Anthony Rota elected as the new House of Commons speaker
Published Thursday, December 5, 2019 10:06AM EST Last Updated Friday, December 6, 2019 10:59AM EST
Liberal MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming Anthony Rota, 58, has been elected as the House of Commons speaker for the 43rd session of Parliament.
The vote for the role of speaker was the first order of business as the 338 MPs gathered in Ottawa for the first time since being elected on Oct. 21.
After the announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Official Opposition Leader Conservative Andrew Scheer took part in the tradition of dragging the newly elected speaker to their new seat. Rota played the part, pretending to go unwillingly.
When Rota arrived at the speaker's chair, he delivered a speech acknowledging his competitors and giving thanks to his parliamentary colleagues for trusting him with the postion.
Rota said he is proud to be the first speaker of Italian descent.
Previously, only one other person from northern Ontario has served as speaker of the House of Commons. James Jerome, a Liberal MP from Sudbury, held the position for two terms from September 1974 to December 1979.
In his speech, Rota mentioned his family, including his daughter, Samantha, who is currently writing her last exam as she graduates university. He also thanked his wife, Chantal, who was sitting in the gallery.
Rota is serving his fifth term as MP after winning over 40% of the vote in the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming.
He was originally elected in 2004 and served three consecutive terms until 2011. He was re-elected in 2015 and again in the most recent election in 2019.
Rota's new role comes with an additional $85,500 salary and official residence called The Farm in Kingsmere in Chelsea, Quebec.
Rota says he plans to convene regular meetings with party leaders and whips to ensure House business runs smoothly, and informal get-togethers with small groups of MPs from various parties in order to build rapport. As well, he says he will install a suggestion box in order to gather continuous feedback and input.
The Speaker chairs the board that is responsible for administering the House of Commons' budget, estimated at $500-million, its employees and the surrounding parliamentary precinct.
Rota is fluent in four languages: English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
"I believe in protecting and enhancing the rights of Members of Parliament so that they can serve their constituents and all Canadians effectively," said Rota. "This is the role of the Speaker and his role as servant to his fellow MPs."
CTV News Northern Ontario Staff, with files from Rachel Aiello in Ottawa
Two MPs from northern Ontario are in the running to become the next House of Commons speaker.
They are competing against three others.
Electing a speaker is the first thing MPs have to do at the start of a new Parliament session, which begins Thursday morning.
Liberal MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming, Anthony Rota, and New Democratic Party MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, Carol Hughes, both served as assistant deputy speaker in the last Parliament session.
The Speaker's duty is expected to be the impartial interpreter of parliamentary rules. They are responsible for maintaining order and upholding the rights and privileges of members.
A 2015 rule change resulted in the election of the Speaker by means of secret ballot. The only information released will be the winner's name.
As Speaker, the MP receives an additional $85,500 on top of the $178,900 base MP salary, along with an official residence called The Farm in Kingsmere in Chelsea, Quebec, and a modest apartment on Parliament Hill.