Breaking Point

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - by: Joe Hueglin

take his

Dr. Keith Martin disrespected the mace, symbol of the House of Commons power to make our laws. He did so knowingly, prepared to take his "lumps as they come" in order to make a point.




What was the point? "The Liberals passed an amendment to Martin's bill that simply said it would not be read again in the House. By collectively voting in favour of the amendment, under whip pressure, the government was technically not breaking Chretien's free-vote policy on the bills themselves."




Elected in 1993 Martin has witnessed debate being cut off seventy-five times by closure, Liberal members walking out of Committees on orders from above, private member's bills being eviscerated in Committees that had been supported by Liberal M.P.s in principle. This was his breaking point.




That Martin will get lumps is certain.




His point, that the Prime Minister's Office power had its supine supporters kill a fellow private members bill not by voting against its substance but that it not be read again may well pass unnoticed.
  If so a fine member will have forfeited his reputation for nothing.
  Joe Hueglin
  MP driven to break 600 years of tradition Keith Martin lifts mace to protest Liberals' 'clever' killing of his bill, Tom Barrett and Tim Naumetz Vancouver Sun, Friday, April 19, 2002