Canada isn’t just the land of hockey and bad-tasting beer. It’s also the home of the latest and greatest political joke, thanks to Member of Parliament Pat Martin, who on Feb. 19 offered a sly excuse for breaking an established rule.
And he offered that excuse to all of parliament – even in front of camera-bearing media, too. You see, Martin had to exit his seat before a floor vote was completed because … his undies were too tight, he said.
I can blame it on a sale that was down at the Hudson’s Bay. They had men’s underwear on for half price. I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time, Mr. Speaker. I apologize if it was necessary for me to leave my seat briefly, but I did not mean to forfeit my right to vote.
Of course, Ottawa’s representative with the New Democratic Party was offering those lines as a sarcastic retort. Moments before, Parliament had majority-vote to table debate on C-51, a bill regarding anti-terrorism policies. MP Royal Galipeau of the opposing Conservative Party, who apparently wanted the debate to continue, questioned the validity of the tabling. Because Martin was not present throughout the complete voting procedure, Galipeau insinuated, the entire vote should be voided and the debate should continue.
After the laughter died down following the sarcastic explanation, Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin eventually sided with Martin. The vote stood.
Martin had only briefly left his seat to talk to the Speaker, he later said, telling CBC that Galipeau’s overreaction warranted such a sarcastic reply.
It was a cheeky answer to what I thought was a cheeky question. But it begs the question, I mean, a lot of the grumpiness in the House of Commons might be traced to the fact that MPs are buying one size too small in their knickers.
Here’s video of the incident: