More foul language from Pat Martin has opponents calling for personal apologies
Winnipeg Centre incumbent has called rivals 'son of a bitch,' 'political slut' and 'full of s--t'
Winnipeg Centre NDP candidate Pat Martin says he's sorry for language he's used on the campaign trail in the past week, but two of his opponents want personal apologies from the longtime MP.
"Over the last few days I have used some intemperate language that I regret," Martin wrote in a statement posted on his website on Sunday night.
"I would like to offer an unreserved apology to my fellow candidates and to anyone else who may have taken offence to the tone and content of these remarks.
"I hope we can move past this and return to having a healthy discussion of the issues affecting Winnipeg Centre voters."
It started when a visibly frustrated Martin was heard saying "son of a bitch" as he was grilled by Green Party candidate Don Woodstock during a forum on downtown issues on Sept. 16.
Martin, who has represented Winnipeg Centre for the New Democrats since 1997, could also be seen saying "f---ing prick," but microphones at the debate did not pick up that remark as clearly.
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Martin again employed salty language in a Huffington Post article published over the weekend, calling Liberal candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette a "political slut" and saying he's "full of s--t."
He also took a shot at Ouellette's wife by suggesting that she's too afraid to go downtown, which is part of the Winnipeg Centre riding.
Martin was not available for an interview on Monday, his campaign manager told CBC News.
On Monday, Ouellette said Martin's remarks are pushing buttons, but he's loath to respond to them.
"Honestly, you want to take the high road; you don't want to be that guy just slinging mud," he said in an interview.
A couple days after the forum incident, federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called Martin "a very determined, very passionate man" who has "done an amazing job in Winnipeg Centre over so many years," but he also acknowledged the longtime MP's penchant for "colourful" language.
Mulcair added that it is important for all candidates to be respectful and careful with what they say.
Woodstock wants personal apology
Woodstock said while he's aware that an apology has been issued, he believes Martin should speak to him personally.
Martin's comments were insulting and could be considered misogynist, Woodstock said, adding that they do nothing to address the issues in what he said is one of Canada's most impoverished ridings.
"The people in the community where I live want to hear how we are going to solve the poverty, how are we going to prevent 30 per cent of the community using food banks," Woodstock said.
Ouellette said while he accepts Martin's apology, he thinks the New Democrat should personally apologize to his wife, Catherine Cantin.
The comment in question was likely fuelled by a remark Cantin made in a CBC profile of Ouellette, who was running for mayor in 2014, about the negative press she had heard about Winnipeg before they moved to the city.
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In the profile, Cantin admitted that what she had heard about crime in Winnipeg drove them to the suburbs, but she added that she no longer feels worried about safety.
"For me, the characterization that my wife is afraid of going downtown is completely false," Ouellette said Monday.
"She serves at a soup kitchen, she goes downtown with three kids by herself. She comes to events with me all the time."
Communist Party candidate Darrell Rankin, who also took part in the downtown forum last week, said he views the war of words between Martin and Woodstock as something personal between the two men.
As well, Rankin said he believes some of Martin's remarks are derogatory against women.
"Why are politicians using those words?" Rankin said. "That's what the media should be asking. Maybe they [the candidates] don't have answers to problems in the riding."
Focus on issues, candidates say
Both Woodstock and Ouellette said they want to focus on the issues faced by people in Winnipeg Centre.
"I would love to bring them back to the table on the issues," Woodstock said.
"At the end of this campaign, whether myself, Ouellette or Mr. Martin wins, people of this riding are still going to have issues that need to be resolved."
Ouellette said there could be an opportunity to use the heightened media coverage of Winnipeg Centre to look closely at issues in the riding, such as transit infrastructure, poverty and the number of children in government care.
"Let's talk about the real issues," he said. "Let's talk about pulling people out of the gutter here."
Conservative candidate Allie Szarkiewicz, who did not attend the forum last week, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The following statement was posted on Martin's website late Sunday:
Over the last few days I have used some intemperate language that I regret. I would like to offer an unreserved apology to my fellow candidates and to anyone else who may have taken offense to the tone and content of these remarks.
I hope we can move past this and return to having a healthy discussion of the issues affecting Winnipeg Centre voters.
Those of us who have lived and worked in the community have together transformed Winnipeg Centre into one of the most diverse, innovative, and exciting places to live in Canada. We love Winnipeg Centre and I look forward to continue serving the community.
- Huffington Post reported NDP Winnipeg Centre candidate Pat Martin said Robert Falcon Ouellette is "full of s--t," not a "piece of s--t" as originally reported in this story. We regret the error.Sep 22, 2015 11:28 AM CT