Duffy won't apologize for saying P.E.I. will 'get the shaft'
Under fire from a fellow senator, two premiers and the leader of P.E.I.'s Opposition, Senator Mike Duffy says he won't apologize for his remarks about the dangers of the Island getting in bed with Newfoundland and Labrador.
P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams are upset with provisions in the federal budget they say would cut equalization or offset payments to them.
Duffy made the remarks on two occasions. Last Saturday at the annual general meeting of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative party he is reported to have said, when "two men get into bed together one is going to get the shaft, and I assure you it won't be Danny Williams."
Duffy's language was a little more restrained in his inaugural speech in the Senate on Tuesday.
"What a grotesque scene that is. You know what happens when two politicians climb into bed together. One of them comes out on top," he said in the Senate.
Williams said Thursday senators should be more statesmanlike, and Ghiz also expressed his disappointment.
"I find it very unfortunate that Mr. Duffy would choose partisanship over looking out for the interests of a province he's supposed to be representing," said Ghiz. "You have to be careful not to offend people in our society today, and I think perhaps next time he'll think a little bit more before he speaks."
Criticism from both sides of political fence
Olive Crane, P.E.I.'s leader of the Opposition and interim leader of the Island Tories, invited Duffy to speak at the Progressive Conservative AGM on Saturday.
Crane expected him to offer greetings and tell people how to get in touch with him in Ottawa, and was surprised to hear the attack on the premiers.
"I think it's important that we all work on behalf of the province of Prince Edward Island, and I think it's really important we understand we always have to be professional," said Crane.
Crane said she understands why the two premiers have taken their stand against the changes in equalization. While she can't speak for Duffy, she said if she had made similar comments she would offer the two premiers an apology.
Fellow P.E.I. Senator Catherine Callbeck also addressed Duffy's remarks.
"I think it was an unfortunate choice of words," said Callbeck.
"This is the chamber of second, sober thought, where we approach issues in a more mature manner."
Duffy withdraws metaphor, but no apology
Duffy has not yet commented on his statements Saturday, but did stand in the Senate Thursday to withdraw the metaphor he used in his speech Tuesday.
As for the content of the speech, he told CBC News just before entering the chamber he would not apologize.
"For saying that P.E.I.'s making a mistake getting into an alliance with Newfoundland? Why would anyone apologize for that?" he said.
"That's my job; tell the truth. It's a big mistake and Robert Ghiz should learn from it."
Duffy said P.E.I. has always done best when it has co-operated with the federal government.