Interventions in the House of Commons
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Charles Robert
View Charles Robert Profile
Charles Robert
2019-12-05 9:41 [p.1]
Honourable members, pursuant to Standing Order 3, I invite Mr. Louis Plamondon, member for the electoral district of Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, to take the chair as the member presiding over the election of the Speaker.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I am very pleased to preside over the election for a fourth time in Parliament. It is becoming a habit, and I admit that I quite like this magnificent chair. I will speak mainly in French, which will give you an opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary interpreters that we have here in the House of Commons.
Before the official ceremony begins, allow me to acknowledge my family, who are certainly watching, as well as the constituents of Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, who put their trust in me for the 11th consecutive time in 35 years.
I learned after the fact that being elected 11 consecutive times ties the record set by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1904. This has not happened for 115 years.
I also want to acknowledge my staff, who have done extraordinary work with me for many years, as well as all constituents.
I congratulate and welcome all the new members.
New members will discover that it all goes by so fast. When I was first elected there were no cell phones, no computers, no fax machines. It was heaven.
Let us begin.
The list of members who have withdrawn or who are ineligible as candidates is available at the table.
The list of candidates has also been placed on each member's desk and is also available at the table.
Before proceeding, I would invite those members whose names are on the ballot and who do not wish to be considered for election to kindly rise and inform the Chair accordingly.
The five members will therefore remain on the ballot.
Pursuant to Standing Order 3.1, the House must proceed to the speeches of candidates for Speaker.
Notwithstanding any Standing Order or any usual procedure or practice adopted by this House, and to help the new members identify the candidates for the office of Speaker, I will recognize in alphabetical order each candidate by name and by electoral district.
When the last candidate to address the House completes his or her speech, I will leave the chair for 30 minutes, after which members will proceed to the election of the Speaker.
Now I invite Joël Godin, the hon. member for the electoral district of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, to address the House for not more than five minutes.
View Joël Godin Profile
Hon. Presiding Officer, esteemed colleagues, thank you.
Let me begin by congratulating the women and men here in this chamber who have been chosen to represent all the regions of Canada. All the energy and efforts you invested have given you this opportunity to represent the citizens of your constituency, to your credit.
I would also like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest condolences to the Speaker of the 42nd Parliament of Canada and to his family following the passing of his father, the hon. Gerald Regan.
I inherited my passion from my grandfather, Louis-Philippe-Antoine Bélanger, who was a member of the House of Commons in 1962. I am very honoured I was able to make this dream a reality by being elected in 2015 and re-elected for a second term this past October. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the citizens of the beautiful riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for placing their trust in me.
We, the elected members of the House of Commons, have a great deal of passion. We have a great desire to help improve Canadians' lives and to leave a better world for future generations. As a father, that is very important to me.
In our group of elected members, there are just as many differences as there are similarities, both among individuals and the parties that we represent. Canada's democratic system makes it possible to welcome this diversity, and this system is the envy of many other countries.
The dictionary defines “democracy” as a system of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. In his well-known Gettysburg address, American president Abraham Lincoln said that democracy is government “of the people, by the people, for the people”. The words ending this quote are the ones that we must never forget in our work: “for the people”.
Many issues will surely spark heated debate in the House. That is a sign of a healthy democracy. Therefore, bring on the debates—but let them be respectful and equitable. I have great regard for all my colleagues. I respect their commitment and their efforts. For my part, I pledge to respond promptly to members' needs by seeking effective solutions.
In the strategic plan for 2019-2022, the values of the House administration are defined as impartiality, excellence, accountability, our people and teamwork. These values mean a great deal to me.
There are several high-quality people here today looking to sit in the Speaker's chair, so why choose me? To be a Speaker of the House and someone who meets the highest standards of our institution, one needs to have the qualities of a mediator and be able to listen; show respect, judgment and leadership; be open-minded and loyal; have integrity; and on occasion, deal with things with humour.
I sincerely believe that I am fully qualified to become speaker. I will draw on my vast experience working as director of sales for a private television station; creating my trade relations business, AJC Communication; serving as a municipal councillor; serving as a policy adviser in a provincial minister's office; and sitting on numerous boards for organizations such as the Children's Wish Foundation and Laval University's Rouge et Or, not to mention my many years coaching all kinds of sports.
As well, in the name of fairness, here is something to consider before you make your final choice. The official languages of Canada are English and French. The last time the duties of the Speaker of this House were given to a francophone born in Quebec goes back to more than 65 years ago. It would only be fair to elect a Speaker born in a Lower Canada province, in this case Quebec, and one who speaks French. It would be an honour for me to receive the support of the members of the House.
