Canada’s House of Commons has voted in its first Black speaker on Tuesday, following the resignation of the previous speaker over Nazi veteran recognition in Parliament.
Greg Fergus, a member of the Liberal Party representing Hull-Aylmer in Quebec, was elected as the 38th House speaker in a secret ballot in the 338-member House, beating six other candidates.
In his first remarks, Mr Fergus urged his colleagues to treat each other with respect in the House, a place he said was for “passionate debate”.
“We will show them politics is a noble profession,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his election “should be inspiring for all Canadians, especially younger generations who want to get involved in politics”.
While Mr Fergus is the first black man to become Speaker in the House, Jean Augustine, the first black woman to be elected as a member of parliament in 1993, later went on to briefly serve as deputy speaker.
Fergus was first elected in 2015 as an MP for the Quebec riding (district) of Hull-Aylmer, near Ottawa, the year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party swept into power.
His personal biography describes him as a “community activist, long distance runner, new grandfather and failed musician”.