Duffy withdraws premiers in bed metaphor

Senator Mike Duffy withdrew a metaphor on Thursday that put the premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island in bed together.

Senator offers no apology

Senator Mike Duffy withdrew a metaphor Thursday that put the premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island in bed together.

On Tuesday Duffy used his first address in the upper house this week to warn P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz about Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.

Duffy, who was sworn in last month as a senator representing P.E.I., was speaking Tuesday about the federal budget. Williams and Ghiz have complained that the plan includes cuts in transfer payments to their provinces.

"I was disappointed to see that our dynamic young premier in Prince Edward Island, Robert Ghiz, has climbed into bed with the premier of Newfoundland," said Duffy.

"You know what happened, what a grotesque scene that is. You know what happens when two politicians climb into bed together. One of them comes out on top and I'm afraid when you're in bed with Danny Williams, he's going to be on top."

Four Liberal MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador broke ranks with their party to vote against the federal budget at the urging of Williams.

In a terse announcement in the chamber Thursday afternoon, Duffy withdrew the colour, if not the content, of his remarks.

"If the metaphor I used in my speech on Feb. 3 was offensive to some members of this chamber I withdraw the metaphor."

With that statement, the speaker of the Senate said he considered the matter settled.

Williams expects better from a senator

In a news conference Thursday, Williams expressed his disappointment in Duffy's remarks, but added that he wasn't surprised.

"Nothing that Harper Conservatives do surprises me. I'm very disappointed in Mike Duffy as a person," he said.

"I think it's a question of the Harper Conservatives pulling Mike Duffy's strings, telling him what to say. That became very obvious to me during the election — as to his partisanship. He was very blatant in his show."

Williams said as a senator Duffy should behave in a more statesmanlike manner, and the raw kind of humour in his speech did nothing to enhance the Senate.

P.E.I. MP has a warning for Duffy

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter had his own warning for Duffy on Thursday, saying the new senator needs to be more careful with his words.

"What Mr. Duffy has to recognize is that he is a senator," Easter told CBC News.

"His words are going to be watched, and that kind of disrespect shouldn't be shown in the chamber of sober second thought."

Easter said you don't expect a senator to insult two premiers in an address in the upper chamber.

Duffy was among 18 new senators appointed in late December by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.