Alexander Panetta reports from CP:
Prime Minister Paul Martin won't promise to call a vote before the Commons starts its three-month break next week. He blamed the possible delay on opposition filibustering on an unrelated budget bill, which would push a same-sex vote into the fall.
"There is no guarantee in a minority Parliament," Martin said after a cabinet meeting Thursday.
"Really, that is in the hands of the opposition. . . . If the opposition continues to filibuster, then that is in their hands."
Same-sex advocates and the NDP heaped scorn on the possible delay. And they weren't buying Martin's attempt to blame the Tories.
"Talk about an abdication of leadership," said NDP Leader Jack Layton.
"What kind of commitment has (Martin) got to human rights? . . . I call upon him to lead."
A prominent gay-rights advocate also called into question the prime minister's gumption.
"The government can pass the equal marriage legislation if (it) wants to," said Alex Munter of Canadians For Equal Marriage.
"That's where the question of leadership comes in."
It's a refreshing change to see Paul Martin get the blame for once instead of Stephen Harper. Martin's heart was never into supporting the issue; every time he was faced with a little opposition within his own ranks, he gave more ground, starting with the name of the bill (from Marriage Act to Civil Marriage Act, as if one could draw distinctions between a "civil" and a "religious" marriage's valid spouses), to more and more promised protections upon which he cannot ultimately deliver.
The question now is whether continued social spending bribes are more valuable to the NDP than what they think is a burning human rights issue. The NDP could have traded its budget support for an expedited passage of same-sex marriage and taken a little less increased social spending.
What if they had?
I really don't know if the NDP would have stood on principle, misguided though it be.