Greg Fergus suggests sanctions to calm the climate in the House of Commons

Greg Fergus suggests sanctions to calm the climate in the House of Commons
Greg Fergus suggests sanctions to calm the climate in the House of Commons

While federal MPs are raising more and more concerns about “slippages” in Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Greg Fergus, believes that it will be necessary to call for “more vigorous measures” when comments ” go too far.”

The president testified Tuesday before the procedure committee, which is beginning a study on the prevention of violence and harassment for MPs. Currently, the House of Commons does not have an internal code of conduct for MPs, other than sexual harassment.

The latter noted that “the most common type of harassment” was the language used by MPs in the House or in committee. MPs from all political parties came to express their concerns about behavior in the House, he added.

“I suggest that the House be prepared to use its disciplinary power on those rare occasions when a statement may cross the line into misconduct,” he told the committee. However, he did not specify the type of sanctions that could be considered.

As part of its study, the procedure committee will have to present recommendations to the House on the type of measures to implement to prevent harassment.

Last month, Mr. Fergus temporarily expelled Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre from the House after he called the Prime Minister “crazy” (“wacko “). Just before, a Conservative MP was also expelled from the Commons after refusing to withdraw unparliamentary remarks.

Respect traditions

Asked about the possibility of implementing a code of conduct for MPs that would go beyond sexual harassment, Greg Fergus believes that it remains important to respect the long-standing traditions that grant privileges to MPs.

The House of Commons Guide to Practice provides that “by far the most important right granted to Members of Parliament is that of the exercise of their freedom of speech in the context of parliamentary deliberations”.

“Would our behavior among MPs be acceptable in any other workplace? I think the answer is no, Mr Fergus admitted. At the same time, we have to find a way to have debates of ideas. »

Sitting on the committee, Bloc Québécois MP Marie-Hélène Gaudreau said she was “ashamed” of the behavior of parliamentarians. “The climate and the slippages scare me,” she declared in front of Mr. Fergus and his colleagues.

Other deputies recently confided to the Duty that the tone between parliamentarians has worsened due to the quest for virality on social networks.

Calls for resignation

Mr. Fergus’ parliamentary committee testimony coincides with a vote to oust him on Tuesday.

The president is once again embroiled in controversy after the Liberal Party of Canada promoted a summer barbecue featuring him and using partisan language without obtaining his prior consent.

This is the third time in less than eight months that the Conservatives have asked Mr. Fergus to resign.

A motion calls for the resignation of Speaker of the House of Commons Greg Fergus, but it is not expected to pass.

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