PAT O’BRIEN, STATESMAN

Earlier this afternoon, a wonderful thing happened. The Liberal MP for London-Fanshawe did what no other Liberal politician has had the integrity and fortitude to do, he stood up for what is right. Mr. O’Brien has cut off his political lifeline in an attempt to salvage his self-worth and conscience. It is so pleasing to see a politician with some backbone, some character. Mr. O’Brien is what this country is so desperately in need of; he is a statesman.

For those of you in college, a statesman is someone who gives of themselves for their country and their fellow countrymen. As we discussed last month, a politician is someone who takes from their country and fellow countrymen to serve themselves.

Some will criticize my stance on this issue as hypocritical, as I was against the Conservative MP who defected for their conscience last month. I am not being hypocritical, as I see absolutely no parallel to the two events.

In my opinion, Mr. O’Brien has just sacrificed much to give to his constituents the thing that they deserve, democracy and freedom. He has done what he has done at a personal cost, and a political cost. Mr. O’Brien was not promoted, he did not receive any political favor, he did not do this to further his career, and he did not do it for ambition’s sake. He did it because he has a clear focus on right and wrong. He has convictions and will not betray them. nor will he silence his conscience. In fact, it is he who has been betrayed by the leader of his former party. He was used for a vote, and was told what he wanted to hear to keep him from being a problem. The same cannot be said for the aforementioned conservative MP.

As well, Mr. O’Brien has not done a 180 on his beliefs and convictions by switching parties, but is merely leaving one that he feels does not represent his moral beliefs or those of the majority of Canadians.

Enough said on that issue. I hereby salute Mr. O’Brien, and pray that he will be able to weather the political and social storm that is no doubt headed his way. If we had more MP’s like him, regardless of political affiliation, this country would be able to rise from the political and social mess that it is in.

And for the record, Mr. O’Brien is exactly right. In fact, the federal government considers the gay marriage debate over and done with. Want the proof? Come back tomorrow, my column will have the details.