House Speaker Fergus fined $1,500 for partisan video

House Speaker Fergus fined $1,500 for partisan video

Politics

Members of Parliament have imposed a $1,500 fine on Speaker Greg Fergus for using House of Commons resources for a partisan video that aired at the Ontario Liberal leadership convention last year.

MPs vote unanimously to fine Speaker for tribute that aired at Ontario Liberal convention

CBC News

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Greg Fergus testifying before committee.

House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus appears as a witness at the standing committee on procedures and House affairs on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

Members of Parliament have imposed a $1,500 fine on Speaker Greg Fergus for using House of Commons resources for a partisan video that aired at the Ontario Liberal leadership convention last year.

MPs on the Board of Internal Economy – the governing body for the House of Commons that controls Parliament’s spending and adjudicates disputes – voted unanimously to fine Fergus for his video tribute to departing Liberal interim leader John Fraser.

The $1,500 fine was the highest amount the committee considered. Although some MPs argued for a lower fine, Bloc Quebecois MP Claude DeBellefeuille argued for the higher amount because of the significance of the Speaker’s role.

In the end, MPs on the committee unanimously voted in favour of the fine. Fergus’s office confirmed to CBC News he has written and submitted a cheque for $1,500.

The video shows Fergus in his Parliament Hill office wearing his Speaker’s robes paying tribute to Fraser. It caused controversy in December, with opposition parties accusing Fergus of engaging in partisan activity.

Fergus apologized for making the video and said it was meant to be a personal message for Fraser, who is a longtime friend, and was never supposed to have been shown in public.

WATCH | House Speaker should be punished, but not fired, report says

House Speaker should be punished, but not fired, report says

A House of Commons committee is recommending that Speaker Greg Fergus be punished, but not fired, for paying tribute to the outgoing Ontario Liberal Party leader in a partisan video while wearing his speaker robes.

At the time, the Conservatives and Bloc called for Fergus’s resignation, saying he had lost the confidence of both parties.

But a separate House of Commons committee that looked into the video recommended disciplinary action that fell short of removing Fergus from the Speaker’s chair. A December report from the Procedure and House Affairs Committee said Fergus should again apologize and pay a penalty.

The committee also recommended the House of Commons prepare a briefing binder for future Speakers that « presents clear boundaries for impartiality and non-partisanship. »

Fergus told MPs in December that the Clerk of the House of Commons will be consulted each time a request is made for Fergus to speak at an event or provide a video message.

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