Another possibly relevant section of the Standing Orders (emphasis added):
106. (2) At the commencement of every session and, if necessary, during the course of a session, each standing or special committee shall elect a Chair and two Vice-Chairs, of whom the Chair shall be a Member of the government party, the first Vice-Chair shall be a Member of the Official Opposition, and the second Vice-Chair shall be a Member of an opposition party other than the Official Opposition party.
“Shall.” Not may. Not much wriggle room there, as far as I can see: the five Conservatives who currently sit on the Procedure and House Affairs committee are just going to have to accept the inevitable, and draw straws or something to figure out which one of them will take over for the recently departed Joe Preston.
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Actually, come to think of it, there are only three contenders, once you take away Preston (who, by resigning, would seem to have taken himself out of the running, although in theory, there’s no reason why the opposition members couldn’t simply re-appoint him; it would, at the very least, save the audience from his performance as fill-in filibuster-er) and Gary Goodyear, Preston’s immediate predecessor, whose forcible removal from the chair by a vote of non-confidence was what led to Preston’s election to the post. Although he’s still technically eligible, it seems unlikely that there has been a collective change of heart amongst opposition members. (There’s also that unfortunate business about his campaign manager running afoul of Elections Canada which might perhaps be a bit too ironic, given recent events.)
That leaves Scott Reid, Pierre Lemieux and Tom Lukiwski. Taking into acount the — shall we say, possible overexposure of the latter, he’s probably safe. How will Canadians – particularly Type Bs, and those who like them – miss him if he doesn’t go away, and all that.
Scott Reid would, in theory, be the best choice, since he seems by far the most procedurally-savvy government member, although he really, really should avoid getting into a rules fight with the Deputy Clerk of the House. I suspect, though, that the most likely choice would be Lemieux, a backbencher’s backbencher who would be happy to serve as parliamentary golem for the Whip, the House Leader or whoever ends up calling the shots, should the investigation into the in and out scandal go forward.