TRENTON, Canada – Canada made a history Tuesday after the House of Commons elected its first Black Speaker.
Liberal MP Greg Fergus will replace Anthony Rota who resigned last week after inviting a former Second World War veteran who fought alongside the Nazis to attend the House during Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to parliament.
Rota said he was unaware of Varoslav Hunka’s Nazi connection, but when his past became known the blunder grabbed international headlines and was a huge embarrassment for Canada.
Fergus was one of seven lawmakers seeking to fill the speaker’s role which is essentially to control the conduct of MPs and guide the agenda and adjudicate debates.
Lawmakers routinely turn the chamber, as the House of Commons is known, into a bickering, nasty yelling match and engage in constant heckling.
Fergus said he hopes to restore order and respect to the chamber.
"Respect and decorum — I'm going to be working hard on this and I need all your help to make this happen," Fergus said from the speaker's chair in an address to lawmakers after being elected by secret ballot.
"Respect is a fundamental part of what we do here," he said. "We need to make sure that we treat each other with respect and we show Canadians that example. There can be no dialogue unless there's a mutual understanding of respect."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes Fergus is successful in his quest.
"We elected you to help us be civil in our debates, to remind us we're all here for the same reason, which is to serve Canadians," said Trudeau.
While the speaker is a member of a political party – Fergus, for example, is an MP in Trudeau’s Liberal Party -- the role is non-partisan. (Anadolu)