I sincerely thank you for your attention and consideration.
I wish everyone a good 43rd Parliament.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I now invite Carole Hughes, the hon. member for the electoral district of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing to address the House for not more than five minutes.
View Carol Hughes Profile
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I would like to start by acknowledging that we are on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
I congratulate everyone on being elected to this chamber.
I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the voters of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing for placing their trust in me once again to be their representative and voice here in Parliament.
Like all of you, I did not get here without a lot of assistance. I am thinking of the campaign teams, volunteers, donors and core supporters who do so much to invigorate the democratic process and determine the shape of Parliament. These people exist across the political spectrum and are the heartbeat of our political discourse. With that, I extend a huge thank you to all those individuals who have worked so hard to get us here today.
I also send a special shout-out to my good friend Bill McBain, who has managed three of my campaigns with an infectious, positive attitude and a sense of humility that sets him apart.
Most of us also benefit from the strong support we receive from our families, and my situation is no different. My husband Kieth, daughter Mindy and her family, along with my son Shawn, who is here today, provide me with a stable foundation that allows me to dedicate the time needed for these endeavours. Last but not least are my staff, who kept my offices going during the election. This support is invaluable and irreplaceable, so I thank you for indulging me as I acknowledge these special people.
We have heard that this Parliament faces a strong challenge from Canadians who want us to make the hand that we have been dealt work. A big part of that will run right through the Speaker's chair. There is no question that decorum in the chamber can be a challenge, and this is an area I believe we can all greatly improve upon.
While we are five candidates who are asking you for your support for the Speaker's role, each one of us brings unique qualities from our past experiences that can help you understand how we might approach the role.
Over the years, I have gained many skills within the banking, mental health and education fields, as well as the criminal justice system. However, I came to politics by way of the labour movement, which is where I had the opportunity to gain experience in dispute resolution and employee-management relations. That work trained me in mediation and trained me to focus on commonalities as a productive starting point for difficult discussions. I believe my skills in this area could help foster more goodwill between all parties.
I know that running from the fourth party position can be seen as unrealistic by some. Adding to that the fact that, if elected, I would be only the second woman to serve as Speaker makes this candidacy a long shot by any standard. However, I believe that choosing a Speaker from a smaller party sends a clear signal that we are prepared to do things differently, and it would serve as a symbol of the kind of co-operation we can be capable of and that we are serious about making this Parliament work. That is what Quebeckers and Canadians have asked for.
Electing a woman as Speaker would do just that, but I am not standing here merely as a woman candidate: I am here because I can do the job. It has been 35 years since this place had its one and only female Speaker, Jeanne Sauvé, who was actually appointed.
We know that research has shown time and again that women excel in politics, do things a little differently and bring valuable perspective to the process.
Furthermore, I have experience. In my time as assistant deputy speaker in the previous Parliament, I believe I proved to be impartial, fair and open-minded. I can be decisive when required, and I have a natural inclination to seek consensus before making important rulings. I am also known for being a thorough and diligent worker, two qualities that will serve me well in the Speaker's chair.
If elected Speaker, I will work to develop clear lines of communication between the parties to ensure we are doing our very best to present a Parliament that Canadians and Quebeckers can be proud of. This will help us maximize our time spent in the chamber and give us more time to attend to the multitude of demands we face while in Ottawa.
I thank you for your patience, offer my best wishes to my colleagues who are also standing for Speaker, and once again congratulate you on your elections.
No matter the results, I look forward to working with all of you in the 43rd Parliament and delivering the results that Canadians demand and deserve.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I now call upon Geoff Regan, the hon. member of the electoral district of Halifax West, to address the House for no more than five minutes.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-12-05 9:56 [p.3]
Good morning, colleagues, and congratulations to you all as we gather for this first sitting of the 43rd Parliament.
Some of you are taking your seats in the House for the first time. Some, like me, have had the honour to be re-elected by their constituents, and in some cases, as I once experienced, after an involuntary sabbatical. All of us are here because we want to make a positive difference in the lives of our fellow Canadians.
I also had the privilege of serving the House of Commons as Speaker during the 42nd Parliament, and I would be pleased to put that experience to use serving the House of Commons and its members. This morning, I would like to point out, as did the others, that my friends, the other candidates, are all outstanding.
During my time as Speaker, I sought, with the support of many members, to maintain and promote decorum in the House and to limit, when necessary, any behaviour that might have undermined respect for this institution and its members. If you do me the honour of selecting me as Speaker, I will continue to stand up for the dignity of Parliament and the rights of its members. Taxpayers expect us, their representatives, to be professional and to honour the office to which they elected us.
