Deputy speaker quits in protest

He accused the government of ignoring the province's poor and of using its majority to push through legislation that is advantageous to the rich.

The Toronto Star
December 20, 2000

Deputy speaker quits in protest
NDP Tony Martin accuses Tories of ignoring the poor
Caroline Mallan

The deputy speaker of the Ontario Legislature dramatically took off his robes and quit his post yesterday in protest over the plight of the province's poor.

Tony Martin, the NDP MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, who often oversees evening sittings in the chamber, took over the non-partisan Speaker's chair from Speaker Gary Carr after the daily Question Period and stood and told the Legislature that he could not continue.

"I find it in my own personal conscience that I can no longer serve as the deputy speaker in this place and so I will be laying my robe on the chair," said the soft-spoken Martin, who has had the job since 1999 and who contemplated the priesthood before devoting much of his working life to helping the poor.

For his extra duties, Martin was paid $11,545 on top of his MPP's salary. All three parties choose a member to back up Carr and spread the Speaker's workload around.

He accused the government of ignoring the province's poor and of using its majority to push through legislation that is advantageous to the rich.

"We cannot seem to get that issue on to the table in this place so that we can have a real debate about that reality that affects so many of our neighbours, our family members, our brothers and sisters," he said.

Martin's move drew immediate scorn from a furious Labour Minister Chris Stockwell, who served as Speaker for three years in the last parliament.

"What a joke, that's real honourable," Stockwell yelled before storming out of the Legislature while opposition Liberals and New Democrats applauded Martin as he walked out.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Stockwell accused Martin of pulling a "stunt" and said the Speaker's chair is off-limits for partisan commentary.

Stockwell said he often disagreed with the government while in opposition, but would never condone Martin's move.

"If we had been reduced to Speakers performing cheap theatrical stunts for the media in a Legislative Assembly, dedicated to democracy, then this is a sad, sad day and I am very disturbed about this."

Martin defended his move to reporters, saying that while he was very nervous, he had contemplated it long and hard and does not believe that poverty is a partisan issue.


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Poverty, Tony Martin, Law grinds the poor, and rich men rule the law, Franchise laws protect franchisors, not franchisees, Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000, Canada, Canada, 20001220 Deputy speaker

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License