Doubts on the Speaker’s neutrality: “Greg Fergus must resign or face non-confidence”

OTTAWA – He just can’t help but be partisan, according to the opposition: Greg Fergus, the speaker of the House of Commons (who should be super partes), has “in fact added another one to the previous tests of his partiality”: a “Summer evening with the Honorable Greg Fergus”, scheduled for 4 June and promoted by the Liberal Party of Canada. His party.

Reporting the new “partisan shift” is Chris Warkentin, deputy leader of the conservative opposition, who calls for the immediate resignation of Greg Fergus (in the pic above, a screenshot from a video from Twitter X – @HoCSpeaker).

“House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus has once again shown his disregard for the neutrality required in his role”, writes Warkentin who continues: “The Liberal Party of Canada is advertising a “Summer Evening with the Honourable Greg Fergus”, scheduled for June 4th just across the river from Parliament Hill. The promotional material uses inflammatory partisan attacks about the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Conservative Party. This is the same Speaker who, just a few weeks ago, used the authority of his position to kick out the Leader of the Opposition while giving a free pass to the Prime Minister for using similar language” ….Warkentin refers to the episode involving the leader of the Conservatives, Pierre Poilievre: a few weeks ago, criticizing Justin Trudeau for having supported the decriminalization of hard drugs in British Columbia (with the consequent rampant degradation on the streets of Vancouver), the conservative leader defined the prime minister “wacko”, i.e. extravagant, crazy. Speaker Fergus invited Poilievre to withdraw that epithet and, faced with his resistance, kicked him out of the Chamber.

But there are many examples of Fergus’s “partiality”, according to the Conservatives. “This Speaker – continues Warkentin – has shown that he has no intention of remaining non-partisan. In addition to the two instances mentioned above, the Speaker has spoken at a cocktail fundraising dinner for a neighbouring Liberal, addressed the Ontario Liberal Party leadership convention in full Speaker garb, and jetted off to Washington to make a speech about his days as a member of the Young Liberals”.

Chris Warkentin 
(Credit: Mélanie Provencher, House of Commons Photo Services)

“Unfortunately, Trudeau’s NDP coalition partners have stood behind Fergus, preferring a Speaker who will protect Trudeau to one who shows a modicum of fairness in the chair. After Fergus’ last malfeasance, however, the NDP promised that they would call for Greg Fergus to step down if something like what happened at the Ontario Liberal Party convention ever happened again. It has happened again. If Fergus refuses to see the obvious error of his conduct, the NDP must finally join the Conservatives and the Bloc to express non-confidence in the Speaker”, said Warkentin, unless Fergus resigns first.

As will be remembered, the previous speaker of the House, the Italian Canadian Anthony Rota, resigned immediately when it emerged that one of the guests invited to speak in the House of Commons during the visit of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was a former Nazi soldier, the 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, welcomed with a standing ovation as a “war veteran”. In reality, the responsibility was not entirely Rota’s, since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office could not fail to be informed about who would participate in the visit of a president of a foreign State. But the Italian-Canadian speaker (who throughout his mandate has always proven impartial, according to all the parliamentarians) had nevertheless resigned, assuming all responsibility.

It is not known whether the “partial” Fergus (who took Rota’s place) will do the same: what is certain is that the material relating to the June 4th event with the Speaker disappeared from the Liberal Party website: by searching, today, on Google “Summer evening with the Honorable Greg Fergus”, the link appears with the reference to the evening but that link corresponds to a removed page… (see the screenshot below)