Mr. Speaker, it was amazing. I have never seen anything like it and I have been in this House going on seven years. I have never seen the government stand in this House and say that a vote would not be a confidence vote and then, after the vote has been held, declare it a confidence vote.
A senior minister of government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs no less, the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the same guy who said he would not unite the Progressive Conservatives with the Alliance but did, the guy who said he did not make disparaging remarks about one female MP of the Liberal caucus, but all witnesses say he did, that same guy stands in this House and says that it is a free vote and that members of Parliament from Atlantic Canada or anywhere else will have the freedom to vote their conscience.
However, when one of them has the courage to do that, he cuts the legs out from under him and kicks him out of his caucus. The member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley did not have time, according to what I read in the papers, to make it to the curtains. He was kicked out and expelled from that caucus on the spot.
It is not unusual for members to have whipped votes on the budget and the Speech from the Throne. What is unusual and amazing is that the government would make an announcement that a vote is not a confidence vote, that members have the right to vote how they feel, and then, when one member votes his conscience, he is immediately expelled from that caucus in a very hypocritical fashion. It is either a misleading of members or total buffoonery or both.