Sick MP is ‘speaker for a day’ in Canada

Mauril Belanger in the House of CommonsImage copyright

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Mr Trudeau said Mr Belanger’s courage is ‘an example for all Canadians’

A Canadian member of parliament diagnosed with a disease that has taken his voice was honoured as “speaker for a day” in the House of Commons.

Mauril Belanger, a Liberal MP who was aiming to become Speaker of the House, learned last year he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Colleagues from all sides applauded as he made his way to the Speaker’s seat, where he used an iPad to “speak”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among many who paid tribute.

“Mauril is a dear friend who helped me a lot in my first years as a parliamentarian, with both stern words and strong support,” he said.

“He’s a man who takes his parliamentary and constituency responsibilities extremely seriously.”

Mr Trudeau teared up as Mr Belanger passed down the Hall of Honour in the House of Commons, CBC reporter Hannah Thibedeau tweeted.

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Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Mr Belanger is “an example of what we should all aspire to be”.

An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen praised the “rare show of solidarity” on Parliament Hill.

“In the House of Commons, so often a nasty and partisan place, Canadians saw a suspension of the things that are wrong with politics. Instead they saw something that was right: a sense of support and solidarity, a sense of common humanity,” the publication’s editorial board wrote.

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