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Pallister denies using 'retard' in legislature

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A simple vote to adjourn debate on PC MLA Kelvin Goertzen’s cyber-bullying bill -- only introduced Wednesday on day 13 of an extended legislative session -- boiled over in the legislature today when NDP House Leader Jennifer Howard accused PC Leader Brian Pallister of using the word "retard"

"Did you just call someone a retard?" an angry Howard asked Pallister. "I heard the word."

Pallister replied, but his answer was unintelligible from the media gallery above the speaker’s chair.

"You haven’t changed a bit, have you?" Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said to Pallister. "We heard what you said."

Pallister replied that the NDP had "zero credibility."

"Wow, you’re a tough guy," Ashton said.

None of the back-and-forth banter was captured by Hansard as the speaker had the floor.

Outside the house Pallister denied using the word, and he said he keeps a growing list of NDP false allegations against him in his office.

"It’s all false. It never stops," he said.

What happened on the floor this morning is a sign tempers are growing short as the extended session heads into next week and appears to have no end in sight.

It began June 17 after the Tories used a series of house procedural rules to delay the NDP’s legislative and budget agenda during the regular session that began in April.

The focus of the Tory attack has been Bill 20, the bill that raises the provincial sales tax one point to eight per cent without a public referendum. A referendum requirement was brought in by a previous Tory government.

In Question Period this afternoon, Howard asked Pallister to apologize.

Pallister declined.

History

Updated on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 2:19 PM CDT: Adds Pallister declined to apologize in Question Period.

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