When the government falls tomorrow afternoon and Parliament is subsequently dissolved, Peter Milliken‘s time as Speaker of the House of Commons will come to an end, Mr. Milliken having already decided that he will not seek reelection as the MP for Kingston and the Islands. First elected to the post in January 2001, he will retire as the longest-serving Speaker in the history of the House.
His tenure will be remembered as historic on a number of fronts, but his ruling last year on Afghan detainee documents and his rulings this year on statements made by International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda and the government’s refusal to turn over documents requested by the House will likely be of significant and lasting consequence. Amid much gnashing of teeth over the state of our parliamentary democracy, Mr. Milliken reasserted the power and preeminence of the House of Commons. As a legacy, a Speaker could not ask for much greater.