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New House Speaker Conservative MP Andrew Scheer

CBC Andrew Scheer has been elected Speaker of the House of Commons, the youngest MP to win the job in Canadian history.

Scheer, a 32-year-old MP from Saskatchewan, claimed the title after a long day of voting by MPs on their first day back on Parliament Hill.

Scheer was chosen out of eight candidates and it took six rounds of voting before he was finally declared the winner. He beat out the NDP's Denise Savoie on the final ballot. Both Scheer and Savoie had experience as deputy Speaker in the previous Parliament.

Scheer's fellow Conservative MPs Dean Allison, Barry Devolin, Ed Holder, Lee Richardson, Bruce Stanton and Merv Tweed were also in the running for the Speaker position.

Scheer now assumes a role that comes with a lot of responsibilities but also many benefits, including an apartment on Parliament Hill, the beautiful and historic house at the Kingsmere estate in the Gatineau Hills, a car and driver and a large hospitality budget.

The Speaker election was the first order of business Thursday, the first day of the 41st Parliament. The lengthy process began at 11 a.m. ET, with MPs entering the House of Commons, more than 100 of them for the very first time, to listen to speeches by the candidates.

Each made their pitch to their colleagues, many of them emphasized the need more civility and respect in the Commons, and voting got underway in the early afternoon.

Scheer told his fellow MPs in his speech that "toxic language" has too often crept into their debates and Canadians are disappointed by their name-calling and other behaviour.

Upholding the rights and privileges is an important function of the Speaker, Scheer said, and he promised to do it, if elected.

"Based on my experience, my passion for this place, my fair enforcement of the rules, I humbly ask for your support," he said.

The last-place finishers and any candidate receiving less than 5 per cent of the vote were dropped off the ballot with each round. Dean Allison and Bruce Stanton were the first to lose, followed by Ed Holder after the second, then Barry Devolin after the third.

Lee Richardson, who speaks little French, was then up against Scheer and Savoie, both deputy Speakers in the last Parliament and both bilingual.

The race for Speaker proved to be more competitive than usual. Liberal MP Peter Milliken had a lock on the job for a decade but with his retirement, the field was opened up and eight MPs competed for the perk-filled position.

Savoie was the only woman, and only NDP candidate, up against the seven Conservatives. The Liberals and Bloc Québécois, with only 34 and four MPs, respectively, didn't put forward any candidates. The Speaker acts as a non-partisan MP and sacrifices the ability to vote in the Commons, except when a tie must be broken.

The Speaker election began earlier in the day with speeches by the candidates. In five minutes or less they highlighted their skills and explained why they believe they are best positioned to be the MP in charge of keeping all the other ones in line.

The Speaker has many procedural and ceremonial duties, including presiding over debates in the Commons and the daily question period where the atmosphere can get rowdy -- and rude.

In their remarks, the candidates emphasized the need for MPs to show each other more respect and to improve decorum.

"This is our place, these are our choices and it begins by building respectful relationships with each other," said Holder. He said he would follow the example set by Milliken who would often host events to encourage MPs to come together in non-partisan ways. "It is my intention to carry on with these important traditions."

Scheer said too often "toxic language" creeps into the debate and that the Speaker needs to be more assertive when enforcing the rules. Scheer pledged to protect the rights and privileges of parliamentarians.

"Based on my experience, my passion for this place, my fair enforcement of the rules, I humbly ask for your support," he said.

Savoie said as Speaker she would help restore the faith of Canadians in Parliament and she called for Thursday to be a "turning point."

"Let that change begin today," she said.

Richardson noted that the Speaker also acts as an ambassador for Canada when leading delegations abroad.

"I shall represent you and this Parliament with dignity, purpose and honour," the Calgary MP said.

In between the rounds of voting, MPs mixed and mingled in the "hospitality suites" that some of the candidates have set up for the day.

Tweed, for example, invited all MPs to stop by his suite before the voting got underway. He was serving Starbucks coffee and wine throughout the day. Other candidates are offering food and drinks to their colleagues as they try to win their support throughout the voting rounds. Devolin was serving ice cream and Scheer was also offering drinks, cupcakes and other snacks. He noted he was serving Tim Hortons coffee, "Canadian" coffee.

The hosting of receptions by candidates is unusual; normally they don't campaign for the position so openly. But Scheer said it's being done as a courtesy for MPs who could be spending a long afternoon on the Hill.

"I don't think there's anything over the top about it, it's just a nice place for people to mix and mingle," he said. It also gives MPs a chance to meet some of their new colleagues, said Scheer.

Once a winner is declared, the new Speaker will take a seat in the Speaker's chair and adjourn the House of Commons until Friday afternoon, when Gov. Gen David Johnston will read the speech from the throne.

When MPs filed into the Commons Thursday morning, it was the very first time for more than 100 of them. The 41st Parliament is made up of a large class of rookies, and many are from the new Official Opposition, the NDP. History was made when the party's leader, Jack Layton, took his seat directly across from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who returned to the Commons with his first majority government.

Until now, the NDP caucus had sat in the far corners of the Commons, but those seats are now occupied by the Liberals, who suffered a historic defeat on May 2, along with the Bloc Québécois. The former leaders of both those parties, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe, lost their seats and resigned.

History was also made when Elizabeth May entered the Commons chamber as the first Green Party MP elected in Canada.

The job of Speaker comes with some heavy responsibilities, but there are some enviable perks that go along with it. He or she gets a car and driver, an apartment in Parliament Hill's Centre Block, a beautiful, 19th-century farmhouse in Gatineau Park, a sizeable budget for entertaining, and a paycheque worth about $233,000.

The election of the Speaker kicks off a busy couple of days for parliamentarians.

After Friday's throne speech, many MPs will travel to their ridings for the weekend, then return Monday when the House will begin its routine proceedings. The first question period will take place - a historic one that will see Layton pose his first question to the prime minister as Opposition leader.

Monday is also when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will present the federal budget. He has indicated it will be similar to the one tabled in March, with a few tweaks. It will include both a controversial plan to phase out an important source of revenue for the federal political parties, the per-vote subsidy, and more than $2 billion for Quebec in compensation for harmonizing its provincial sales tax with the GST.

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