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