Pat O'BRIEN

O'BRIEN, Pat, B.A. (Hons.), M.Ed.

Personal Data

Party
Independent
Constituency
London--Fanshawe (Ontario)
Birth Date
January 13, 1948
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_O'Brien_(Canadian_politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=04a32ebe-ec96-425c-b0c8-c7b2eb88fa45&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
athlete, coach, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  London--Middlesex (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  London--Fanshawe (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  London--Fanshawe (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade (September 1, 2000 - January 12, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  London--Fanshawe (Ontario)
June 6, 2005 - November 29, 2005
IND
  London--Fanshawe (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 122)


October 18, 2005

Mr. Pat O'Brien

Mr. Speaker, I vote no to the motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Elections Act
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June 27, 2005

Mr. Pat O'Brien

Yes, that is what really happened. I was there.

There was a teaming up of some Bloc and some Liberal MPs. To do what? To deny quorum so we could not even put a second motion to appeal that ruling.

From that day forward, I was much less proud to be a Liberal member of Parliament. I have to say that. It really was quite an incredible display of undemocratic arrogance that we saw.

Now we come to the latest legislative committee. Let us recall one thing. There was no need for this decision to be referred to a legislative committee. It could have been referred to the standing committee. It could have been referred to some other special committee. Why was it referred to a legislative committee? To try to narrow the debate as much as possible. That is what it was all about. And everybody around here who has been here for a while understands what the game was.

I was quite close some weeks ago to leaving the Liberal Party. I went to the right hon. Prime Minister and said, “Look, Prime Minister, I was through one farce of a process. I will not stand still for seeing this farcical process repeated again.” He gave me his personal assurance that there would be full and fair hearings by the legislative committee.

I want to correct the record because I have heard some members on this side today make one error that I want to correct, in fairness to the Prime Minister and myself. I did not seek a travel committee because I knew that the justice committee had travelled extensively and I knew that most committee hearings take place here in Ottawa. I understood that would be fine. And I have no problem with the number of witnesses they heard.

However, as many members on this side have correctly said, I have major problems with witnesses being given less than 24 hours' notice to appear; with them being berated and lectured to by members of both sides of the table, in some cases, when they did show up because they were not speaking to these narrow parameters; and with the imposition of a ridiculous deadline of June 14. I have major problems with those issues.

What happened with the second process where we were supposed to have public consultation? It was rendered a farce, perhaps a bigger farce than the first committee. I have major problems with the process that took place.

I was proud to support a man a few years ago to be leader of my party, the Liberal Party, the right hon. Prime Minister. He spoke about the democratic deficit. I am sorry to have to say it, but the reality is that since this government has come to office, the democratic deficit in this country has increased, it has not decreased, and that is simply not acceptable to me.

When I saw the second committee process being rendered a farce, I made a decision that I could no longer in good conscience remain a member of the Liberal Party and I took a decision to become an independent member of Parliament. That was not taken lightly or with any joy. I felt very badly that the party I had worked in and represented for a number of years was shifting way over to the left, becoming the NDP light.

When we see our friends over in the NDP, I have a word for them. It is the New Democratic Party. Is it not interesting that that is the only party that is not allowing a free vote in the House of Commons? Shame on the New Democratic Party for not allowing that.

I will finish this way. I will support the amendments to the bill. Why? Because I want to see the best possible bill if we are going to have it become law. I will support the amendments because they do improve things like religious freedom, tax status, and so on. But in the end, I will continue to oppose this legislation because it is wrong for Canada, it is immoral, it is illogical, it is unnecessary, and most Canadians reject it out of hand.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Civil Marriage Act
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June 27, 2005

Mr. Pat O'Brien

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the hon. member, the last comment is so silly that I will just let it go for another time.

I am really glad the member gave us all the repetition about the various judges but I would invite him to sharpen his listening skills. What I indicated was that the only court, to my knowledge, in the world that instantaneously ruled that we would have a redefinition of marriage was the Ontario Court of Appeal. It was none of the other courts that he enumerated. That was the atrocity, that was the arrogance and that is what the hon. member did not pay attention to in my comments.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Civil Marriage Act
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June 27, 2005

Mr. Pat O'Brien (London—Fanshawe, Ind.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on Bill C-38 for the third time now. Regrettably, the bill has continued to progress. Quite frankly, I believe the most democratic thing the government could do in this case would be to withdraw this legislation. It simply has no democratic mandate to proceed on this legislation.

In the last election, one year ago, we will all recall that the Supreme Court had not even rendered its judgment, had not even spoken to these very important questions. The government had no proposed legislation to lay before the electorate of Canada; therefore, the conclusion is obvious: it has no democratic mandate to proceed on this legislation. If the Prime Minister and the government had political courage and were prepared to do the democratic thing and the right thing, they would withdraw this legislation and they would put it before the people of Canada whenever next the government goes to the polls, and then Canadians could factor in this idea, this proposed redefinition of marriage, along with all the other public policy questions, and they could then render a judgment democratically. That is what ought to be done, but I do not expect that to be done.

I am opposed to Bill C-38 on two main points. First of all, I am opposed to the decision itself, and then I want to speak to and explain why I am opposed to the process.

On the decision itself, it simply boggles the mind why this government is charging ahead, determined to make a decision that flies in the face of common sense, that flies in the face of the clear majority opinion of most Canadians not to redefine marriage.

I was proud that on Monday past my wife Evelyn and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Civil Marriage Act
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June 27, 2005

Mr. Pat O'Brien

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his kind words about my work as the chair of SCONDVA. I can tell the House that the hon. member is the vice-chair and he, I and all the members of that committee had a very good professional and, I think, largely non-partisan working relationship. I regret the fact that in leaving the government party and becoming an independent, it was obvious they were not going to keep me on as chairman. That came as no shock to me. I do miss that work but I wish him and the rest of the committee well as they pursue important business for the Canadian Forces.

Last Thursday was an incredible experience. The first thing that struck me, and I am sorry because I have a couple of friends in that particular caucus, was the breathtaking hypocrisy of the New Democratic Party for one. We have a leader of the New Democratic Party up on his hind legs railing about the use of closure. I have heard member after member railing about the use of closure by the government or past governments. I heard the member for Sarnia--Lambton, the longest serving member of the NDP caucus, railing about the use of closure at the time of the free trade debate.

It saddened me to watch that particular party agreeing that closure was okay when it was on something the New Democratic Party wanted. I really was disappointed, surprised and shocked. Quite frankly, we saw the same thing from our friends in the Bloc Québécois.

To answer my colleague's question, I thought it was within the rules, technically, yes, but I thought it was a pretty dirty trick of bending the rules about as far as one could, and I was just shocked by the breathtaking arrogance of a couple of the parties in this House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Civil Marriage Act
Full View Permalink