Conservative MP Andrew Scheer is new House Speaker
Members of Parliament voted Conservative Andrew Scheer, the deputy speaker of the previous Parliament, as the new Speaker of the House Thursday.
Scheer was chosen in a secret ballot process over Denise Savoie, a bilingual NDP candidate from British Columbia on the sixth and final ballot.
The vote numbers were not provided.
Scheer, 32, thanked his wife and young son as well as his parents, who were in the gallery after his election. He also thanked MPs for voting him into the position.
"I've had the honour to be your deputy speaker … and it truly has made me appreciate all that every member brings to this House," he said. "We all do sincerely want Canada to be the best country it can be.
"Thank you for supporting me today, it really does mean a lot."
Scheer is the 35th speaker of the House.
There were originally eight candidates including Conservatives Lee Richardson, Barry Devolin, Merv Tweed, Bruce Stanton, Dean Allison and Ed Holder.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau withdrew his name from consideration for the position before voting began on Thursday.
"Despite my desire to perhaps have a better seat here in this House, I am refusing reluctantly," Trudeau said, blaming Canada Post for not getting his letter to parliamentary officials on time.
The Speaker job comes with a number of desirable perks, including a $233,000 annual salary and an $800,000 travel and entertainment budget. The successful candidate will also enjoy the use of a country home and a full-time driver.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m. in Ottawa, the candidates for speaker were given five minutes each to address the MPs who will vote in the new Speaker.
Allison was given the first chance to address his fellow MPs, because his name came first on the alphabetical list of candidates.
A need for more respect in new Parliament
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan predicts a majority setting will make the new Parliament more civil than its predecessor, giving politicians from all parties more opportunity to focus on the issues.
Van Loan told reporters Thursday that with the Tories now holding majority control of the House of Commons, there will be no more threat of a snap election hanging over parliamentarians' heads like a "guillotine."
That means that MPs can focus on the task at hand, and less on wrangling short-term partisan advantages while working in the House of Commons.
"There's been a lot of talk about decorum in Parliament. I expect that having a majority Parliament will actually improve this," Van Loan said.
Official Opposition Leader Jack Layton said he hopes the government will set a tone of respect when the throne speech is read on Friday, which will emphasize the need for debate and discussion in Parliament, as opposed to bickering and insulting remarks.
"Vigorous debate? Yes. Disagreement where that's appropriate? Absolutely. Passionate debate, but not insults and attacks," Layton told reporters Thursday.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said a more respectful tone of dialogue in Parliament is welcome, but he will wait to see how the government operates.
"It takes two to tango and the government has to show us how civil they're prepared to be," Rae said.
Van Loan said the current parliamentary session will last only a few weeks and Van Loan said the "top legislative priority" is the implementation of the budget.
As the year moves ahead, the Conservatives will push forward with other legislation on crime prevention and the abolition of the long-gun registry, among other issues.
"We look forward to having other pieces of legislation progress in the House of Commons during the spring and fall sessions before becoming law," said Van Loan.
Tweets about seats
A number of MPs took to Twitter to express their reactions to the new seats they were being assigned in the House of Commons -- or in the case of some rookies, for the first time.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, the sole member of her party to hold a seat in the House of Commons, tweeted that she had been given the seat that the interim Liberal leader held when he was first elected to Ottawa in the 1970s.
"And 32 years ago my seat was Bob Rae's," May said on Twitter. "He just joked that in 32 years I could be where he is now!"
Veteran Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett wrote about the new "window seats" she and her fellow party members had been assigned. She also posted a picture of a smiling Dominic LeBlanc, John McCallum and Frank Valeriote sitting near a gothic-looking window in the House.
Conservative MP Mark Strahl told his Twitter followers that he "just took my seat in the House of Commons for the first time."
Strahl is the son of former Conservative cabinet minister Chuck Strahl who decided to retire from public life before the election.
With files from The Canadian Press