If you assign these responsibilities to me again, while remembering that the Speaker is the servant of the House, I will continue to use the tools at my disposal.
Our constituents look to every member to take the responsibility of self-control. I have often heard from people who were unhappy with the noise and disrespect that has too often occurred. It is up to each of us and to the House leadership teams, as well as the party leaders themselves, to improve decorum in this place and enhance the image of our democracy.
To exercise their rights and to carry out their responsibilities, members rely on the support of the House of Commons administration, which exists to provide them and their staff with the services they need. Quite simply, the MP is the administration's core business. That is why, throughout the 42nd Parliament, a number of measures were put in place to improve the support available to members of Parliament so that we could all better serve our constituents. That is what it is all about, after all.
From the updated orientation program to new on-site service centres and buildings here in Ottawa that offer members and their staff in-person support related to various operational services, the House administration has been focusing its resources on its reason for being: the MP.
It has been almost a year since members first sat in this interim chamber that now fills the former courtyard of West Block, and preparations for the much-needed rehabilitation of Centre Block are under way. As members and the other occupants of West Block settle in, improvements continue to be made to provide MPs with as modern a workplace as possible.
As Speaker, I will get members involved in the restoration project to ensure that the renovated Parliament building meets their needs. I believe that the initial consultations with the people who will be using the space are essential to the success of the building's restoration.
During the 42nd Parliament, I worked hard to fulfill my responsibilities as Speaker of the House, and I believe I was able to do that with some measure of success.
I hope that you, my colleagues, will entrust me with the responsibility of serving the House of Commons and its members during the 43rd Parliament.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I will now invite Anthony Rota, the hon. member for the electoral district of Nipissing—Timiskaming, to speak for no more than five minutes.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Good morning. For all of you coming into this Chamber for the first time, welcome.
For all those returning to the House of Commons, welcome back.
I congratulate all of you on earning the confidence of the constituents in your ridings. Undoubtedly, you will represent them well in this Chamber.
I was first elected in 2004 and have been through three minority governments. Since then, I have developed a real appreciation for what we are about to experience. However, after all these years I am still in awe of this place and immensely honoured to represent the people of Nipissing—Timiskaming and to work with each and every one of you.
This morning, we will be holding a second, very important election, to select the Speaker of the House.
Ever since I was first elected, I have made myself available and open to discussion with my colleagues of all political stripes. If elected Speaker, I would maintain that approach. My door will always be open.
Over the last weeks I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you. Thank you for taking the time to discuss with me what you believe is working in these revered halls, and especially how you believe we can improve the operations of Parliament. I look forward to working with you should I be elected as Speaker.
The concern expressed most often by you was maintaining order and respect within the Chamber. The Standing Orders and precedents have a lot to do with how we can enforce decorum. However, the pertinent factor to maintaining decorum is how the rules are implemented and enforced by the Speaker. Maintaining a balance between the right to express oneself and respecting the dignity of others is key. The Speaker's personality is a core component to ensuring that we have a respectful House.
It would be hard for me to list my skills and abilities in the few minutes I have left. Members returning to the House got to see me in action over the past four years. I am confident that my performance as assistant deputy speaker was firm, respectful and, above all else, fair.
For those of you who are new to this place, I encourage you to speak with those who have seen me in my role as Assistant Deputy Speaker and to discuss my ability while I was in the Chair. The terms that I hear when many of my colleagues describe my performance are firm, respectful, effective and, above all else, fair.
Many of you suggested having more activities where we could get to know each other. One very simple example that I am committed to implementing is having regular gatherings with small groups of MPs from different parties to get to know each other on a personal level. It is a practice that I was very familiar with under Speaker Peter Milliken, and that I plan to continue.
One of my first actions will be adopting an idea put forward by the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, who came up with a great suggestion: a suggestion box. Members will be able to continue to submit ideas on how we can improve the House. If elected, I will be installing one as soon as I can get one built.
All members of the House have the right to a voice and for their opinion to be heard.
I will encourage more meetings between the House leaders, the whips and, needless to say, the members, to ensure that our institution has harmonious parliamentary procedures that are based on co-operation and, above all, respect.
Canada is a bilingual country. It is vital that the Speaker of the House be fluent in both French and English. Learning a language is very important, but the secret to understanding a people and experiencing their culture is to understand what it is like to be immersed in that culture on a day-to-day basis.
