Members of the provincial parliament have chosen Liberal MPP Dave Levac as Speaker of the Ontario legislature.
He beat out three others, including Donna Cansfield, who was hoping to be Ontario’s first female Speaker. Kevin Flynn and David Zimmer also ran for the job.
An emotional Levac thanked his colleagues in the legislature, calling it an honour to serve as Speaker.
“I accept the challenge humbly, and very proud to say that we are the elected members of Ontario,” he said. “I’ll do my best to work with all of you to keep the dignity and the honour and the trust of this place in your hands. It’s your house, it’s our house.”
The legislature will officially resume Tuesday with the speech from the throne.
The position of Speaker is especially important because for the first time in 26 years, there is a minority government in Ontario.
The Liberals ended up with 53 seats, just one seat shy of a majority. The PCs won 37 and the NDP got 17 in the Oct. 6 election, giving the opposition a total of 54 seats.
The Speaker generally votes with the government during key debates, which, if the position had gone to a member of the opposition, would have been an advantage for the Liberals.
Progressive-Conservative MPP Frank Klees withdrew from the Speaker race last month.
Former Speaker Steve Peters did not run for re-election.
“I would like to congratulate Dave Levac on being elected Speaker of the 40th Parliament of the Ontario Legislature,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said.
“All Ontarians will benefit from his experienced, knowledgeable and committed leadership.
On behalf of 13 million Ontarians, I want to thank outgoing Speaker, Steve Peters, for his hard work, judgment and fairness over the course of the last session.”
With files from The Canadian Press