.- A federal politician left the ruling Liberal Party yesterday to sit as an Independent over issues concerning Canada’s same-sex marriage legislation.
Ontario member of Parliament Pat O'Brien announced his decision yesterday at a press conference, saying that he doesn't like how the Liberals are handling parliamentary committee hearings on the same-sex marriage legislation.
The 57-year-old, who has been very vocal about his opposition to same-sex marriage, had said he would consider leaving the party over the issue in April. But he said at the time the prime minister had convinced him to stay by giving him assurances that “meaningful and fair” hearings would be held on Bill C-38.
“That's not what's happening, in my judgment," the MP for London-Fanshawe said.
He complained that the hearings were given an unnecessary June 14 deadline and said he didn’t understand the rush the Liberals were putting on the bill. He said witnesses are only given 24 hours' notice to appear and they are often berated by hearings committee members.
O’Brien’s move is also significant because the Liberals are a minority government, with now only 133 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives have 98 seats, the Bloc Québécois 54, the NDP 19 and four independents.