Jamaica-born Patrice Barnes, Progressive Conservative MPP for Ajax, says “it’s a great honour” to sit as Deputy Speaker in the Ontario Legislature.
“But it can be a difficult job because I have to keep order and sometimes it gets very heated in the House,” she told The Caribbean Camera.
“I remember the first time I sat in the Speaker’s chair I was like a supply teacher in class and MPPs misbehaved,” she said.
“But I have now grown into the role. I was a lot more timid when I started but now I am a little bit more aggressive,” she added.
Barnes is one of four female MPPs who have been appointed as Deputy Speakers. She sits in the Speaker’s chair on Wednesdays when the House is in session.
The other three Deputies are Donna Skelly (Flamborough-Glenbrook), Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale- High Park) and Lucille Collard (Ottawa-Vanier).
Barnes is also parliamentary assistant to education minister Stephen Lecce.