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O'Brien Quits Liberals Over SSM

Pat O'Brien has quit the Liberal caucus and will sit as an independent.

A couple months ago he talked about leaving the Liberals over the same-sex marriage issue, but was convinced to hang on. Now that the Liberals are moving quickly to get SSM passed through Parliament, he's frustrated and has quit, saying "I've taken the only course of action I can take and still feel good about myself."

He claims that the hearings into same-sex marriage are being unnecessarily rushed, and aren't living up to the commitments that Paul Martin made.

In some ways, I have to question the importance of these hearings. Is anyone expressing opinions or concerns that haven't already been aired and factored in? This isn't a new debate anymore, nor is it highly detail-oriented. Is there a single MP that hasn't already made up his or her mind on how they will vote? Perhaps someone can fill me in, but in this case it seems that the hearings were more of a formality and/or a delaying tactic.

The CBC reports: "O'Brien said he could not accept the rush by the Liberal government to redefine marriage." O'Brien is entitled to his opinion, and I respect that, but is his concern really the so-called rush, or the legislation itself? Is there an amount of talking and debating after which O'Brien would have been satisfied to sit in a government that passed SSM legislation on a close vote? Or was his time with the Liberals doomed?

In any case, it sounds like O'Brien will continue to vote with the government on other issues, and isn't eager to bring it down... although the only chance to stop SSM is a Conservative majority.

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