(The Clerk of the House having provided the Presiding Officer with the name of the member having received a majority of the votes cast:)
I humbly thank all hon. members in this House for the great honour they have bestowed upon me in selecting me as Speaker.
[The Speaker spoke in Ojibwa and provided the following text:]
Meegwetch. Anthony Rota nindishinikaaz, Nipissing-Timiskaming ndojeba.
[The Speaker provided the following translation:]
Thank you. My name is Anthony Rota. I am from Nipissing-Timiskaming.
Thank you again for the confidence that you have placed in me as Speaker for a second term. I am very honoured to be up here, both politically and personally. This is something I know I will treasure for the rest of my life. I guess one of the good things about being Speaker is that I probably upset both sides equally, so I appreciate you working this out.
I would also like to thank the dean of the House, the hon. member for Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, who gets a real kick out of sitting here. He did a great job. Just like the other two times I was elected, I was very happy to see him in the chair and to hear his announcements. I must say that he made a very good choice.
I want to congratulate the other members who let their names stand.
It is not always easy for someone to put their name on a ballot and get votes. Having the courage to do so and the desire to change things is, in my view, very important. We all recently put our names on a ballot and participated in an election. This is not always easy, because even though someone thinks they are the best candidate, they are not always chosen.
That is why I would like to thank the hon. member for for standing for Speaker.
The hon. member for .
The hon. member for .
The hon. member for .
The hon. member for .
The hon. member for .
Thank you for expressing your interest in this position, and for showing that you care about how business is done in the chamber and on the Hill.
I really want to thank a group that often gets overlooked, which is the staff and the clerks. They worked hard to make sure that we could be here today, and that we did it in an orderly and safe manner.
I thank all members for putting their trust in me to serve them during this 44th Parliament. I promise to be fair and respectful.
Once again, I thank the clerks and the staff on Parliament Hill whose hard work made it possible for us to be here today. Let us give them a round of applause.
I want to point out to all members that Canadians are always able to follow what is happening in the House. They can watch us on television or their computer, or they can see us on the news.
I would like to remind members of a verse of one of my favourite songs, L'escalier by Paul Piché. I see that the members of the Bloc Québécois and the hon. are pleased with my choice.
A framed copy of that verse hangs on the wall of my office. I will refrain from singing it because I do not want to everyone to clear out.
The chorus says, and I quote:
Children are not truly bad,
Though they may misbehave from time to time.
They may spit or lie or steal,
Because they can do anything that they are taught.
When I do my work as an MP or as Speaker, I think about those words. I invite all members to think about them too, because children see what we are doing in the House. We need to make sure that we teach those children and all Canadians the right way to do things.
I want to also thank all the members who took the time to speak with me over the last few weeks. I want to thank all of you who took the time to call me back. I got to know many of you and I encourage you to reach out to members not only in your own party, but in other parties, because you would be surprised at what you find out about each other. We have a lot in common even if we are on different sides of the floor. Sometimes when we are on the same side of the floor we have differences, but it does not mean we cannot be friends and we cannot work together.
I found out something that was very interesting and that kind of came as a surprise. The hon. member for and I have common roots. We are not directly related, but our ancestors, his parents and my grandparents, come from the same little town in the mountains of southern Italy. I just want to say to everyone here and to the folks back in the old country:
[The Speaker spoke in Italian]
Someone who is extremely important to me is my wife, as I am sure every member of Parliament who has a spouse would agree. As I look up into the gallery, I see Chantal, who has always been there for me.
Our spouses go through things that most Canadians and most people never experience, yet they always support us and stand by us. We are most grateful to our spouses for that. I thank all the spouses, and especially Chantal.
One of the things that I know the leaders of both the government and the opposition feel very strongly about is children, so I want to reach out to my daughter who is studying on the other side of the pond. She cannot be here today, but I know she is watching on CPAC, so I say to Samantha that I love her dearly.
