Speaker Fergus saved by NDP: the difference bewteen him and Rota

OTTAWA – Whether impartial or partial, Greg Fergus will remain Speaker of the House of Commons, thanks to Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, which in fact “saved” the Speaker with its votes, rejecting the motion presented by the Conservatives to ask the removal of Fergus from his role due to partisan language in an advertisement for a (Liberal) event in his district and other previous “incidents”. 

The NDP and Liberals therefore voted together against the Conservative motion, with the addition of two Green MPs. By a vote of 168 to 142 – only the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois voted “yes” on the no-confidence vote – the motion was rejected. The alliance between Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau continues, despite Singh’s continuous attacks on Trudeau’s government, on all fronts: but, evidently, it is all “fluff” and the rejection of the motion of no-confidence against the Speaker is only the yet another test. And the theater goes on.

The Conservatives, however, on Tuesday – during the discussion of the motion – reiterated it: Greg Fergus is too “partisan” to fill the traditionally impartial role of president. “There have been several occasions – said MP James Bezan in the House – where the President has engaged in partisan activities and given partisan speeches”.

Fergus initially lost the support of Conservative MPs and the Bloc Québécois late last year after recording a video-tribute to outgoing Ontario Liberal (interim) leader John Fraser while donning the mantle of speaker. After appearing in the video tribute to Fraser, Fergus apologized and paid a fine for breaking House of Commons rules prohibiting the use of parliamentary resources for partisan purposes. However, Fergus had also participated in a fundraising event in his district, again under the aegis of the Liberals.

Then, in recent weeks, there was the clash in the House with the leader of the Conservatives, Pierre Poilievre, kicked out of the chamber by Fergus himself because “guilty” of having used inappropriate terminology, having defined Trudeau as “wacko”: the topic was about the decriminalization of hard drugs which has created a situation of serious degradation in Vancouver.

Then, a few days ago, the online announcement of “A summer evening with the honorable Greg Fergus”, organized by the Liberals, containing a phrase that targeted the conservative leader Poilievre, accused of pursuing conservative policies “that would risk our health, safety and pocketbooks”. After protests from the Conservatives and calls for Fergus’ resignation, the Liberal Party was super-quick to remove the advert from their website and later apologized to Fergus, claiming that the advert had been published without Fergus’ knowledge. A fool, in short.

Many have had the opportunity to notice the great difference, in the role of Speaker, between Greg Fergus and his predecessor, the Italian Canadian Anthony Rota, who never had a partisan behavior during his mandate and who resigned immediately – last September – when it emerged that one of the guests invited to speak at the House during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a former Nazi soldier, 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 had not hesitated to resign, assuming all responsibility. And no one had defended him: neither “his” Liberals nor, much less, the NDP.

In the pic above, Greg Fergus (from his Twitter X profile – @GregFergus)