NDP MP Pat Martin forced to apologize for verbal attack; woman questioned if he lived in riding

Pat Martin, the incumbent NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, has been forced to issue a written apology after he made a false accusation about a female constituent at an All - Candidates meeting on April 12th.

The woman, Kim Calder (formerly the traffic reporter for The Great Canadian Talk Show) is a resident of the riding who with other voters, voiced concerns at the open microphone about Martin's record as their representative in Ottawa.

" I asked him about the issue of not returning calls, not only I but three others had the same question. I also asked Mr. Martin who he was representing. Mr. Martin stated that he has a house on Canora, but does spend time in Vancouver where he owns property that is rented out. (Yet, in the Winnipeg Sun dated April 24th, in a quote to Tom Brodbeck, Mr. Martin stated that he just went through a divorce and his wife received the property on Salt Spring Island.) "

What happened next stunned Calder.

"As I sat down, Mr. Martin said to me, "how many restraining orders do you have against you?". Somewhat perplexed at the question, I replied "none".

His reply was "that isn't what I heard". "

After the session, Calder immediately went up to Martin to challenge his remark.

"When I tried to ask Mr. Martin who was his source on this allegation his only response was "I'm going to take out a restraining order against you", then bolted out of the building. Some had come up to me and said that at first they thought I was a crazy person who had lots of restraining orders against me."

A number of people in attendance, (including another candidate who participated in the forum), contacted TGCTS about Martin's remark, and were incensed.

"Mr. Martin not only intended to discredit the constituent and deflect criticism of his parliamentary record, but also willfully engaged her in open embarrassment during this community event." wrote photographer Darron Field. "His behaviour was deplorable and, as a citizen involved in the democratic process for this federal election, I suggest that he be held to account. It's this type of personal attack that has damaged the political process and turned voters from engagement, deep into apathy."

Another eyewitness was Fred Morris, a longtime Liberal party member and a candidate in the recent Winnipeg civic election.

"Mr. Martin should not have personally verbally attacked a constituent. It is even more surprising that Mr. Martin did not seem to be entirely sure of his own allegation. Mr. Martin did not seem to want to clarify his remarks to Ms. Calder after the meeting. NDP Leader Jack Layton should apologize to Ms. Calder. "

But when Calder tried to complain to Martin's leader, Jack Layton distanced himself from the 14 year representative of Winnipeg's inner-city.

"On April 13th I contacted Jack Layton's office in Danforth riding, was told by his campaign manager that I had to call the national office. Which I proceeded to do, was told that there was nothing they could do and that I should contact Pat Martin's office."

Calder explained that she then spoke to the campaign manager for the NDP in the riding, Keith Bellamy.

" I informed Mr. Bellamy of the situation and demanded a public apology as Mr. Martin had publicly slandered my good name. I challenged Mr. Bellamy and Mr. Martin to go ahead and find ANY restraining orders against me."

It was only after an follow-up email to Bellamy demanding an apology by April 19th at 8 PM, that she finally received a letter which was hand delivered to her home.

Calder admits she is a volunteer for the Liberal candidate in Winnipeg Centre, Allan Wise, but says her presence at the meeting was as a constituent who would be represented by Martin if he is re-elected. She was concerned about the poor response she and others have received from Martin in the past, and wondered if he was being distracted by not living in the riding.

Despite the letter, she is still not satisfied.

"What he said to me was in public, against my PERSONAL life. I did not ask questions about his personal life, instead I get a letter delivered, in private. Since when is it NOT allowed to question not only our MP's, but also our candidates?"

Related: Pat Martin has made some remarks in the past to some female MP's: http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/016664.html

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