Canada elects first Black speaker of the House of Commons


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By Niha Masih, The Washington Post

Greg Fergus, Canada’s newly elected speaker of the House, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, left, in Ottawa on Tuesday. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Canada’s House of Commons voted in Greg Fergus as its first Black speaker on Tuesday, following the resignation of the previous speaker, who had invited a Nazi veteran to Parliament.

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.

Describing his new role as a “great honor,” Fergus told House members that he hoped to show people that “politics is a noble profession.”

Fergus, who has served as a member of Parliament since 2015, chairs the Black Caucus in Parliament and has held senior advisory roles in a number of ministries. He is the father of three adult children and has one grandson. Besides politics, his interests include running and jazz.

Previously Jean Augustine, Canada’s first Black woman to be elected as a member of Parliament, briefly served as deputy speaker before her retirement from politics in 2006.

Fergus’s election was heralded as “historic” by colleagues across party lines.

“Greg Fergus not only brings a wealth of experience to this role, he is the first Black Canadian to become Speaker of the House of Commons — an inspiration to all Canadians, especially younger generations who want to get involved in politics,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement issued by his office.

Read more about this historic political moment.

Slowly we become a world with more representation. Read more about the Struggle for Equality here.

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