Another Liberal House Speaker has landed in hot water for yet another government controversy.
MP Greg Fergus faces calls to resign from the Conservative and Bloc Québécois opposition after he appeared in a brief video at the most recent Ontario Liberal leadership convention.
On Monday, he told all House parties he paid homage to a friend — outgoing interim provincial Liberal leader John Fraser — while adorning his speaker robes between segments recorded by ex-politicians.
"I would like to reassure members that the principles of respect, impartiality and decorum are values I continue to prioritize for my speaker's tenure," he told MPs.
However, the explanation did not sway Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer, who urged Fergus to step down in his capacity as House speaker.
He accused Fergus of breaching the impartiality of the Speaker's chair by “paying a partisan tribute to a partisan friend at a partisan event.”
"This conduct is simply unacceptable. It defies all long-standing traditions and expectations attached to the high office of speaker," added Scheer.
Fergus contends he did not intend for his tribute to be taken as a partisan message, given that he and Fraser have a friendship spanning three decades.
"Like all of you, I have deep and abiding relationships with people from all political backgrounds,” he told MPs. “It should not be seen as partisan to recognize our colleague's departure. It is an act of friendship and respect."
Nevertheless, Scheer plans to table a House motion on referring the matter to the House procedures committee, reported the CBC.
Fergus noted he is a Québec MP who represents a Québec riding, reiterating that he has never been a member of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Him and Fraser cited “miscommunication” for the impartiality breach.
"I just deeply appreciated what Greg did and what I would suggest to anybody who's being critical of the Speaker — watch the video," said Fraser on Monday.
However, Bloc House leader Alain Therrien did not buy the explanation, joining forces with the Conservatives in calling on the Speaker to resign.
The NDP commented on supporting the motion but shied away from demanding Fergus to abdicate his parliamentary role.
Fergus confirmed he would recuse himself from overseeing any House debate regarding the video and did not oversee Monday's question period as a result.