‘Loudmouth’ MP Martin promises civil speech
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/05/2011 (4329 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin hopes to turn over a new leaf in the next Parliament and lead a movement for improved respect between MPs.
Martin admits he is known as a “loudmouth,” but he said Tuesday he believes that gives calls by him to be more respectful of others more meaning.
“This is my new policy,” Martin said, holding up a handful of party-coloured buttons he had made reading “Opto Civitas.”
“I choose civility. That’s the new me.”
He had 300 buttons made up in all party colours — including a green one for Green party MP Elizabeth May — and plans to hand them out when the House resumes sitting next week.
Martin has a reputation for being outspoken and colourful, making him a favourite of the press corps but not always with party brass. His more colourful comments include a comparison of the governor of North Dakota to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il over the state’s insistence on running the Devils Lake outlet against Manitoba’s wishes.
He has referred to the producers of asbestos in Quebec as “corporate serial killers” and once threw a pencil across a committee room table in anger over a chair’s ruling.
Martin said the level of disrespect on Parliament Hill is out of control and has to be dialled back.
“People are going to be physically throwing punches next,” he said.
For insight, Martin sent to McGill University for the book Choosing Civility, The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct. The book includes basic reminders for respectful interactions, such as paying attention when another is speaking and thinking the best of people.
In the scrum where Martin pulled out the buttons, he threw a few punches at the Conservatives. He said he’d give a button to John Baird — one of the Conservatives’ loudest members — and then said the most bizarre thing about the cabinet shuffle was he’d never “heard the words stability and John Baird used in the same sentence before.”
He also lashed out at ousted Conservative cabinet minister Josée Verner, eligible for a $150,000 severance payment for losing her Quebec City seat, even though she was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“It’s a disgrace,” said Martin, using one of his favourite words. “Josée Verner owes us that money back.”
Martin acknowledged it will be difficult and said he doesn’t expect to be asked to show the ropes to many if any of the 68 NDP newcomers to the Hill.
“I’m probably the wrong guy to be mentoring young MPs,” he admitted. “It would probably be limiting to their careers to follow my footsteps.”