O’Brien quits Grits

In a minority parliament such as this, the independents have all of the power. In a move likely seen as the Liberal attempt to fast-track bill C-38 through the Commons before the summer, Liberal MP Pat O’Brien quit his party today in opposition to their stance on the contentious legislation.

I’m interpreting this move as O’Brien’s wishful hope that his vote may contribute to the defeat of the Grits on a non-confidence motion before they pass 3rd reading of the bill.

From CTV news:

Ontario Liberal MP Pat O’Brien, who opposes his party’s position on same-sex marriage, has quit the Grits to sit as an Independent member of Parliament.

O’Brien has been out of step with his party on social issues and has been long opposed to the government’s efforts to pass Bill C-38 — the legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

He decided to stick with the Liberals in April after Prime Minister Paul Martin promised expanded debate of the marriage bill, including cross-Canada hearings.

UPDATE: O’Brien later said “My goal is to defeat Bill C-38. But I won’t rule out any democratic means to do that.” The chances of a summer election just went up.