OTTAWA – Calls for the resignation of newly-elected Spadina-Fort York MP Kevin Vuong have raised the question: can the House of Commons expel one of its own?
Yes, but according to author and political commentator David Moscrop it would be an extraordinary move.
Moscrop said in an interview with Granthshala.ca, “They can remove whoever they want, for any reason, with a majority vote, and they’ve done it four times to three people, but in 1940’s Not since.”
Vuong – who was quickly tapped by the Liberal Party to ride for Toronto after Adam Vaughan announced he would not run for re-election – was told he could. no longer campaign He would no longer be a member of the Liberal Caucus after further advanced elections under the party’s banner, and just two days before most voters went to the polls on 20 September.
This came after considerable attention was paid to his failure to disclose the sexual harassment allegation against him, which was dropped in 2019. Because he was dropped as a Liberal candidate after Election Canada cut-off for printing ballots, Wuong was still listed as a Liberal candidate. Entrepreneur and naval reservist secured 38.9 percent of the vote.
The newly elected independent MP has apologized for not Disclosure of dropped charges, and has also denied the allegations, stating that he interprets an intimate relationship as “consensual”. He said he plans to address the allegations “entirely in a dedicated forum” at a later date.
He also said that he would continue to sit in the House of Commons despite calls by MPs from all parties to step down.
“I appreciate that not everyone is happy with my choice and I very much understand why it’s different in my case. For those who feel that way, I understand the source of your doubts and I’ve earned your trust.” Will work hard to do that,” Vuong said in a statement on September 22.
Moscrop says that in order to remove an MP, a majority of members must vote in favor of a motion for his removal.
In accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Practice of the House of Commons, the House enjoys “very wide latitude” in exercising its powers to regulate its internal affairs and to pursue disciplinary measures when necessary.
while one of the power is expulsion – including matters outside the scope of his role as an elected official – is considered a serious step that has its limitations, such as not barring an expelled MP from serving in Parliament again.
If the House initiates this rare process to remove Vuong, it will set a precedent, which has included legal offenses in some past instances.
In 2014, the House began proceedings to remove former Conservative MP Dean del Mastro, who pleaded guilty to covering up election campaign spending violations, but resigned from his seat before he had a chance.
Louis Riel was expelled from the House twice, first in 1874 after being charged with murder and then after being deemed a robber. In 1891, when Thomas McGreevy was accused of corrupt practices related to the Quebec construction work, the House passed a resolution to expel him. And then in 1947, the House determined that Fred Rose, who had been convicted of violating the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to six years in prison, had become unable to sit or vote in the House.
“The resolution also ordered the Speaker to issue a warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer to make a writ of election to fill the vacancy. Though the expulsion was not explicitly mentioned in the motion, the House declared his seat vacant,” reads a parliamentary lecturer.
Moskrop says it’s also important to note that the move is “unjustified.”
“One of the reasons it is so barred is that a person who has been removed, or is facing expulsion, has no recourse to the judicial system,” he said.
If Vuong were to be expelled or change his mind and resign voluntarily, there would be a by-election in the riding of Spadina-Fort York. It is only when a vacancy is created that constituents are given the ability to go back to the polls and decide on their next representative.
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, a Liberal MP from the riding near Beach-East York, tweeted Criticizing Wuong’s decision to stay on: “Acting with integrity earns one’s trust. In this case, that means stepping down.” He later added: “Failure to disclose this information to the party is disqualifying.”
NDP MP Charlie Angus also took to Twitter to target, by stating: “Candidates for office demand public confidence in law making, handling constituents’ personal issues, being transparent in business and meeting lobbyists. Ethics matter. Kevin Wong covers up sexual assault allegation. Know him Is.”
It is also possible that if Wong remains MP, he will never have to set foot in Ottawa. If the House of Commons continues to go ahead with a hybrid meeting in the next parliament, Wong has the option of working from home in the Toronto ride.
Granthshala.ca contacted Wong for comment about calls to resign from his seat, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.