Compete for the right to speak and you may get it, Speaker tells MPs


OTTAWA – The Speaker of the House of Commons has loosened what some MPs have seen as a muzzle, saying he won’t always rely on party lists of speakers if individual members rise to compete for a chance to be heard.

Andrew Scheer has delivered a careful ruling in an argument that pitted Conservative backbench MPs against their own party’s tight control over who gets to deliver brief statements in the Commons before question period each day.

Conservative MP Mark Warawa complained last month that his privileges were breached when the party whip refused to allow him to make a statement in the House about sex-selective abortion.

Whip Gordon O’Connor said it’s up to parties to decide who delivers these statements and urged the Speaker to leave the matter alone.

But Scheer says Warawa may have a legitimate concern about the allocation of statements.

The Speaker says he will continue to follow the lists, but he may recognize a member who it not on the list if they rise and make it clear they wish to speak.

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