Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Sore Loser Threatens Democracy


Well, now that this is over with, lets move on to passing some other legislation and generally doing our job on the hill, shall we?


So, on a historic day when the Canadian Armed Forces have their first gay marriage, London-Fanshawe MP Pat O'Brien decides that he knows better than the majority of parliamentarians and the (slim) majority of Canadians. He plans on voting against the budget with an un-named Liberal co-conspirator, in order to bring down the government, so he can stop the Same Sex Marriage vote on Thursday.

Even the Conservatives don't want that right now.

But Mr. O'Brien figures he knows better than the 75-80% of Canadians that don't want an election right now. Even though he got his extra 22 witnesses before the committee (almost all of whom were against SSM). Even though he's getting amendments to ensure his worries about SSM and religious freedoms are dealt with. Even though the budget itself is popular with most Canadians and the mayors of almost every city in Canada.

No. Its more important to deny Canadians their rights. Or actually just cause a big hassle and re-elect another Liberal minority, since even if its defeated, SSM will be the law in 7 provinces and 1 territory.

Sore Loser.

Please send Mr. O'Brien and e-mail telling him what you think of his shenanigans:


Better yet, give his office a call: (613) 995-2901

Now, don't SPAM him. Don't hassle him with war dialers. Just send a personal e-mail expressing your disappointment and call and leave a message on his answering machine as I did - polite, personal but firm.

Let him know he can't get away with hijacking Parliament.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Pat O'Brien has clearly decided to fall on his sword over this issue, and much as I'd like to think that emailing him would change his mind, I have my doubts.

Now, emailing Loyola Hearn to suggest that he abstain in the interest of the Atlantic Accord, or any number of Conservative MPs from Ontario who are likely to get trounced out of Parliament if an election is called - that might get some results.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I suspect a) the Liberals won't mind if they lose and b)the Conservatives will suddenly have some trouble getting to the vote.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Oh, I didn't say it would help. But a friendly reminder to him and those who may think like him that people don't think he's being particulary principled.

And yeah, Greg, the thought has cross my mind that this whole "sit as an Independant, bring down the government " may have been engineered from the get go by PM the PM.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger ALW said...

Er, not that I care for Pat O'Brien, but was Belinda Stronach "hijacking democracy" when she crossed the floor? Or Chuck Cadman, or David Kilgour?

It can't be "hijacking democracy" when you don't like the particular policy consequences, but a-ok democracy when you do.

Oh, and I think you're naive if you think an election campaign in the summer would have voting results resembling polls that came out this week. And I'm still for an election - good polls or bad.

I support SSM but I don't support propping up criminals just to get it - or any particular policy that I happen to support - passed.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Belinda Stronach, Chuck Cadman and David Kilgour were doing what they were doing based on feedback from their constituents, or their own conscience based on the issue at hand.
They listened to what the majority of Canadians were saying and acted accordingly. Pat O'Brien is using a "by any means nescesary" approach to enforce his narrow view on Parliament. Chuck Cadman listened to the majority of Canadians and his constituents. O'Brien is ignoring them. Chuck Cadman was voting his conscence for what was at hand. O'Brien actually likes the budget but is voting against it (or threatening to do so, thus trying to extort parliament) for a completely unrelated reason. He could vote against the SSM act, follow his conscience and still look good to his constituents. But he is so adamant about it, he is willing to ignore the majority of Canadians and the majority of the house on a completely unrelated matter.

If he fails tonight, what's next - burning down the Parliament buildings? Holding hostages? Killing members of parliament to prevent them voting for the SSM bill? Where will he stop to enforce his narrow religious view on Canadians?

Every member of parliament has had a chance to debate SSM, but that is not enough. SSM has been in the new and in public debate, and parliamentary debate since the law was first struck down 2 years ago. What is it going to accomplish? An unwanted election (save you of course, you're in the 12% that want one) that will result in the same parliamentary situation now (although it is possible that the Libs will have MORE seats) and SSM will STILL be the law in 7 provinces and 1 territory.

Sorry but to me that spells the hijacking of democracy. The only saving grace is that if Stephen Harper is smart, a few more Cons will be sick or get called away at the last minute or have a flat on the way to the vote...

Sorry ALW for venting on you like this, but enough games. We'll ge a chance to kick out the "criminals" when Gomery reports and tells us who they are(I'm old fashioned - I believe in innocent until proven guilty). In the mean time, stop screwing around and get something done up there. You know, govern the counrty?

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I agree with ALW assessment (except making a comparison to Cadman, he gets to vote however he wants no questions asked), O'Brien isn't "highjacking" parliament. Not anymore than any other turncoat.

The irony in this whole issue is that OBrien got elected on a platform that in generalities favoured this issue.

"democracy" has many forms and many interpretations....and through our current legal construction of "democracy" taking these actions is his right...even if I beleive him to be a fool...that's the beauty of democracy though ain't it?

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh forgot to add...

as far as "criminal" allegations against the Liberals (and the NDP by improving the budget) - go, we can't forget DUE PROCESS...and as angry as anyone is...that hasn't been completed yet...

At 7:46 AM, Blogger ALW said...

Two things,

Mike, generally I find your insights pretty intelligent but you're just being a blind partisan if you really think Cadman, Kilgour, and especially Stronach have halos over their heads and were acting in in some altruistic manner. The fact of the matter is Pat O'Brien has just as much of a right to go renegade as any MP, on any issue, for any reason. Say he's a nutcase, say he's putting one issue on a pedestal, say you disagree with him vehemently, but he is in no way "hijacking democracy". If the tables were turned, and a bill were being on the block to be passed to outlaw SSM, and some pro-SSM MP went renegade all of a sudden, I guarantee you'd be signing a different tune. So don't pretend it's about democracy. It's purely about what YOU would like to see happen - hence the Jack Layton about "let's just govern the country". Oh how awfully convenient. Where was this noble sentiment before it was the NDP who got to rewrite the budget? That's what makes me sick about Jack Layton being unable to suppress his grin. As far as I'm concerned, he's as bad as Belinda Stronach. To explicitly hammer the government constantly and suddenly be converted because you get what you want is opportunism, pure and simple. "We'll get our chance to boot them out" - ha! I wasn't aware it was a leisurely issue...

Secondly, Stephen, the Gomery Inquiry isn't about proving criminal allegations. He isn't allowed to draw such conclusions in his report. So just exactly what are we waiting for? A police investigation?
Absolutely. And do you think the Liberals will call it to investigate themselves? And if not them, who? Another party? But why kick them out if they're not criminals, which we can't prove without an investigation...

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Point's taken ALW.

I get very frustrated sometimes with all the silliness that's going on up there.

And for the record, if Stephen Harper had not decided to ignore Canadians and press for an election, if he had waited for more information and acted like a calm rational leader, and maintained his support for the budget, Jack would not be smiling. He's got noone to blame but himself. And if you care to look it up in hansard, you'll see that the NDP has tried to get on with the business of governing even before the budget deal. See what Ed Broadbent has been doing in his committees.

And the due process I think Stephen was talking about was the RCMP investigation, rather than Gomery. It isn't yet complete. Also there are two trials set for October still to be conducted. And no-one has gone through Gagliano's boxes yet.

Anyway, I will try to be less partisan in my comments. Be patient. The Mounties are looking into it. We'll get our chance soon enough.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger ALW said...


Appreciated. I understand partisan frenzy, so I can't say I blame you, but I won't deny it when it happens :)

As for the budget stuff - yes the Tories threat to bring down the government forced Martin to go to Layton, but I don't buy the "ignore Canadians" business about an election. One day it was 12%. Then it was 30%. When asked if they "wanted" an election it was 10%. But then if they would "support" one if called it was 50%. The bottom line is, nothing is more useless a phrase in political discourse than saying "what Canadians want". There's no homogenous view, and reading volatile public opinion polls doesn't assist us either.

Politicians should act on conviction - and the NDP always did, until this budget sham.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger v said...

It's sad to see a guy who can give such an insightful analysis of the SCOC decision write this kind of post. I'll bet if you were a ship worker in Gdansk you would've been against Solidarity too because the Communists had a better gay rights policy than those horribly Catholic revolutionary fellows. Shame on you Mike.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Mike said...


Sorry disappoint you, but I stand by my assertion that this is undemocratic.

Now, I'm not sure what your getting at comparing me to Communists, but hey, I'm in the NDP, so I'm kind of used to it. If your comparing the Liberals to the Communists, well I think you need to look again. And the only Catholic revolutionaries I respect are those from Centrl America that follow the heritical "Liberation Theology" that is banned by the official church, because they have the gall to want to help the poor and end repression.

Chalk it up to frustration. After to silliness of this spring, I was hoping that finally something would get done. But no, someone who so vehemently opposes SSM and gay rights in general, will do something like this, against the majority of the people of Canada and the majority of parliament is sad and opportunistic.

Get the budget and the SSM passed, so we can move on to have decent debate on healthcare in this country.


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