Oh, it’s on: Two more MPs join the Race for Kingsmere

Does this suggest a split within the Conservative caucus? Have he and Merv Tweed established a Rae-Ignatieff-style pact of nonaggression? Most importantly, whither Andrew Scheer? 

From:   Devolin, Barry – M.P.  
Sent:   November 7, 2008 10:03 AM 
Subject:        Speaker of the House of Commons

Dear Colleague,

Congratulations on your election to Canada’s 40th Parliament. It is a great honour to be elected as one of the people’s representatives in Ottawa.

When we meet in the House of Commons on Tuesday November 18, our first task will be to elect a Speaker.

I am running for Speaker because I would like the opportunity to take the same cooperative approach that I took as committee chair into the House of Commons. I will strive to earn and maintain the respect of every Member of Parliament, and will do whatever is necessary to make House proceedings civil and constructive.

As a committee chair, I made every effort to be fair and reasonable. I enjoyed the challenge of running a good meeting, and was proud that the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development committee was professional and productive while I was in the chair.

(For those who do not know me well, I encourage you to verify this by speaking with your colleagues who have worked with me in the past.)

Every individual has their strengths and aptitudes. I am confident that my calm approach, contemplative nature and restrained partisanship make me well-suited for the chair in the House of Commons.

I also have a lifelong interest in democracy and its institutions. I received my M.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and my B.A. from Carleton University, both in political science. While in graduate school, I taught an introductory course on American Government and an advanced course on Congress and the Legislative Process.

Amongst other things, prior to my election, I served as Director of Research for the Reform Party of Canada in 1993-94, Chief of Staff for two provincial ministers, and Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario between 1995 and 2000.

Over the past 15 years, I have participated in the legislative process in both Ottawa and Toronto in a variety of roles. As such, I am confident I would bring a steady and mature approach to managing House proceedings.

The Speaker is also an important ambassador for Canada. Having lived for a year in Europe, a year and a half in Asia, and three years in the United States, I appreciate the importance of cultural sensitivity and protocol, and recognize the value of parliamentary diplomacy in promoting Canada’s interests abroad.

Given the shortness of time, we may not have the opportunity to speak in person before we return on November 18th. In any event, I look forward to addressing you in the House of Commons that day. Thank you for your consideration.


Barry Devolin, M.P. 
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

And from the NDP’s corner of the House comes this semi-surprising notice of intention from Joe Comartin Full disclosure: ITQ will be rooting against him all the way to the final ballot for the very simple reason that the House needs more opposition MPs like Joe Comartin, not less. (Sorry, Joe. We mean it in the best way possible.): 

From: Comartin, Joe – M.P. 

Subject: Speaker of the House of Commons

7 November 2008 
Dear Colleague, 
I am writing to inform you of my intention to let my name stand for election as the Speaker of the House in this 40
th Parliament.

Since my election as Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh in 2000, I have had the opportunity to serve on several Standing Committees of the House, including as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.  During the 38th and 39th Parliaments, I had the privilege of being the Deputy House Leader for my Party.  In this capacity, I strived to work in a non-partisan manner to facilitate the smooth functioning of House activities.  In addition, the role of Deputy House Leader allowed me the opportunity to build on more than 27 years of legal experience and develop significant expertise in Parliamentary procedure.   I have studied extensively and visited our sister Parliaments in the UK, Australia and New Zealand to understand their workings.

As an MP I have consistently strived to be well-informed, fair, and just in executing my duties. I am confident that those who have had the opportunity to work with me will attest to my sincere desire to restore and elevate the reputation of Parliament. 

It has been the observation of many that decorum in Parliament has deteriorated and as such directly impacts on the quality of debate and indeed the credibility of all parliamentarians.  The Speaker, in providing neutral guidance and order to the daily functioning of the House plays a pivotal role in maintaining MPs` privilege and establishing rules of decorum for present and future parliamentarians.

As MPs we do not operate in isolation, and given the serious issues facing Canada’s 40th Parliament, I believe we can and should set a constructive tone for the country and reduce, if not eliminate, partisan rancour. If you are serious about the importance of Parliament functioning in a collegial and productive manner, and share my concern that we must restore a culture of civility to the House, I invite you to support my candidacy for Speaker on November 18th.  

I look forward to working constructively with all Members of Parliament in the upcoming session.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at my Parliamentary office.

Sincerely, your colleague, 

Joe Comartin 
Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh

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