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May 31, 2004

Prime Minister mounts local MP

By Ross Thomas

KITCHENER, ONTARIO - Prime Minister Paul Martin used the medium of mime today to clarify his position on the gay marriage issue by mounting Kitchener-Waterloo MP Andrew Telegdi at a press conference.

Martin, who has until now refused to comment on the subject of same-sex marriages, said afterwards that he chose to express himself through mime in an effort to separate himself from the other candidates in the election.

"Every election it's the same thing: the candidates talk and talk, and the Canadian public is tired of it," he said. "I felt trapped by convention, almost like I were in an invisible box."

The Prime Minister then proceeded to demonstrate his frustration by holding his hands out and moving them as if feeling the interior surfaces of unseen walls enclosing him.

"I think it was very brave of him to break out of the mold this way," said Telegdi, who had looked alarmed during the mounting but quickly regained his composure. "I hope we can look forward to more non-verbal communications from the Prime Minister on a whole range of issues."

But NDP leader Jack Layton said Martin acted inappropriately at the press conference.

"I think it was shameful," he said. "Of course he should be able to rub himself against members of his party, that's protected under the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms], but miming an important policy statement in this way was discriminatory towards those with visual impairments."

Martin later responded to Layton's comments by looking very sad and using the tip of his finger to indicate the path of a single tear trickling down his cheek.

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