The Speaker Steps Aside
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.Peter Milliken has been Speaker of the House of Commons since 2001. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)
"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.
Peter Miliken will certainly go down as one of the most prolific speakers in parliamentary history. He has held the position for nearly a decade and has held it during very interesting times - three successive minority governments.
Because of the nature of minority governments, Miliken has been put to the test on many occasions - 6 tie votes (including the infamous 2005 confidence motion), precedence setting decisions, and MPs whose behaviour has ranged from "unparliamentary" to downright "buffoonish".
No doubt, many words of praise will be written about Miliken's tenure as speaker, most of them deserved.
Equally interesting will be what happens in his riding of Kingston and the Islands:
2008 Election Results
Peter Milliken (Liberal): 22,734 (39.2%)
Brian Abrams (Conservative): 18,895 (32.5%)
Rick Downes (NDP): 10,158 (17.5%)
Eric Walton (Green): 6,282 (10.8%)
Miliken has held the riding since 1988 - before that, it was Flora MacDonald's for 16 years (I should mention the Liberals did hold the seat in the summer of '69).
But as you can see above, the Liberal margin of victory has been cut like a knife - from 29% in 2004 to 20% in 2006 to 7% in 2008. Given this, the Tories will certainly be eyeing this riding next election.
And for good reason. My demographic regression model projects the seat over the past three elections as a toss-up between the Liberals and the Tories (Lib 36.0%, CPC 35.3%, NDP 22.3%, Green 6.4%). And that's assuming a 4% Liberal lead in Ontario - the Conservatives took the province by 5.4% last election.
So demographically, the Conservatives would have to be considered slight favourites to win back the riding. Still, Miliken's coat tails are worth something, and all those winning campaigns should have left the Liberal team with lots of ID'd voters and sign locations.
So, let's call it a toss-up.
Maybe, just maybe, the fates will conspire and let Miliken cast the tie breaking vote.