Toronto

Speaker asks Ford's PC MPPs to stop giving so many standing ovations in Legislature

The Speaker has asked the Progressive Conservatives to keep their standing ovations to a minimum to "enhance decorum" in the Legislature.

Ovations should be kept to a minimum to 'enhance the decorum,' Speaker Ted Arnott says

Ontario PC MPPs have been told by the Speaker to use standing ovations judiciously. (Lisa Xing/CBC)

The frequency of standing ovations in the Ontario Legislature, predominantly by Progressive Conservative members, has become an issue of decorum, and elicited a somewhat lengthy reprimand from Speaker Ted Arnott Wednesday.

At the beginning of question period, Arnott specifically addressed the "number and duration" of standing ovations, which he says have routinely "interrupted" question period and prompted complaints since Premier Doug Ford took power. 

"We are all accountable for our behaviour in this House," said Arnott, reminding MPPs the public is watching.

"I would therefore respectfully ask members to keep their ovations to a minimum to enhance the decorum."

While clapping is common in the Legislature, standing ovations have become noticeably more frequent under the new PC government. This week saw upwards of 20 standing ovations during question period. 

Arnott said he also had difficulty hearing and seeing MPPs who are speaking when there's a standing ovation, and he has made it a practice to order the clock be stopped when he deems the standing ovations are interfering with the proceedings. 

Despite the warning, PC MPPs couldn't hold back for long, giving Ford a standing ovation minutes later.

According to the Ontario legislature's standing orders, the Speaker does not have the power to prohibit standing ovations. 

'We're an enthusiastic team'

However, Government House Leader Todd Smith laughed it off, joking he was worried about his circulation because PC MPPs didn't stand up as often Wednesday.

"We're an enthusiastic team," said Smith. "The decorum you're seeing from the government side is one of excitement about the agenda we're rolling out," 

But the leader of the official opposition agreed with the Speaker's warning. 

"It's disruptive. It wastes time. It's not really necessary," said NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

"If you keep doing it over and over and over, it really does begin to lose its effectiveness."

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