MP Dr. Keith Martin


Face the Mace:
An ode to a stick

Edmonton - Monday, April 22, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton


The Liberals want Canadian Alliance MP Dr. Keith Martin sanctioned, if not tossed from Parliament for some punitive measure of time, because he picked up a stick. Not just any stick, of course, but that symbol of democracy, the House of Commons mace.




To be sure, symbols are important as they can represent what is best, and sometimes worst, about a society. While a portrait of the Queen is just paint on canvas and our flag is just coloured cloth, it is what they represent that gives them real value.




Frustrated that the government killed any hope of his private member's bill from being freely voted on in Parliament, Martin committed his sin. Then again, for all the gnashing of teeth, all he did was pick up a stick. It wasn't as if Dr. Martin was involved in any kind of political or ethical scandal, or neglected our armed forces. His actions had nothing to do with any kind of billion dollar boondoggle nor the stashing away of billions in foundation accounts to avoid being held accountable to Parliament.



all defeated

No one is saying that Keith Martin can be blamed for ensuring that private member bills, all 239 going down to defeat since the last election, and the private members that sponsor them have become as meaningless as the term "ethics commissioner."




Apparently one has to be in government to earn credit for such things. Unfortunately, Dr. Martin isn't alone in his frustration as Canadians continue to see their Parliament, that former bastion of democracy, become as inconsequential as the stick the good doctor hoisted into the air and the principles it once symbolized.


Ron Thornton

  The Australian parliament has an excellent explanation of the history of the Mace and what it symbolises.
  April 19, 2002 Bar Alliance MP from House for 'long time': Boudria, Andrew McIntosh
National Post
  April 19, 2002 What are they doing in there? Andrew Coyne National Post
  April 19, 2002 Undemocratic Keith Martin Ottawa Citizen
  April 19, 2002 High dudgeon Ralph Goodale National Post
  April 18, 2002 He dared expose our sham Commons MP violates taboo and grabs Mace after Liberal 'poison pill' kills 4 years of work Andrew Coyne National Post