Something finally happened that made me wish I had been at the annual Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner.
READ THROUGH FOR UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF STORY
I've been a member of the gallery since March 2005 but I've never gone to the dinner. A number of factors prevented me from going over several years and now I feel like I should maintain my perfect non-attendance record.
But last night, I wish I'd been there to see all of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's speech which even CBC's Rosemary Barton and the Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor described as a train wreck (skip to the 5:10 mark).
I know enough about gallery dinners to know that everyone is supposed to relax, put their tools down for the night and mingle with people they do battle with most days.
So journalists invite politicians and lobbyists and everyone is supposed to leave the partisan stuff at the door.
Lizzie May didn't do that. She gave what has been described as a very partisan speech and was essentially walked off stage by Conservative cabinet minister Lisa Raitt who was trying to help May save her dignity. She should have pulled her off sooner.
While playing the song Welcome Back Kotter into the microphone through her phone, May started talking about welcoming Omar Khadr home before uttering this.
Here is a slighting longer version, the view is not as clear but it does give a bit more context.
Okay, let's think about this.
A leader of political party that has elected representatives in Parliament and wants to be taken seriously, just said that a confessed terrorist has more class "than the whole f***ng cabinet."
Firstly, what is May doing swearing like that at a formal dinner with cameras rolling? She wasn't dropping an f-bomb as part of a funny joke, she was trying to make a serious political point.
Secondly, what ever you think of Khadr, the office of the prime minister and his cabinet ministers do deserve some respect. Respect the institution if you can't respect the individuals.
But May couldn't do that. She is so blinded by her own partisan hatred that she has more praise for the son of Canada's first family of terror than she does for cabinet.
What will be her excuse?
Short of, "Sorry, I got really, really drunk and didn't know what I was saying," I'm not sure there is an excuse here.
Honestly, what other excuse can an elected member of Parliament have for behaviour like that?
May likes to portray herself as a defender of the institution of Parliament but I think her comments show that not to be true.
She dislikes the current government so much that she will sing the praises of a former mujahadein fighter and claim he has more class than Stephen Harper.
She likes a man that killed an American soldier and took the eye of another, after the battle was over and against the laws of war spelled out in the Geneva conventions, more than she likes any MP sitting in cabinet.
Don't believe Khadr's conviction? You cannot deny that he was taking up arms against coalition forces in Afghanistan, meaning this "Canadian" with so much "class" was willing to kill a Canadian soldier at any moment.
This is the man that Elizabeth May thinks has more class "than the whole fucking cabinet."
Elizabeth May owes the prime minister and his cabinet an apology. She owes Parliament an apology.
Will she deliver? I'm not so sure.
UPDATE: So since I first posted this both Postmedia and Canadian Press have published stories where May somewhat apologizes, bit not really.
I have not seen her whole speech and have not heard her whole apology, I can only go by what the two media outlets have published.
Postmedia reported on May this way:
The Green Party leader’s voice was raspy from a flu and she noted she was extremely sleep-deprived at the event. “It’s not an excuse, and I am sorry, but I’d had about five hours sleep in 48 hours,” she said.
"Obviously, I should stay with my usual goody-two-shoes where I’m more comfortable.”
At Canadian Press they had May on the record as such.
In a phone interview on Sunday, a hoarse May expressed her regrets for her taste in jokes, her lack of respect for her parliamentary colleagues and her choice of language.
"I wouldn't want anyone to think I was less than respectful for the people with whom I work," May said.
"I apologize that I made an attempt to be funny and edgy....and it didn't work."
It really didn't work but what I've seen of her apology so far doesn't work either.
Saying it is not an excuse and then blaming a lack of sleep is making an excuse. Saying "I apologize that I made an attempt to be funny..." is not a real apology.
Maybe there was more that was said, maybe more will be said tomorrow but what I've heard so far, this doesn't cut it.
Find out the truth about Omar Khadr at The Rebel's special KhadrFacts.com page.