There are a lot of benefits to being the Speaker, but there are also some things that I cannot do as Speaker during a regular session. One is that I cannot do an S. O. 31 and recognize special people in my riding. If I could do an S. O. 31, what I would do is thank the constituents who elected me in September. I am very honoured that they would choose me to represent them here in the House. To the people of Nipissing—Timiskaming, if I could do an S. O. 31 I would tell them “thank you”. I would then thank all the volunteers who were there, who showed up every day and who helped on a regular basis. If I could do an S. O. 31, I would say “thank you” to all the volunteers.
Sometimes we get to this place and we look back and wonder, “How did we get here?” I remember back in 2004 trying to get in as a candidate. I have this history of having more than one person get on by acclamation. I kind of look to them and think, “That would be great.” I had four the first time. In an S. O. 31, I would point out three people who have been there with me right from the beginning of my nomination. Peter and Barb have been there. They are great organizers and have done an amazing job. Garth, one of the elder statesmen, as I call him, in North Bay, is in his 80s now. I know he is watching, and he is going to love this. I say that I love him and I thank him very much for everything he has done. Without the three of them working together, and the whole team coming together, I am not sure I would have gotten the nomination on my own or who would be up here giving a speech right now. I want to thank them.
As I said, as the Speaker I will not be able to do S. O. 31s and would not be able to deliver these messages. I want to remind members that one rule in the House is that one cannot do indirectly what one cannot do directly, so I just want to make sure we will be enforcing that in the coming months.
I have been told that my minute is up. I am glad somebody is watching the timer.
Now that we have a Speaker, it is time to get back to work.
Once again I thank you. Meegwetch.
We will go to the Right Hon. Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government and all members of this House, congratulations on your re-election.
In the House we have members who have served for decades and those who are starting their very first term. We have women and men representing every part of this country and every community that makes it strong. They have once again chosen these members to help guide our shared work. I congratulate them.
I also want to take a moment to recognize all of our colleagues who ran for this position. I thank them for their dedication to this institution and to our democracy.
For me personally, today is the fifth time I have had the honour of being elected to the House at the beginning of a new Parliament. I would like to take this opportunity, since I also cannot take part in statements by members, to thank the voters of Papineau who have placed their trust in me once again. I will always work diligently to represent them and their interests.
For more than a dozen years, I have had the privilege of serving as a member of the House. We have come together in times of tragedy and celebrated in times of joy. We have stepped forward on the path of reconciliation. We have fought through a pandemic that engulfed our world.
As we are carrying out our duties, debate can get heated at times, as members know.
Mr. Speaker, we elected you to help us remain civil in our debates and to remind us that we are all here for the same reason: to serve Canadians. These days, that is more important than ever.
In September, Canadians chose a Parliament that would work together to get big things done, to put this pandemic behind us, to build a resilient economy and good middle-class jobs, to fight climate change and to continue walking the road of reconciliation. It is no small thing to build a better and stronger future, so there will be moments when we will get caught up in heated debate. When that happens, we will have the Speaker to guide us back on track.
This is a historic moment of change and opportunity for our country. I know the Speaker will help us rise to meet it.
Thank you, my friend, and congratulations once again.
Congratulations, Mr. Speaker.
I congratulate the Speaker on his victory in the election. It is a sign of confidence from his colleagues on all sides of the chamber. I congratulate him, as well, on another election to represent his home community of Nipissing—Timiskaming.
Congratulations again on the hard work you do in your riding.
The Speaker represents the will of the chamber, and indeed the will of the people. This is the people's House, and too often, whether in northern Ontario or from one ocean to the other, people feel left out of these debates. The Speaker has been able to preside through the difficult time of the pandemic, making sure the light of our democracy did not flicker during this time.
This was a difficult year for our Parliament and for everyone here today. I truly appreciate the work you did during the pandemic.
There is a light on the horizon. Is it not wonderful to see a full chamber of the House of Commons again?
I would be lying if I did not say I was hoping for a few more seats on this side of the chamber, or to be on that side to be honest, but I want the Speaker to continue his work standing up for our democracy, not just to make sure we can participate in debates during the pandemic, but to make sure the will of Parliament is defended in court in Canada.
It was a testament to your leadership and loyalty to the House of Commons, and I certainly appreciated this, in the face of the cover-ups during the previous Parliament. I hope that this Parliament will be more open and transparent.
