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House of Commons Speaker Fergus thanks MPs for a 'second chance'

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House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus has thanked MPs for giving him a "second chance" after being embroiled in acrimony over what MPs agreed was his "inappropriate" personal video message to a long-time Liberal friend.

Opening up the final House sitting day of the year, Fergus rose in his Speaker's chair on Friday to deliver the apology the Procedure and House Affairs Committee (PROC) recommended he offer.

"I want to thank colleagues for their work and consideration of the serious matter that was put before them," Fergus said.

"I made a serious mistake. I should have never recorded that video, not in the Speaker's uniform, not in the Speaker's office, and not for a friend who is an active politician. I am deeply sorry. I want to reassure members that nothing like this will never happen again."

Fergus went on to state that as requested, his office is putting in place "a more rigorous communication" to protect the impartiality of his role. The Speaker vowed to ensure any future requests "are subject to intense scrutiny" and consultation with House administration.

While the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois continue to call for his resignation, the Liberals and New Democrats used their combined majority to impose sanctions rather than press for Fergus to step down.

"To those members who have generously extended me a second chance to serve as Speaker, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart," Fergus said Friday. "To those members who are opposed to the second chance let me say, I can understand your point of view and I will spare no effort to regain your trust."

Fergus also offered apologies for how the controversy proved to be a distraction in the Commons, "at a time when members' timetables were very full and our legislative program was very heavy," and promised to fulfill all of PROC's recommendations.

"It is essential that the Speaker be impartial and nonpartisan in every act, every gesture and every appearance," he said, before carrying on to regular House business. 

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