Party rules trump may trump conscience in the Canadian Parliament. While 24 Liberal MPs have voted against same-sex marriage, a cabinet minister just quit over it and an NDP member who bolted may be tossed from the caucus.
The minister for state for northern Ontario economic development called it quits before the historic afternoon vote. Joe Comuzzi is a long-term friend of Prime Minister Paul Martin. He said he was a Roman Catholic and felt he had to do this to vote against the bill C-38. He likely will be the only cabinet member to leave over the bil.
In parliamentary terms, this means he moves to his party's back bench, reserved for those considered not in line.
One NDP member, Bev Besjarlais, and five Bloc Québécois MPs have joined in the doomed Conservative effort to defeat the bill. Apparently they felt they could vote their conscience when it became clear the votes were there for the three-party bloc to
NDP leaders had threatened to expel MP Besjarlais if she did not vote the party position. Caucus executives will decide her fate today or soon.