Alberta NDP MLA who flipped the bird to Wildrose MLA forced to apologize
'My actions were not befitting of this chamber and the dignity herein,'says Michael Connolly
Calgary-Hawkwood MLA Michael Connolly apologized to the Alberta legislature Tuesday for giving the finger to another member, then misleading the house about it.
"My actions were not befitting of this chamber and the dignity herein," the NDP MLA told the house. "When this matter was raised at the time, I sought to minimize the matter instead of taking full responsibility. To be clear, my actions were not acceptable, and my apology and explanation were not good enough."
Connolly made the gesture to Wildrose MLA Angela Pitt on Thursday. When asked about it by the deputy speaker, he denied making the gesture and instead said he was throwing his hand in the air.
However, the sergeant-of-arms saw him make the gesture.
In a bizarre twist, as he headed into the house for the afternoon session, Connolly denied misleading the legislature when asked about it by reporters.
"I didn't intend to flip off the opposition," he said. "I was not thinking clearly at the moment."
Moments later, he was marched back out to the same reporters by the NDP caucus communications staffer and made to repeat his apology.
Premier Rachel Notley said she believes MLAs should take responsibility for their actions and that Connolly did so by apologizing to the legislature.
"Moving forward, the direction to our caucus is that kind of behaviour, of course, is not acceptable," she said.
This the second time an NDP MLA has apologized to the legislature. Last week, government house leader Brian Mason apologized after pushing his way into the assembly for a vote to decide who would be appointed as the deputy chair of committees.