I will say this in a full House of Commons today, at the start of the 44th of Parliament, with you returning as Speaker, that we on all sides of this chamber owe it to all communities, all sectors and all Canadians to ensure their voices are heard in this chamber.
Whether it is families in Abbotsford right now worrying about their future, worrying about the rebuilding of that beautiful province, whether it is new Afghan interpreters being welcomed into communities after the efforts of veterans and non-profits across the country or whether it is small business owners worried about the future, we as a Parliament, on all sides, regardless of political stripe, regardless of where we come from to be here in Ottawa, every Canadian deserves a voice in this chamber.
As the Leader of the Opposition and on behalf of my members, I hope we can engage in respectful debates that are focused on the well-being of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
On behalf of the Conservative opposition, Mr. Speaker, I wish you well and ask you to continue your resolute defence of our parliamentary democracy.
Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my sincerest congratulations on behalf of all members of the Bloc Québécois. Being voted in once is a trial, but being voted in a second time speaks to the members' satisfaction with what you accomplished during your previous term. I congratulate you on this and commend you for your reference to Paul Piché, someone whose beliefs would fit right in in our caucus.
We have not been together in the House for five months, and we could debate whether those five months were worthwhile, but it is undeniable that during that time, things changed for some of us and for Quebec.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the voters of Beloeil—Chambly and the voters in all of the Bloc Québécois ridings, which have remained the same as they were five months ago.
I also want to welcome the three newly elected members: the member for , the member for and the member for .
You will understand that we are compassionate people, so I am a bit concerned about the fact that there seem to be members in some political parties whose health is rather delicate. I hope they will take care of themselves, because we would not want to compromise our ability to ensure that everyone in Parliament is indeed double vaccinated unless they are medically exempt.
Mr. Speaker, I gladly, willingly and graciously offer a very clear commitment from all members of the Bloc Québécois, especially our whip and our leader, to collaborate to the fullest extent to ensure that the work of this place is always done in the best way possible in the interest of all Quebeckers. We will do so out of respect for the rules and the people.
In closing, allow me once again, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, to offer you our sincerest congratulations and, above all, if I may say so, our friendship.
Mr. Speaker, I first want to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded traditional territories of the Algonquin nation.
I also want to take a moment, as Remembrance Day has just passed, to acknowledge the veterans and thank them for the democracy and freedom we are able to exercise today.
I am also very honoured to be in this chamber again. I hope that it is not lost on the returning members what an incredible honour it is to be in this room, to be in this chamber, to represent the people of their constituencies. I welcome them back. I congratulate the returning members and the newly elected members.
I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge our newly elected members who represent a really special part of our movement and our party: the member for , the member for , the member for as well as the member for . I want to congratulate all the candidates who put their name forward and thank them for doing that, which is, of course, difficult to do.
I want to take a moment to particularly acknowledge the member for . I look forward to her returning to her duties as Assistant Deputy Speaker.
Now that we have elected a Speaker of the House, we want to get back to work. We have our work cut out for us. We all know that a number of crises, such as the climate crisis and the housing crisis, are taking a heavy toll across the country. We must act.
I am looking forward, now that we have a newly elected returning Speaker, to getting back to work, to work on things on which Canadians need us to work. The climate crisis is hitting hard, and we have seen the impacts throughout this year. Particularly right now in B.C., my province, we are seeing a devastating impact of this climate crisis. My heart goes out to the communities that are hardest hit. We know we need to act.
I call on everyone in the House to come together to find solutions to reduce emissions, to create good jobs and to invest in the infrastructure. For communities that are hard hit by climate crises, by extreme weather that is becoming more and more common, we need to ensure they have the infrastructure to be more resilient, and we need to prevent the disasters we have seen from happening again.
We also want to ensure that people who are struggling get the help they need. There are certain clawbacks they are facing right now which make their lives worse than before the pandemic. That cannot be allowed to continue.
As we have always said, we are ready to work together. We are keen to find ways to work together. One thing remains clear, however: we will never stop fighting for Canadians, fighting to help them improve their quality of life.
That is exactly what we are going to do.