QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario is poised to make history as the NDP puts forward Jill Andrew (Toronto-St. Paul’s), Jennifer French (Oshawa), and Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale-High Park) for appointment as deputy speakers in the legislature.
When appointed, Andrew will become the first Black woman to hold the post of deputy speaker in Ontario, and Karpoche will become the first person of Tibetan descent in the province to take on the role. This will mark French’s second stint as deputy speaker, as she previously served in the position last term.
The Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly require the House Leaders of recognized Opposition parties - in this case NDP House Leader Peggy Sattler - to advise the government on the appointment of three deputy speakers. As the only recognized Opposition party, all three deputy speakers are to be chosen from the NDP.
“Peggy and the NDP are pleased to put forward such a capable group of women as Jill, Jennifer and Bhutila for appointments as deputy speakers in Ontario’s legislature,” said Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns. “We are also excited at the prospect of making history in Ontario by appointing the first Black woman and the first person of Tibetan descent to the post of deputy speaker.”
Deputy speakers play an important role in Ontario’s legislature, regularly filling in for the elected speaker and also acting as Chairs of the Committee of the Whole House. The speaker is tasked with taking an even-handed approach to enforcing rules and maintaining order as MPPs conduct business.
“I’m proud to have my name put forward alongside two other amazing women and NDP colleagues for a deputy speaker appointment. I look forward to performing this vital role in the legislature and joining the outstanding company of trailblazers like Alvin Curling, the first Black speaker to preside over the legislative assembly in Ontario.”
“It was an honour to serve for four years as a presiding officer of the legislature, and I am looking forward to continuing this important non-partisan work.”
“I’m excited to step into this role and contribute to the function of Ontario’s legislature as a deputy speaker. It’s a privilege and honour that I don’t take lightly.”