With a shout out to the Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber, whose blog brought to my attention to the fact a Manitoba MP has been outed as the reason a West Block committee room is often short of green tea bags.
Everyone knows Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin is a big mouth with a penchant for colourful sound bites. Whenever there is a big scandal – be it sponsorship, Karlheinz Schreiber and Brian Mulroney, Jaffer/Guergis whatever – you can almost bank on him being front and centre with over-the-top quips that get him attention, if not a lot of eye rolling, because they are usually outrageous and amusing at the same time.
Apparently, in an attempt to try and steep to Martin’s level, BC Conservative MP Richard Harris raised a point of order in the Natural Resources committee this morning to complain that Martin was stealing green tea from the committee room.
The room in West Block is right next to Martin’s office and he takes advantage of the complimentary green tea bags available, making the tasty beverage difficult for other green tea aficionados.
"He’s steeping his ass off," Harris complained to the committee chair. That of course is a reference to Martin’s comment from two weeks ago when he accused former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer of "lying his ass off" at another committee meeting.
Harris wants the committee clerk to serve Martin with notice to "buy his own bloody tea."
Martin fessed up immediately.
"Haven't paid for my own tea in ten years," he said when I asked him about the exchange. "Grazing committee rooms for complimentary beverages is a time-honoured tradition on Parliament Hill."
This isn’t likely going to go over all that well with cynical Canadians and I can already hear the screams of protest about politicians dining on the taxpayer’s dime.
Any bets on who will be the first to call for an end to complimentary beverages for MPs in committee rooms?