Pat Martin wants to correct his breech of parliamentary protocol: “I should have called him an Honourable Asshole,” the NDP MP says now.
Mr. Martin – who famously tweeted the “F”-word last year after he became frustrated with the Harper government’s use of closure – was referring to his characterization of Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu as an “asshole.”
And now he’s in hot water with the Harper PMO, who issued a memo Thursday – under the headline “Don’t tweet this, Pat” – calling on him and his entire caucus to “apologize for this shameful personal attack aimed at Senator Boisvenu.”
The controversy began Wednesday after the Senator said murderers should be given the “ right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life.”
A spokesman on law and order for the Harper government, the Senator was speaking in defence of the Conservative’s omnibus crime bill. He is a victims rights advocate. In 2002, his daughter was abducted, raped and killed by a repeat offender.
Senator Boisvenu did dial back his remarks and was defended vigorously in the House Wednesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who appointed him to the Senate in 2009.
But the reaction from the opposition was swift and harsh; it seems Mr. Martin’s remark was the most egregious.
In its memo, the PMO contends it’s “unacceptable for a party that is soft on crime to attack victims of crime.”
“The Member belongs to a party that opposes tougher sentences for violent criminals,” it says.
Mr. Martin is not moved, however: “I stand by my assessment of the Senator and my reaction to his outrageous remarks,” he says. “If his grief clouds his judgment to such an extent, he has no business crafting criminal justice policy.”
Mr. Martin notes – using another expletive – that next week is National Suicide week.
“And 90 per cent of suicides in prison are in fact by hanging,” he says. “What he said is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever heard from a member of Parliament.”