Canadian Alliance MP Cheryl Gallant apologized yesterday for an antigay remark she made in the House of Commons, just days after she suggested she had not said it and defiantly insisted she was the victim of a media smear campaign.
Ms. Gallant, who had avoided the Commons and reporters since making the remark, made her apology yesterday in a two-sentence statement in the Commons.
"Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday in the House I made a remark that, on reflection, was inappropriate and that I regret making," Ms. Gallant said. "If anyone was offended by the remark, I offer my sincere apologies."
Ms. Gallant had come under fire for yelling, "Ask your boyfriend," at Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham during Question Period.
Interim Opposition Leader John Reynolds, who shrugged off the remark last week, said he and Alliance Leader Stephen Harper later called Ms. Gallant to push her to apologize.
But on the weekend, Ms. Gallant suggested that she had not made the comment, telling a newspaper that reporters should have checked their facts before they reported the remark. She also told a paper in her Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke riding she was victim of a "smear campaign" by the national media.
"Cheryl Gallant should qualify for the Olympics in gymnastics. She's done more backflips in the last 48 hours that anybody could possibly imagine," New Democrat MP Svend Robinson said yesterday.
"Just a few hours ago she was blaming the media for a smear campaign. Now she says: 'Yes, I apologize. This was wrong.' "
However, Mr. Robinson said he accepts that the apology was made in good faith.
Mr. Graham, who said last week he did not hear the remark and refused to comment, said the incident is now in the past. "I think she's been gracious enough to say what she did in the House and I think for her sake and for the decorum of the House we should just consider the matter closed."
Mr. Reynolds said Mr. Graham indicated to an Alliance political staffer that he didn't consider it a big deal. "Svend Robinson said that he was offended, so we apologized -- she apologized."
A spokesman for Mr. Harper, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, said Mr. Harper believes that the incident has now been "dealt with."