Liberal whip defends punishing N.B. MP who supported opposition motion

The Trudeau government's parliamentary whip is defending punishing a Liberal backbencher for supporting an opposition motion.

Pablo Rodriguez says there will always consequences for breaking ranks on a matter that isn't a free vote.

New Brunswick MP Wayne Long has been informed of his punishment for voting in favour of a Conservative motion.

The motion called for more consultation on the governing Liberals controversial tax proposals.

Long's office and Rodriguez wouldn't comment on the punishment, but the CBC is reporting the Saint John MP was taken off two parliamentary committees.

Long has said he was prepared to pay a price for his decision to vote his own way on what was a so-called whipped vote by the Liberal party.

He has said he voted for the motion because he and his constituents wanted the consultation extended amid concerns the proposed changes will hurt small businesses.

Prime Minister Trudeau has relaxed party discipline considerably, allowing free votes on most matters.

But he still insists that Liberal MP's toe the party line when it comes to traditional confidence votes on things like the budget and the Liberals' election platform.

The Trudeau government has insisted the proposals are designed to create a fairer tax system, while critics warn the plan will hurt entrepreneurs who take personal financial risks when they decide to open a business and have to save for retirement and prepare for economic downturns.