MP Mauril Belanger, diagnosed with ALS, withdraws from Speaker race

Belanger says he will maintain his seat for the Ottawa-Vanier riding

Ottawa-area Liberal MP Mauril Belanger says he has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and has dropped out of race to become the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Belanger informed his political colleagues of the diagnosis in a statement on Monday.

Liberal MPs Geoff Regan, Denis Paradis and Yasmin Ratansi, have also expressed an interested in running for the Speaker’s chair.

Rookie Winnipeg MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette had put his name forward, but withdrew over the weekend after controversial remarks he made about the position.

Belanger says while his doctor has advised him to abandon his bid for the Speaker’s job, he will maintain his seat in Parliament for the Ottawa-Vanier riding.

Electing the Speaker is the first order of business in the Commons once the 42nd session of Parliament begins on Thursday and must be done before the speech from the throne can be read the next day.

Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, Speaker in the last Parliament, has said he will not run this time around and has been named Conservative House leader.

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