Victoria MP Denise Savoie is the new deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.
While it doesn’t come with all the perks – a plump salary, an apartment, house and a chauffeured vehicle – that come with the role of Speaker, her appointment Monday means she can vote on most matters, and have more time to spend in Victoria.
Savoie narrowly lost the Speaker’s position June 2 to Saskatchewan Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, who at age 32 became the youngest in Canadian history to take the cushy job. Scheer called a meeting with Savoie Monday morning, and after agreeing that they both want to make decorum in the House a priority, he offered her the job – promoting her from her previous role as assistant deputy.
“Last week I asked my fellow MPs to imagine a Parliament that functions well – where debate is not focused on scoring points, but rather on creating better, more inclusive public policy,” Savoie said. “Starting this week, I will ask my fellow MPs to make that Parliament a reality.”
She will be expected to chair over House procedures, including some debates and votes, for six to eight hours a week when Parliament sits.
Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder said Savoie is an ideal deputy Speaker because of her even-handed approach and her fluency in English and French.
“I also think it’s important to have a woman because women’s voices are so underrepresented in the House,” Crowder said.
Savoie was the only member of the official Opposition and the only woman to vie for the role of Speaker June 2, and narrowly lost to Scheer in the sixth and final round of voting.
“Her reputation is that she’s firm and fair,” Crowder said. “People have really appreciated her civil approach.”