Canadian lawmaker Pat Martin managed to shake the House of Commons with laughter and guffaws when he excused himself due to an incident involving his apparently unmanageable underwear.
Martin, who belongs to the official opposition New Democrats, scurried quickly out of the House while Parliament began voting one by one. According to Reuters, Pat Martin quickly returned, but it is typically the rule that one’s vote does not count when one is not there during voting.
In order to not have his vote thrown out, Martin of Winnipeg Centre, had to come up with a reasonable explanation for his abrupt absence and return. Some quick thinking automatically brought him to the thought of his unmentionables.
“I can blame it on a sale that was down at the Hudson’s Bay [store]. They had men’s underwear on for half price. I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time, Mr. Speaker.”
Several legislators could not help but to laugh at Pat’s underwear problem, and the laughter did not keep Martin from continuing his explanation in a somewhat serious tone.
“I apologize if it was necessary for me to leave my seat briefly, but I did not mean to forfeit my right to vote.”
This statement sent more into another round of laughter and even applause. According to NPR, several of Martin’s colleagues raised their water glasses in his direction.
The presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin, could not resist adding his own little joke in his response to Pat Martin when he replied, “How do I deal with that? I have no briefing on this type of motion.”
Pat Martin later admitted his response was not to be taken literally and was set off by another lawmaker.
“I believe that his point of order was tongue-in-cheek and it warranted a cheeky response,” Pat Martin said. He also wondered if “a lot of the grumpiness in the House of Commons might be traced to the fact that MPs are buying one size too small in their knickers.”
[Photo by The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick]