Author Topic: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.  (Read 2260 times)

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Offline SHELLDRAKE!!

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OTTAWA (CP) - Paul Martin lost a cabinet minister over the controversial same-sex marriage issue Tuesday just hours before a landmark vote.

Joe Comuzzi visited the prime minister's Parliament Hill office to say he wanted to give up his cabinet job and move to the Liberal backbench. Cabinet ministers are required to support the government legislation, and face expulsion from the ministry for breaking ranks.

Comuzzi, 72, said he would vote against the controversial Bill C-38 because of a promise to his Thunder Bay, Ont., constituents.

"I'm just concerned about the commitment I made," said Comuzzi, who was minister for northern Ontario economic development.

"I intend to fulfil that obligation to the people that elected me."

Martin said he regretted the decision and had kind words for Comuzzi.

"He and I have been old friends for well onto 20 years now," Martin said outside the Commons.  
 

"I feel very badly but I do understand why he has taken this decision. I must say I'm delighted that he will be running again in the next election."

Comuzzi abstained during a preliminary vote on same-sex marriage late Monday. He can fully oppose it now that he's a regular backbench MP.

He will likely be the only cabinet casualty in the controversial debate.

All other ministers are expected to toe the government line and the bill appears poised to easily pass its final hurdle in the Commons.

Told about Comuzzi's resignation, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said:

"He's one of my closest friends in and outside of cabinet. I've always respected his commitments . . . and whatever he decides to do, we will continue to share the great friendship that we've had."

Immigration Minister Joe Volpe said, "he's a good friend, a very good parliamentarian, and he was a very strong minister."

"Of course," he said, when asked if he was sorry to lose Comuzzi from cabinet.

The cabinet post will be taken on by Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell.

About one-fifth of the current cabinet opposed same-sex marriage or abstained from a symbolic 2003 vote in the House of Commons.

Comuzzi and six other colleagues were backbenchers when they voted for a Canadian Alliance motion favouring the traditional definition of marriage.

All the others have apparently decided to support the controversial Bill C-38 instead of giving up their cabinet seats.

Most Liberals have at some point opposed same-sex marriage in a series of Commons votes since 1999, when the government was still fighting same-sex marriage in court.

In 2003 current ministers Joe Fontana, John Efford, Albina Guarnieri, Joe McGuire and Joe Volpe voted with Comuzzi against same-sex marriage.

The current justice minister responsible for the legislation - Cotler - was absent for the vote, as was International Co-operation Minister Aileen Carroll.

Judy Sgro, who also opposed same-sex marriage, later joined cabinet but has since resigned over another issue.


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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2005, 20:42:41 »
Holy crap, a Lib with a conscience?! All things are now possible.  I breathlessly await the arrival of the '96 Lincoln Landspeeder....

Kat
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

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Offline SHELLDRAKE!!

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2005, 20:50:57 »
Most Liberals have at some point opposed same-sex marriage in a series of Commons votes since 1999, when the government was still fighting same-sex marriage in court.




 Its a damn good thing that Canadians couldn't vote on this, but I suppose Mr Martin has his finger on the pulse of what Canadians want anyway.
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2005, 21:00:58 »
Holy crap, a Lib with a conscience?! All things are now possible.   I breathlessly await the arrival of the '96 Lincoln Landspeeder....

Kat

Yup, came as a real shock. I wonder if Mr Dithers will understand the reasoning and show true leadership balls and restore him to his portfolio after the vote.
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Offline Danjanou

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2005, 21:31:27 »
Yup, came as a real shock. I wonder if Mr Dithers will understand the reasoning and show true leadership balls and restore him to his portfolio after the vote.

Yeah that's gonna happen. I'd say right about when Kat gets his spiffy new '96 Lincoln ::)
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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2005, 14:01:29 »
 
Mon, July 4, 2005

Shameful way to operate in a 'free country'

By LYDIA LOVRIC -- Winnipeg Sun

Even proponents of same-sex marriage should be appalled by the way Bill C-38 was pushed through Parliament last week. Rather than allowing proper debate on the matter, the Liberal government imposed a time limit on the discussion -- a slap in the face to democracy.
Forgive my naivete, but don't we pay our politicians to debate important issues? It is an affront to the entire parliamentary process to bar MPs from speaking on behalf of their constituents.

I may support same-sex marriage, but I'm certainly not so self-important as to suggest that debating the issue is without merit.   

Canadians deserve to be heard. Paul Martin effectively silenced the many Canadians who oppose same-sex marriage. The subsequent "victory" will always be marked with an asterisk.
The prime minister even went so far as to bully his own cabinet ministers so they would toe the party line. Rather than face a demotion, these cabinet ministers (several of whom had been against same-sex marriage) quickly had a change of heart and voted in favour of the legislation.

Only one had the courage to stand by his convictions. Joe Comuzzi didn't care about losing his portfolio or the extra cash that goes along with it. The Thunder Bay MP decided to keep the promise he made to his constituents during the last election and resigned from cabinet before voting against Bill C-38.
"I'm just concerned about the commitment I made," explained Comuzzi following his resignation. "I intend to fulfill that obligation to the people who elected me."
One might argue that since Comuzzi kept his word, he had no choice but to remove himself from the Liberal cabinet. Whether you agree with his stance or not, the man has integrity.

After all the tomfoolery that's been going on in Ottawa, I have to ask myself if I still live in Canada. The guerrilla tactics used by Martin do little to advance democracy and the hijinks we've seen in the House of Commons reminds me of a group of feral five-year-olds.
Wait. I take that back. Most five-year-olds I know are far more mature than the average member of Parliament.

Martin wasn't the only leader to try to strong-arm his colleagues. NDP leader Jack Layton banished Bev Desjarlais to a back-row seat after the Manitoba MP voted against the bill.
"I agree with probably 99.9% of the policies in the New Democratic Party," insisted Desjarlais. "I don't agree with this one and hopefully that can be accepted."
Apparently, it can't.

Obviously, if a party member consistently votes against party lines, then the leader has every right to ask the wayward MP if perhaps he or she should consider joining a different party or sitting as an independent.
But having the occasional difference of opinion should not only be tolerated, but encouraged. Members should feel free to vote their conscience and should never be coerced into breaking a promise made to their constituents.
Kudos to Comuzzi and Desjarlais for putting principle ahead of self-preservation -- even though I disagree with their position. And Conservative Leader Stephen Harper should also be applauded for allowing a free vote.

Sadly, freedom of speech and freedom of thought seem to be in short supply in Ottawa. Too bad the same can't be said of stupidity.
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Offline Sigs Guy

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2005, 14:25:42 »
Isn't it unfortunate that in order to forward equality rights now, freedom's taken the backseat.
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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2005, 22:47:29 »
It is rather unfortunate that a country that was founded on majority rule, has swung to minority rule.

I would imagine, that the minorities have some how found the magic elixer & are enjoying their surge of power.

Cheers

Offline Infanteer

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Re: A politician who listens to the constituents???? About time.
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2005, 00:57:31 »
I think the article Bruce posted falls short of understanding our Westminster system.  The principle of Responsible Government means that the problem isn't Martin or Minority Government, it's systemic.  Debate on the floor of Commons isn't supposed to be debate on specific points of the bill or rationalizing or debating the merit/weaknesses of a piece of legislation, it is for The Opposition to do their job as Opposition and basically rattle, crash, and boom with little or no real affect.

Like it or not, this is how our system works - the real debates are made in Cabinet and within Committees.

If we want to strengthen democracy, we must work on these conventions that setup the framework of the day-to-day affairs of Parliament.
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