Commons Speaker Milliken won't run again
Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons longer than anyone else in parliamentary history, won't run for re-election, CBC News has learned.
Milliken was first elected in 1988 as a Liberal and has been the Commons Speaker since 2001.
"He's made the decision that he's not going to run again in the next election, which could foreseeably be as far off as 2012," the CBC's Rosemary Barton reported.
Barton said the 63-year-old Milliken is expected to announce his decision in his riding Saturday. He represents Kingston and the Islands.
During a fractious time in Canadian politics, Barton notes that Milliken has managed to earn respect from all sides in the House of Commons.
His tenure has included several key decisions — most recently last April when he ruled that the federal government breached parliamentary privilege when it refused to produce uncensored documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees.
Milliken subsequently approved an agreement between the government and two opposition parties that would give MPs access to the documents.
Promised to improve decorum
Milliken was re-elected Speaker in 2008 on a promise to improve decorum in the House. After winning on the fifth ballot, he served notice to MPs that he wanted a "quieter and more productive chamber" to deal with the economic crisis facing Canadians.
Some MPs had faulted Milliken for not taking a tougher line in keeping rowdy members in line. But Milliken noted that a drop in decorum was not uncommon in minority Parliaments.
Milliken's eventual departure will open up one of the most coveted jobs in Parliament, as it comes with considerable benefits.
The winning candidate's salary is topped up to almost $230,000 from the base MP salary of $155,400. The position also comes with a one-of-a-kind apartment in Parliament's Centre Block and the use of Kingsmere, a historic estate in the nearby Gatineau Hills of Quebec.
The candidates who ran against Milliken in 2008 for the Speaker's job were Conservative MPs Barry Devolin, Andrew Scheer, Merv Tweed and Royal Galipeau; Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger and NDP MP Joe Comartin.