Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, who has returned to Queen’s Park after a four-year hiatus, would like to make history as the first woman to become speaker.
McKenna, elected in 2011 then defeated in 2014 before returning after the June 7 vote, said she’s seen the highs and the lows of politics.
“I remember how I felt the first time I entered the Legislature after being elected in 2011, and I remember how I felt when leaving in 2014,” she told MPPs.
“Both were humbling experiences that reinforced my respect for this democratic institution, towards which we all have a special obligation. For me, the Legislature is a daily reminder of the awesome responsibility that each of us have been entrusted with.”
MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Leamington), who was first elected in 2011, has been touting his experience as a deputy speaker and as a long-time referee and umpire.
“I have a strong sense of fair play developed over many years as an official in provincial basketball, hockey and baseball (both fastball and slo-pitch),” he said.
Along with a spacious apartment on the third floor of the Legislature, the speaker’s job comes with immortality in the form of a large official portrait than will hang on the building’s first floor.
The new speaker will succeed Dave Levac, a Liberal MPP who did not seek re-election this spring. Levac was the longest serving speaker in Ontario history with almost seven years on the job.
There are 76 Conservatives, 40 New Democrats, seven Liberals, and one Green eligible to vote.