Working collaboratively, we can improve the decorum, process and overall operations of the House. I have a great deal of respect for this institution and all of its members, and believe that all members should take part in improving our procedures.
The upcoming parliamentary session will certainly be interesting. Canadians have chosen us to come to Ottawa to represent them and to perform our duties to the best of our abilities.
I am running for Speaker of the House of Commons, and I am ready to work with each and every one of you. On this momentous morning, I respectfully invite you all to vote for me.
I respectfully ask for your vote this morning.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I will invite Bruce Stanton, the member for the electoral district of Simcoe North, to address the House for five minutes.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-12-05 10:07 [p.5]
Mr. Chair, it is an honour to speak in this chamber, as you well know. For the next few minutes I am going to provide some thoughts for members' consideration in choosing our Speaker for this 43rd Parliament.
First, let me take a moment to congratulate all those taking their seats for the first time in this House of Commons and all those who were re-elected in October. It will be a privilege to serve with you all.
I can recall my first days here as an MP and the great sense of wonder as the reality began to sink in as to how it was that I found myself here. As we begin our duties it is right that we ask not just how we got here, but why we are here.
Whether in government or in opposition, we have a duty. We are here to oversee, question and hold to account the undertakings of government and Parliament on behalf of, and for, Canadians. The ability of the members to do this depends on our Standing Orders and practices and the interpretation of them by the Speaker.
I am running to be your Speaker because I believe I can assist all members in the discharge of their responsibilities to Canadians. I promise impartiality and respect for all members at all times.
I have occupied this role since 2011.
I was the assistant deputy speaker under the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, then deputy speaker under the hon. member for Halifax West. It was an honour to work with them.
Before entering politics, I ran our family business, a family-oriented resort and convention centre in southern Ontario's cottage country. That is where I learned what it means to be a good employer and to foster a culture of equality and respect for clients, colleagues, suppliers and even competitors. That experience has served me well as an MP, and I will put it to work for you as your Speaker.
Returning MPs may remember that, when I first came to the House of Commons in 2006, I did not speak a word of French. I have since taken classes through the House of Commons language training service, and I can now function comfortably in my second language, which I am constantly seeking to improve.
As Speaker, I pledge to make French and English my and my office's working languages on a daily basis both here in the House and elsewhere.
Discussion of the speakership rightly tends to focus on procedure and proceedings in this chamber, but the Speaker has another role that should be part of members' consideration as they mark their ballot today, and that is the well-being of Parliament as a community. We all have our differences and we are here to express them in a civil and courteous way.
My pledge to you is that I will work to foster our community and a respectful tone and decorum in this chamber so that at the end of this Parliament, whether it be long or short, members will be able to say that their experience in this 43rd Parliament was a positive one, that their friendships stretch beyond party boundaries and, when members return to their ridings, that the work of this chamber reflects the expectations Canadians have for their Parliament.
We should never let up in our pursuit of strengthening Parliament and ensuring its members are well served because if we can do that our constituents will also be well served.
I am seeking your support, and I thank you for your attention.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
Before I suspend the sitting for 30 minutes, I bring to the attention of hon. members that the bells to call the members back to the House will be sounded for not more than five minutes.
The sitting is suspended to the call of the Chair.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
Pursuant to the Standing Orders, the House will now proceed to elect a Speaker. The names of the eligible candidates are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order.
After the Clerk has opened the envelope containing the ballots, I will suggest a method of proceeding which will help to accelerate the voting process.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
I repeat that the names of the eligible candidates are listed in alphabetical order on the ballot. After the Clerk has unsealed the ballots, I will suggest a method of proceeding which will help to accelerate the voting process. The Clerk will issue the ballots.
We are now prepared to begin to vote according to the provisions of Standing Order 4. Please allow me to outline the procedure for all hon. members.
The names of the candidates for the election are listed in alphabetical order on the ballot. To vote, you will rank the candidates in order of preference by recording the number “1” beside your first choice, the number “2” beside your second choice, and so on, until you have indicated all your choices. Please note that you do not have to rank all the candidates.
In order to vote, I will ask that members leave their desks, exit through the curtains and come to the table using the doors on the left and right sides of the chair on their respective sides of the House. A clerk will issue to each member a ballot paper.
After casting their ballots, members are asked to leave the voting area.
The polling booths are now open to vote.
(Members were issued ballots and marked their ballots in secret at voting stations)
View Louis Plamondon Profile
If there are any hon. members who have not voted and wish to do so, will they please vote now.
All members having voted, I do now instruct the Clerk to proceed with the counting of the ballots after I have cast my ballot.
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