• Nick Zacharias

Peter Schiefke sworn in for a second term


PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Liberal MP Peter Schiefke (seated) is surrounded by members of his team as he is sworn in for a second term in the House of Commons Friday, November 22.

At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22, Peter Schiefke was sworn in for the second time as the Member of Canadian Parliament for the region of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and a sizeable crowd including his family, his team, invited guests, media, and well-wishers were in attendance to witness the event.

The group got a guided tour of the West Block, including the Prime Ministers’ Portrait Gallery, parliamentary offices and the impressive, if temporary, House of Commons.

The new House of Commons, to be used while extensive renovations are conducted on the Centre Block, looks remarkably familiar at eye-level. All the benches, speaker’s chair, and other accoutrements have been brought over and their positioning exactly replicated in their temporary home. Look up, however, and it’s a different story – the space where parliamentarians now sit was formerly an outdoor courtyard on an upper floor of the Block. The once-outdoor stone walls and green roof accents now take on a warm glow, safely ensconced under five million tonnes of structural steel supporting a glass roof that allows natural light to flood the room.

“It’s an amazing space, that carries on a lot of history and tradition” said Schiefke, gamely demonstrating with a willing volunteer how the benches on the opposite sides of the House are positioned exactly far enough apart to allow room for two members with drawn swords to face each other, but leaving an inch of space between the (imaginary) weapons, “…to symbolize that in here, when we have disagreements, we battle each other with words instead of swords.”

It was an entertaining and poignant show appreciated by the crowd, which even included Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who happened to be visiting and who recently returned from the longest Canadian mission to date on the International Space Station. Even on the day of his swearing in, Schiefke couldn’t help but be impressed.

PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS

Peter Schiefke brought wife Paula Ruttle (right) and children Anderson (left) and Noelle along for the swearing-in ceremony.

“The greatest thing though in the House of Commons,” said Schiefke, “is that in here I am no longer Peter Schiefke. In here I am, ‘the honourable Member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges,’ and even when we argue and things get heated, I’m arguing with the honourable member from this region or that region; it isn’t personal. We all know that in the end, each of us is working to defend what we think is in the best interest of Canadians.”

Following the tour with personal highlights, the group moved to another room to witness the swearing-in proper. Having sworn to, “…be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors,” and having signed the Test Roll, Schiefke was all smiles as he took the time to pose for photos and reaffirm his commitment.

“I’m truly honoured to be here, with my family and amazing team, and I’m honoured to be given the chance to continue to work to improve the lives of people in our region and in Canada.”

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