deputies that such an incident would not happen again.

The Liberals form a minority in the House, but reach a majority if we add it up the elected representatives of the NDP.

Mr. Boulerice believes that a resignation of the president and, consequently, a new election to elect his successor, would be a distraction.

I think there are eight and a half days until the end of the parliamentary session. We have a lot of work to do, we don't want to have a distraction that will paralyze Parliament for two, three days, he said.

His colleague Peter Julian, House Leader, reiterated that the New Democrats agree, as do the Conservatives, that the incident involving Mr. Fergus should be the subject of a study. in committee. This is what we recommend, he summarized.

According to a parliamentary procedure launched by the leader in the House of the official opposition, Andrew Scheer, it is already established that a referral of the file for consideration to the elected representatives of a committee could occur.

The Deputy Speaker of the Commons, Chris d'Entremont, could have decided to authorize this by the authority of the Speaker entrusted to him to decide on the question, because Mr. Fergus #x27;is recused from discussions that concern him.

The Presidency finds itself in a difficult position, as it must decide whether, prima facie, the behavior of a colleague calls into question the impartiality of the Presidency. This is a question on which it is preferable for the House itself to decide, declared Mr. D'Entremont.

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Vice-President of the Commons Chris d'Entremont (Archive photo)

Thus, he invited Mr. Scheer to table a motion to this effect and decided to place the parliamentary debates on it at the top of the pile of priorities of the day. Discussions on the subject ensued and a vote must take place on Wednesday afternoon.

The committee that could be responsible for deciding on the merits is made up, in the majority, of Liberals and New Democrats when we include its president.

The impartiality issues raised by the incident were first brought to the floor of the House on Monday morning by Mr. Scheer, who has already, in the past, , held the same functions as Mr. Fergus.

In the afternoon of the same day, he announced that the official opposition was demanding the resignation of Mr. Fergus, thus adding its voice to that of the Bloc Québécois, the first political group in the Commons to have made this request. p>

In the eyes of Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet, there is no need to wait for a possible referral to committee. For him to resign is much quicker, he said.

Like Mr. Boulerice, he believes that the affair creates distraction, but from a completely different angle.

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The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet (Archive Photo)

Let's avoid a major distraction in the functioning of Parliament and the partisan delirium to which it can lend, added the leader of the Bloc Québécois. According to him, the work of parliamentarians on important issues could not continue as it should.

Criticism of Mr. Fergus has been rife since the broadcast, at the Ontario Liberal Party convention, of a message captured on video in which he thanks the outgoing interim leader of this political party , John Fraser.

Before recusing himself from the file, the Speaker of the House declared that he had been asked for such a recording for a private meeting in honor of Mr. Fraser, whom he considers a long-time friend.

Mr. Fergus told MPs he regretted the video had been used for other purposes. He clarified that he was not a member of the Ontario Liberal Party and had not voted in the province in 30 years.

Mr. Scheer noted, from the outset, that the Speaker of the House wore the official attire of his office during his message of thanks to Mr. Fraser and that the Speaker's office was recognizable in the background.< /p>

The MP for Hull–Aylmer was elected Speaker of the House in October, following the resignation of his predecessor, Anthony Rota. The latter left office in the wake of controversy over the recognition of a veteran who served under the Nazis during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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