Pubdate: Thu, 25 Apr 2002
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2002, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


OTTAWA -- One day after he was suspended from the House of Commons, 
Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin formally apologized for grabbing 
the ceremonial mace last week.

In a statement to Speaker Peter Milliken and his fellow MPs at the 
bar of the Commons yesterday, Dr. Martin said he hoisted the symbol 
of parliamentary authority in a "gesture of protest."

"It is with regret that I find myself standing here before this House 
at the bar, but it is understandable that I find myself here," he 
said. "It was wrong for me to take the mace, the symbol of the 
dignity and authority of the House, into my hands as a gesture of 
protest. . . . I ask that you accept this apology in the spirit in 
which it is afforded."

Mr. Milliken immediately asked the Vancouver Island MP to resume his seat.

On Tuesday, the House voted 173-49 to suspend Dr. Martin until he 
apologized for what he admitted was a premeditated act of civil 

Dr. Martin grabbed the large gilded club last week after his private 
member's bill to decriminalize marijuana was quashed by the Liberals 
in what he called a "poison pill" amendment. The MP for 
Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca apologized informally to the House shortly 
after the incident. But during a two-hour debate on the matter on 
Monday, he said his action was deliberate and he had no regrets.

Yesterday, Dr. Martin said it was wrong for him to have done so. "I 
have reflected on my actions and had the benefit of hearing my 
colleagues speak eloquently about this place and about the respect 
that must be accorded to it."
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