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Northern Ontario Liberal Anthony Rota elected new Speaker of the House of Commons

Anthony Rota voted in as new Speaker of the House of Commons
WATCH: Liberal MP Anthony Rota was voted in by Members of Parliament as the new Speaker of the House on Thursday, before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer ceremoniously “dragged” Rota to the chair, an ancient tradition originated when the Speaker was actually a dangerous job.

Northern Ontario Liberal MP Anthony Rota will be the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

Rota won in the secret ballot vote held as the first act of business before the House of Commons as Parliament prepared to officially open on Thursday ahead of the throne speech.

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He had previously served as assistant deputy Speaker in the last government, which Halifax North Liberal MP Geoff Regan oversaw as the former Speaker.

As Speaker, Rota will be responsible for interpreting the rules and traditions of the House of Commons and overseeing the daily business and proceedings.

He will not vote except in cases of a tie and will not participate in the partisan debates.

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The post also comes with significant perks in the form of a salary top-up of $85,500 added to the base MP salary of roughly $178,900.

It also comes with use of the Speaker’s official residence — known as The Farm — which is located in Kingsmere in Gatineau Park.

Rota addressed members of Parliament after being elected, calling the opportunity an “honour” and thanking Regan for allowing him to learn how to do the job in his former role as assistant deputy Speaker.

“My promise is to be fair,” Rota said in his speech.

“I’m very proud to be the first Speaker of Italian descent to sit in this chair.”

Liberals to lay out minority government agenda with Throne Speech
Liberals to lay out minority government agenda with Throne Speech

He then spoke briefly in Italian before thanking his daughter and his wife for their support.

Rota also promised that while he would be as fair as possible, he hoped to see all members of Parliament think carefully about their conduct and how it reflects on the state of parliamentary debate, which has faced repeated criticisms that behaviour of members in the House of Commons such as heckling is inappropriate.

“I ask one favour of all of you,” he said.

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“Just think, every time you get up, let’s make sure our friends, family and children are all proud of us within this House. That’s all I ask.”

Rota will face the challenge of playing “referee,” as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it in brief remarks after the election, in what is expected to be a contentious minority government scenario over the coming months.

Rota represents the riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming.