MPs to vote on impeachment of House Speaker Greg Fergus

MPs will vote on a Conservative-led motion to remove Commons Speaker Greg Fergus on Tuesday amid renewed concern over his “alleged lack of impartiality”.

Fergus, who seven months into his tenure as MPs judge has been no stranger to controversy and accusations of inappropriate partisan conduct, faces fresh calls to resign after language attacking Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre was used to promote an upcoming event in your career.

The post of “a summer night with the honorable Greg Fergus” was quickly removed by the party and replaced with a version that promised a “fun-filled early summer barbecue,” as Fergus’ office has said was the intention. initial, after what the Liberal Party of Canada called a “miscommunication” for which it later apologized.

While the Speaker’s office said the event was authorized by the Clerk of the House of Commons, it has not allayed concerns among some MPs that Fergus is failing in his duty to remain a fair arbiter in the chamber.

And now, buoyed by a ruling on Monday by House Deputy Speaker and Conservative MP Chris d’Entremont, who deemed the issue a prima facie issue of privilege that triggered a priority debate, the Official Opposition is forcing MPs to vote on Fergus’s fate.

The motion asks the House to agree that: “The President’s continued and repetitive partisan conduct outside the House is a betrayal of the traditions and expectations of his office and a breach of trust necessary to fulfill his duties and responsibilities, all which this House “The judges consider a serious contempt.”

And, as a result, the motion seeks to immediately declare the office of Speaker vacant and hold a new Speaker election on the first Monday following the day of the passage of the motion.

After the NDP backed the Liberals by limiting the amount of remaining House time allotted for this debate to continue, MPs are expected to have until 8 p.m. ET to discuss their views on the matter, before The motion comes up for a vote around 8:30 pm Eastern Time.

During an appearance before the House Affairs and Procedures Committee on an unrelated matter Tuesday afternoon, Fergus faced some questions about his partisanship, as well as broader concerns about a loss of decorum.

Challenged to answer (both by MPs at the meeting and by journalists who mobbed him on his way out) whether he thinks he can hold out, Fergus said he would not comment on a matter before the House.

“We’ll see what the House comes up with,” Fergus said. “I would ask you to judge me for… the decisions I make.”

Deliberations in the House over this latest bout of opposition-led unrest over Fergus’s conduct turned testy on Tuesday, with accusations flying everywhere.

Among them, Government House leader Steven MacKinnon accused the Conservatives of making “false” claims about the president.

“The claims being made today are entirely concocted in conservative backrooms. Why? Because they want to delay and disrupt the proceedings of this House. It’s that simple,” MacKinnon said.

On his way to a cabinet meeting, Health Minister Mark Holland called the allegations being raised by the Conservatives “highly hypocritical,” citing past concerns about former House Speaker Andrew Scheer’s partisanship during his mandate in the highest position, which did not lead him to face this situation. degree of scrutiny.

“Chairman Fergus has made some mistakes as a human being. He has apologized for them. But I think he is a person who deeply respects the chamber and the impartiality of this role, and he has my trust,” Holland said.

Further reinforcing earlier indications that the NDP will not support the motion – denying the votes needed for it to pass – new House Democratic Leader Peter Julian said during this morning’s debate that Canadians should be very concerned about the “cruel attacks” against the president of the House. by conservative parliamentarians.

Julian also accused the Official Opposition of disrespecting the institution of Parliament with their repeated efforts to undermine the Speaker, who he said did what he was supposed to do to get the secretary to clarify this event.

Conservatives, however, do not believe the explanations or defenses offered, arguing that the longer Fergus is allowed to remain in office, the more damage he will cause, since he does not appear to have learned his lesson.

In December, when Fergus faced fury over his “inappropriate” personal video message to an old Liberal friend, MPs decided not to call for the majority to resign and instead asked him to pay a fine, apologize and enact a series of renovations within your office. to ensure that a similar problem does not arise again.

“The last time I looked at baseball, with three strikes you’re out,” Conservative MP James Bezan said during the debate. “And now we have the Speaker on three different occasions. Or actually, this is the fourth time he has done partisan activities and given partisan speeches.”

Other instances the Conservatives have taken issue with include Fergus’ recent decision to expel Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre from the House for a day after calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “crazy,” and comments Fergus made referencing his liberal roots during an official visit to Washington, DC.

If the motion were passed, Fergus would have to leave office before the election of a new speaker on Monday, June 3, which if it materialized would be the third time MPs have elected a new speaker since the last election.