It's funny, but he didn't think all of his MPs were entitled to their own 'vision' when he imposed his vision on Cabinet Ministers and made them vote with him on same-sex marriage under threat of expulsion.
That the same-sex marriage issue has exposed the 'bigoted', 'ignorant', 'regressive' opinions of individual MPs who represent the Liberal Party, doesn't phase Mr. Martin. Their rejection of the 'Charter' is not a worry to him because only HE is obligated to uphold the Charter -- but then, if Mr. Martin accepts candidates who believe that certain Canadians are not entitled to Charter protection -- is he really defending the Charter? It would appear that in his rush to vilify Mr. Harper, Mr. Martin has illuminated the dark secret of the Liberal Party -- some Canadians who are represented by Liberals, are represented by people who would not stand up for their 'Charter rights.'
From the Toronto Star:
The inconsistency of his position seems to be lost on Martin. Apparently, he doesn't understand that in this twisted view of the world, he would actually be 'defending the Charter' from his own MPs. And if these men and women are against fundamental Charter rights for a segment of the population -- then how does he justify allowing them to serve under his party's banner?
Last spring, 34 Liberal MPs voted for a Conservative motion that would have halted Liberal legislation to extend marriage rights to gays and lesbians. Martin brushed aside the apparent contradiction, saying, "The issue is not what does an individual MP say — an individual MP is entitled to his or her vision. "The issue is what is the role and responsibility of the prime minister of the country. And the role of the prime minister of the country is to support the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it is not in any way, shape or form to call the Charter into doubt, that's the fundamental difference."
Could it be that Martin knows in his heart that the issue of same-sex marriage -- far from being a Charter issue -- is actually a legislative issue. His assertion that same-sex marriage is a Charter right goes out the window with his acceptance of any members of his caucus voting against it. A right is a right, and if Martin truly believed that gay marriage was a 'right' he couldn't allow dissent on the issue.
Martin has proved this weekend that he doesn't even believe what he says on the same-sex issue, but it provides him with the ammunition to call Stephen Harper all sorts of names: 'unfit' 'regressive' and to spout off about 'rights' as though if it weren't for Liberals, Canadians would have none at all.
Charter rights, are 'human rights' and cannot be a matter of opinion. They can't by opted out of by churches on the basis of religious freedom, they can't be opted out of by MPs on the basis of freedom of conscience. Charter rights are rights about which there can be no choice. The either exist or they don't -- an individual's 'vision' doesn't come into it.
Mr. Martin has proved he knows this -- and yet he still wields his sword of disingenuous piety. Martin is a man without principles. His stand on this issue stretches credulity -- and yet he had the effrontery to suggest Stephen Harper was unfit for the PMO.
Martin's views are offensive to those on both sides of the issue and his lack of a core belief system is scary when put in conjunction with the enormous amount of power concentrated in the Prime Minister's Office.