Manitoba

NDP leader apologizes for telling MLA Steven Fletcher to 'keep your mouth shut'

NDP leader Wab Kinew has apologized after he was taken to task for allegedly telling a fellow MLA to keep his mouth shut.

'In the future I won't be quite so forceful with my language,' Kinew says

NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he apologized to Steven Fletcher after the language he used to ask the Independent MLA to stay silent was criticized by Progressive Conservative and Liberal MLAs. (Warren Kay/CBC)

NDP leader Wab Kinew has apologized after he was taken to task for allegedly telling a fellow MLA to keep his mouth shut. 

After his member's statement condemning the government's response to climate change Tuesday, Kinew walked to the back row of the chamber to tell independent MLA Steven Fletcher to be quiet while he's speaking.

He reportedly told Fletcher, "you better keep your mouth shut," said Liberal MLA Cindy Lamoureux.

The line appeared to be overheard by Conservative MLA Wayne Ewasko, who brought the matter up in the House minutes later, calling it an embarrassment. 

Kinew told question period he was merely conveying to his colleague that he should not speak during a point of order.

Not heckling: Fletcher

In response, Fletcher said he was not heckling, but discussing a procedural issue with several people, including a deputy clerk. 

"I'm sorry to the member if that was somehow bothersome to him," he told his colleagues.

While Fletcher said he took no offence to Kinew's statement, Speaker of the House Myrna Driedger described the incident as a "teaching moment" to encourage MLAs to treat each other with respect. 

After his conduct was criticized, NDP Leader Wab Kinew approached MLA Steven Fletcher to apologize. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Afterward, Kinew said he approached Fletcher to apologize.

"I said in the future I won't be quite so forceful with my language. I will endeavour to couch my language in extremely soft terms so that everyone is able to, I guess, understand the substance of what I'm saying and not be put off by perhaps the delivery," he told reporters.

"The substance of what I'm saying is relevant. When somebody's making a point in the House, whether it's a question, whether it's a statement, other people shouldn't be talking."

Watch the back-and-forth over Kinew's words:

NDP leader Wab Kinew has apologized after he was taken to task for allegedly telling a fellow MLA to keep his mouth shut. 3:16

About the Author

Ian Froese

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Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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