"He's apologized profusely and I think the House (of Commons) needs to move on and get on with the big issues affecting the country," said Martin, now executive director at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health in Washington, D.C.
UPDATE: Ruth Ellen Brosseau and the all-party committee looking at Trudeau's conduct agreed Tuesday to accept the prime minister's apology and move on. Trudeau won't face sanctions.Martin knows a thing or two about being punished for unparliamentary behaviour — a fate that could await Trudeau as MPs on the all-party Commons procedure and House affairs committee deal with the issue, possibly as early as Tuesday.
Martin was a Canadian Alliance MP in April 2002 when he became increasingly frustrated with the Liberal government of then-prime minister Jean Chretien over his private member's bill calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. After calling news conferences that went unattended and writing opinion pieces that went unpublished, Martin said he decided on a bolder move — grabbing the ceremonial mace, which is the symbol of order in the House of Commons and represents the authority of the Speaker. That is considered a major no-no, so the move resulted in a suspension that remained in effect until Martin apologized as he was called to the bar to be admonished by the Speaker. Martin said he does not regret his decision.
Former MP Keith Martin, shown here in the House in 2004, once grabbed the ceremonial mace in the Commons. (Photo: Tom Hanson/CP)"I apologized to my peers, but I didn't regret doing it," Martin said, adding that it led the government to back off — an even better outcome than the initial awareness he was trying to raise. That, he said, is the difference between his breach of privilege and the one facing Trudeau, who apologized for the incident three times in the House of Commons. The Conservatives and New Democrats, however, are seeing things differently ahead of this morning's committee meeting. Conservative House leader Andrew Scheer thinks touching another MP — as Trudeau did when he grabbed Tory whip Gord Brown to try and pull him through a gaggle of New Democrats, knocking into NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau — is at least as bad as touching the ceremonial mace. "It is a very serious breach to physically interact with another member like that," Scheer said Tuesday as he suggested the committee go as far as recommend to the House that Trudeau be called to the bar to apologize.
"He's apologized profusely and I think the House (of Commons) needs to move on and get on with the big issues affecting the country."
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