August 28, 2002
MPs' loyalty; Signing an oath to the PM
A few days prior to Jean Chretien's decision to step down in 18 months, some of his supporters released a list of MPs who had made a pledge of loyalty, or an oath to the prime minister.
But the bigger issue than the overall number of Liberal signatures on the oath was the actual oath itself. This undemocratic document threatens to limit the freedom of choice a Member of Parliament has in supporting or not supporting a party leader.
Thankfully, not all Liberal MPs kowtowed to the request to sign the questionable pledge.
Liberal Senator Anne Cools angrily denounced the oath as "un-prime ministerial and un-senatorial.
"Not only did I refuse to sign it," Cools told reporters, "but I will go a little bit farther and say I not only disagree with it, but I condemn it."
Senator Cools went on to call the letter "an objectionable solicitation by the government of Canada."
The senator deserves credit for opposing the loyalty oath. It's a shame that so few of her fellow Liberal senators understood the damage they were potentially causing to Canadian democracy by signing their controversial oath.