On December 3, 2015, my colleagues in the House of Commons elected me to be their Speaker—the 36th person to hold the office in Canada, and the first from Atlantic Canada in almost a century. As the Member of Parliament for Halifax West, I am honoured to have been chosen for such an important and challenging role.
The speakership is rooted in history, stretching back hundreds of years in Great Britain. In Canada today, the Speaker maintains order in Chamber proceedings and protects the rights and privileges of the House. In choosing me as their Speaker, Members have given me an important responsibility and, with their help, I will ensure that whatever their political differences, an atmosphere of mutual respect will be observed in the House.
After the fire that destroyed the former Centre Block building in 1916, construction began on the new structure, and today, almost a hundred years later, sculptors continue to fashion stone carvings on the inside of the building. Many of those carvings depict people from this country at work and remind us of the toil that built our country and our democracy. The halls of Centre Block also contain reminders of the 116,000 Canadians buried overseas, who fought so that we could speak freely in the Chamber and express our different opinions.
This website provides information about the Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons, and offers key insights into the work of the House of Commons and of Parliament. I hope you find it both useful and informative.