MNO President Gary Lipinski (left) with Ontario Parliament Speaker Dave Levac at
Louis Riel Day Ceremonies.
On November 21, Métis Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) Dave Levac was elected Speaker by his fellow Parliamentarians. This is believed to be the first time that a Métis has served in that position. After his election Speaker Levac stated: “I’m very moved, this is a glorious place,” and mindful of the fact he would be serving in a minority Parliament also commented: “We can make this work.”
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski welcomed Speaker Levac’s election stating: “Dave’s election over four other MPPs demonstrates that he is held in high regard by his colleagues in all parties represented in the house. This is a crucial position in a minority Parliament.” Lipinski pointed out that the new Speaker’s Métis heritage will be an asset in his new position. “Traditionally, Métis have worked for consensus and reaching common ground,” stated President Lipinski, “and Dave is very suited for that kind of work. He will help facilitate partnerships and lower the temperature of contentious issues whenever and wherever they may present themselves”.
Speaker Levac has served as MPP for Brandt since 1999 and his parliamentary career has included the introduction of several successful private members bills. He has also served at various times as Parliamentary Assistant for Community Safety and Correctional Services, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and prior to becoming Speaker was serving as Chair for the Economic, Environmental and Resources Policy (EERP) Committee of Cabinet and a member of the Standing Committee on General Government.
Prior to entering politics, Speaker Levac had taught elementary and secondary school for 12 years before becoming a principal in 1989. In his capacity as a principal, Speaker Levac developed Peace Park and conflict resolution programs, for which, among other accomplishments, he received OECTA’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 1994.
“Dave brings many skills to the position of Speaker,” stated President Lipinski, “and he is a great role model for our Métis youth, who can now see a Métis person rise to one of the most important leadership positions in Ontario.”