Pat Martin was a controversial figure in Canadian politics. After serving in the House of Commons for 18 years, he lost his bid for reelection in 2015. A bid that wasn’t helped by a series of ill-advised public comments. Comments about his underwear and Twitter insults, to be exact. Let’s take a look at this politician’s rise and fall.
Biography and career
Born in Winnipeg in 1955, Martin represented the city for his entire political career. He worked for the Manitoba carpenter’s union from 1989 until 1997, when he went into politics. He joined the left-wing New Democratic Party due to his pro-union feelings.
During his career, Pat Martin held his seat through five elections. Over the years, he increased his base of support, taking him from 40% of the votes in his first 1997 election to 53.6% in 2011.
But the 2015 election saw him lose his seat to Robert-Falcon Ouellette. The rival candidate picked up nearly twice the votes that Martin did.
As a result, Winnipeg Center turned liberal for the first time in its history. The NDP won the riding back in 2019, so it’s hard to see the vote as anything other than a protest against Martin himself.
Pat Martin was an outspoken critic of the monarchy. When Prince Charles married Camilla, Martin suggested Canada break with the royal family. He also argued NDP member Svend Robinson should lose his job for visiting Palestine.
Martin is a self-described socialist. He was accused of accepting money from several prominent trade unions in 2011. Martin replied:
“If anybody thinks I could become more friendly to trade unions, then they don’t know me very well.”
The MP was especially concerned with the representation of Canada’s First Nations population. Martin introduced a private members bill in 2011 suggesting Parliament pardon Louis Riel. The Métis leader-led two rebellions against Canada before his execution in 1885.
Martin also called for Canada’s coat of arms to be more inclusive of aboriginal people. Maclean’s magazine recognized him as one of the best orators in the Canadian Parliament.
Contradictory Personality: Pat’s Scandalous Stories
Pat Martin’s Biggest Controversies
- Calling Don Greenwood a “son of a Bitch.”
- Blaming his underwear for standing in parliament.
- Insulting Robert-Falcon Ouellette.
- Attacking the Conservative party on Twitter.
Despite his public speaking gifts, Martin’s career as an MP ended over some comments he made.
In 2010, Martin accused Youth For Christ Of “preying on vulnerable kids”.
He clashed with the organization when they tried to build a youth center in Winnipeg.
But it was on Twitter that Pat Martin made some of his most controversial statements. In 2011, the Conservative government closed Parliament to avoid a debate. Martin took to the platform to call the action a “fucking disgrace.”
In 2012, Martin didn’t receive an invitation to an event in his riding from the Conservative party. In response, Martin tweeted that they were “rat-faced whores.” After apologizing for his use of language, Martin shut down his Twitter account.
Although his account was shut down, that didn’t keep Martin from making waves on Twitter in 2015. He broke protocol by standing during a procedural vote in the Commons. Pat Martin’s underwear got the blame, with the MP claiming it was too tight to allow him to sit comfortably. He later admitted the explanation was untrue.
But it was in the 2015 election that Pat Martin’s mouth finally got the better of him. He called the Green party candidate a “son of a bitch,” and was also heard referring to him as a “fucking prick.” He also called Liberal Robert-Falcon Ouellette a “political slut” for considering switching parties.
Although Martin later apologized for his comments, the damage seemed irreparable. Once considered a safe NDP seat, Winnipeg Center turned Liberal for the first time in its history. Defiant to the end, Martin raised a glass of beer on the night he lost his riding. He was celebrating Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s resignation.
After losing his riding, Pat Martin settled into private life. Still a Winnipeg resident, Martin, and his wife spend a lot of time on salt Spring Island in BC. The couple on a hobby farm there.
But it seems the politics is in his blood. Pat’s son Liam Martin has served as the Chief of Staff for the premier of Manitoba.