National Post

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March 30, 2001

Tradition

John Johnson
Letter to the Editor of the National Post

In defending Hedy Fry against demands from the Opposition that she should be fired, Jean Chrétien claimed that there is an old tradition in our House of Commons, following the custom at Westminster, amongst other places, that when a member apologizes for a mistake, all is promptly forgiven. As he gave no examples, we cannot judge their relevance but the Prime Minister needs to be reminded most forcefully that in London there is a much more important tradition, namely that when a minister lies to the House he or she must resign.

If the honourable Member for Vancouver-Centre lied -- as the Mayor of Prince George said she did -- and if she has a shred of honour left, she has to go. Although the practice has been long forgotten, ministers have to be held accountable for their words and actions. Insipid expressions of regret are not good enough. It is no wonder question period has lost all sense of manners and decorum.

John Johnson, Westmount, Que.

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