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Canada’s House of Commons elects first Black speaker

by Joshua Brown
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Greg Fergus House of Commons Speaker

Canada’s House of Commons has chosen Greg Fergus as its new speaker, marking a historic moment as he becomes the first Black Canadian to hold this prestigious position. This election followed the resignation of Anthony Rota, who stepped down last week due to controversy surrounding his honoring of an individual with ties to a Nazi military unit from World War II.

The incident occurred when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Canadian parliament recently. Lawmakers gave a standing ovation to 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, introduced by Rota as a war hero from the First Ukrainian Division. However, it came to light that this division had affiliations with the Waffen-SS Galicia Division, also known as the SS 14th Waffen Division, which was a voluntary unit under Nazi command. Rota later issued an apology, acknowledging his lack of awareness regarding this history.

Greg Fergus, a 54-year-old Quebec Liberal lawmaker, emerged as the new speaker following a secret ballot vote by lawmakers. In his inaugural address from the speaker’s chair, he pledged to lead with a focus on respect and urged his fellow legislators to do the same. Fergus emphasized the importance of Canadians observing their representatives’ conduct, likening the speaker’s role to that of a hockey referee, noting that people come to witness the stars, not the referee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Greg Fergus House of Commons Speaker

Who is Greg Fergus and what role did he recently assume?

Greg Fergus is a Quebec Liberal lawmaker who was recently elected as the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons. He is the first Black Canadian to hold this position.

What led to the election of a new speaker in the House of Commons?

The election of a new speaker was triggered by the resignation of Anthony Rota. He stepped down after facing controversy for honoring a man with ties to a Nazi military unit during World War II.

What was the controversy surrounding Anthony Rota’s resignation?

Anthony Rota faced criticism for inviting and honoring 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, whom he introduced as a war hero from the First Ukrainian Division. It later emerged that this division had affiliations with the Waffen-SS Galicia Division, a voluntary unit under Nazi command. Rota apologized, citing his lack of awareness of this history.

What did Greg Fergus emphasize in his inaugural speech as speaker?

In his first speech as speaker, Greg Fergus pledged to lead with respect and encouraged fellow lawmakers to do the same. He drew a parallel between the speaker’s role and that of a hockey referee, emphasizing that people come to see the stars, not the referee.

What significance does Greg Fergus’s election hold?

Greg Fergus’s election as the first Black Canadian House of Commons speaker marks a historic moment in Canadian politics, reflecting diversity and change in leadership.

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