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Speaker apologizes for message to former interim Ontario Liberal leader at convention

OTTAWA — House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus is apologizing after a video message he filmed for the former interim leader of the Ontario Liberals was played at the party's convention on the weekend.

Fergus delivered the apology this morning after Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer said on Sunday that he planned to raise the issue in Parliament, given the Speaker is supposed to serve an explicitly non-partisan role.

The Speaker said he was asked to record a video message for an intimate gathering to honour John Fraser, whom he called a long-standing friend.

The Quebec MP told members of Parliament that he regrets the video was used in other ways, adding he is not a member of the Ontario Liberals and has not voted in the province for 30 years.

Fergus also defended his decision to film the message in the first place, saying he is friends with people from different political backgrounds and that it should not be seen as partisan to recognize a colleague's career.

Fergus was elected to the role in October after his predecessor Anthony Rota stepped down amid controversy over his recognition of a war veteran who served under the Nazis during a visit by Ukraine's president.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press