Ottawa

Mauril Bélanger's 'mystery' voice condition could force Ottawa MP out of running for Speaker's post

If Ottawa-Vanier MP doesn't regain his voice by the time the House of Commons resumes sitting in early December, he says he will not vie to be its next Speaker.

Ottawa-Vanier MP undergoing tests, has had difficulty speaking since final month of federal election campaign

Mauril Bélanger was re-elected MP of Ottawa-Vanier in the Oct. 19 federal election. (CBC)

Mauril Bélanger, the member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, says he has not given media interviews or spoken on the phone with colleagues in recent months because of a weakened voice.

That unexplained condition may also affect his plans to have his name on the secret ballot when MPs elect a new Speaker of the House of Commons during the first sitting of the new Parliament on Dec. 3.

In a note sent to his colleagues Monday morning, Bélanger described having a CT scan and two MRIs that have come back normal.

He is to undergo more tests in the coming days, the MP said, but if his voice is not back by Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., he will withdraw his name. That is the deadline for MPs to inform the clerk in writing if they do not wish their name to stand.

Below is the note Bélanger sent this morning:

Dear Colleague,

On November 5, I sent a letter to all Members of Parliament signaling my intention to seek election as Speaker of the House of Commons. Following this, I have had many wonderful and credible people, including colleagues from all parties, lobbying on my behalf. People who believe that Parliament and Members alike would benefit from me being the Speaker know my deep commitment to the ability of Members to freely advocate for people, for Committees regaining importance in the and for Parliament to remain sovereign.

Some of my colleagues are aware that since the last month of the election campaign, I have had difficulty speaking. This is why I have not personally been on the phone with many colleagues, or given interviews to the media.

I have had three key medical tests done so far: a CT scan and two magnetic resonance images (MRI), one for the head and one for the neck. All three were deemed normal, therefore no stroke, no cancer, and no tumour. The reasons for the weakening of my voice and for not recovering it to date are still a mystery, but I am expecting more results and shall continue to undergo a series of tests over the next few days. 

I am so very proud of my doctor, Pierre L'Heureux, and the excellent work he has done so far. I am also thankful to the Montfort Hospital for the excellence of the tests conducted to date.

If I do not recover my out-loud voice, and out of respect for my colleagues, I will pull out of the race before 6 pm,December 2, 2015.

My wife Catherine and I are enormously appreciative of the efforts deployed for my candidacy thus far.

Yours sincerely,

Hon. Mauril Bélanger, PC, MP

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