House of Commons | Liberal Party apologizes to President for partisan message

(Ottawa) The national director of the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC) apologized in writing to the Speaker of the House of Commons after embarrassing him. The Conservatives again called for the resignation of Greg Fergus on Tuesday after the publication of an invitation intended for activists in his riding which denounced the “thoughtless policies” of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre.

“The Liberal Party of Canada categorically apologizes for this error and we take full responsibility for it,” wrote Azam Ishmael in a letter addressed to Mr. Fergus and published on the social network X.

He acknowledged that the partisan language used in the invitation was added without his knowledge due to a lack of communication between the party and the Hull-Aylmer riding association. It has since been corrected.

Earlier in the day, Alberta Conservative MP Chris Warkentin tabled a privilege motion in the House of Commons calling for the resignation of the Speaker of the House.

“It has simply become impossible to distinguish between President Greg Fergus and Liberal Greg Fergus,” he wrote to her on Tuesday. “Every decision you make – and in hindsight, every decision you made – will be presumed to be tinged with red,” he added.

This affair comes three weeks after the expulsion of the Conservative leader by the Speaker of the House for having called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “crazy” and “extremist”.

“What we see is a bad casting », Declared the parliamentary leader of the Bloc Québécois, Alain Therrien in the chamber. The party had nevertheless praised the “common sense” of Mr. Fergus that day.

“The office of president requires a reserve in partisan activities, in partisan remarks and we will say in his case, partisan videos, but I did not observe a decision in the chamber on the part of Mr. Fergus who was at its very face eminently partisan,” admitted the Bloc leader, Yves-François Blanchet in the press scrum.

The June 4 activity in which Mr. Fergus is to participate is intended for liberal activists in his riding, that of Hull-Aylmer in Outaouais. The initial invitation criticized the PLC’s main political opponent.

“While Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives propose reckless policies that could harm your health, your safety and your wallet, our Liberal team is focused on making life more affordable for Canadians and implementing its bold plan aimed in particular at creating an economy that benefits everyone, protecting our environment and ensuring safety in our communities,” we can read in the screenshot taken by the Conservatives.

The paragraph was removed and replaced with an invitation to “enjoy a summer kick-off barbecue in good spirits, with refreshing drinks and appetizing dishes.” »

In the Speaker’s office, it was explained that Mr. Fergus had discussed the event with the Clerk of the House of Commons who had “expressed no concern.” Events in the president’s constituency are permitted. The constituency association was unaware that it had been published on the PLC website.

“They asked that it be removed as soon as possible, which was done,” said its director of media relations, Mathieu Gravel. The text found there is a generic text produced by the Party, and it had not been approved by Mr. Fergus’ team. »

This excuse doesn’t pass muster for the Conservatives because of a small sentence at the bottom of the event which indicates that “Team Trudeau events are posted by local volunteer teams.”

“The president did everything he had to do,” said the parliamentary leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Peter Julian. The latter had suggested to the national director of the PLC to apologize to Mr. Fergus for having totally “disrespected” him by publishing “something completely different without his knowledge, without his authorization. »

The Speaker of the House of Commons is not making his first misstep since he has arbitrated parliamentary proceedings. Calls for his resignation were also made by the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois in December after the broadcast of a video tribute to mark the departure of John Fraser as head of the Ontario Liberal Party during the leadership convention party. He appeared there dressed in the toga of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The matter was referred to the chamber’s Office of Internal Economy, which imposed a fine of $1,500.

Mr Fergus was elected speaker of the House of Commons in October following the resignation of Anthony Rota after the ovation given to a former Nazi fighter during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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