There are the quick witted political shots, and there is the regrettable attempt at wit which reflects poorly on the speaker who utters the words. Peter MacKay's remark fits the latter situation. Political wit can be very amusing, interesting, and a creative release of tension for MP's. A certain amount of word volleys are expected to be lobbed from across the parlimentary floors. Most often no apology is expected, as it is expected that MP's on all sides would like to exercise an opportunity at wit. But sometimes the line between being clever and personally insulting is crossed, and that happened on Thursday.
How ironic that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the person who backs our troops in Afghanistan to keep the women-repressing Taliban out of power, would make remarks that would be expected of what the Taliban nut jobs would characteristically say. This story started during a debate on Oct. 19, 2006, over the Conservative government's proposed clean air act, which was being criticized for not being tough enough on polluters and for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol.
Liberal MP David McGuinty asked Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, "Don't you care about your dog?"
Liberals allege that MacKay pointed toward the vacant seat of Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, whom MacKay dated when she was a Conservative, and said, "You already have her." MacKay later denied making the remark (CBC). Whether or not you like Belinda Stronach, or are indifferent, no one has the right to compare a civilized human being to a dog. Not that this would rationalize what MacKay said, but it was not even a witty remark, completely devoid of anything creatively humorous. It was a regretful attempt to demean Ms Stronach in a shot that missed the funny bone. It was very unprofessional to what seems to me, to be a personal insult by MacKay thrown in an
attempt to soothe his still injured ego, while hurting the emotions of another. If he is still personally upset with her, then that's not abnormal, but when you represent 30 million civilized decent people to the world, you don't say demeaning things and expect over 100 other representatives to condone this, and worst of all, not apologize.
This type of comment would be typical of a Taliban government, and there MacKay would probably be considered the Will Rogers of political wit. He had apparantly done a similiar thing in the past when he told Alexa McDonough to get back to her knitting when she was criticizing the Afghanistan mission and raising questions about it. Meant to be an insult, does he perceive anyone who knits to be somehow either simple, unintelligent, unimportant, or irrelevant? What about a man or woman who is a parent at home? Does he think that household duties and raising a child is unworthy of respect? His attitude is as outdated as plaid pants, the afro, or Archie Bunker's attitude.
Imagine your sister, mother, daughter, friend being called a dog, and with the inference that if she knits, it's inherent that she's doing a low-brow thing. How pretentious, thoughtless, and presumptuous to say such a thing. People of every background and ability like to do thousands of leisurely activities or other work, including knitting. What a stupid thing for him to say. He would regain some respect by saying sorry to Ms Stronach and the Canadian people.