Manitoba Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge apologized to NDP MP Pat Martin for saying Martin had no business introducing a private members’ bill to exonerate Louis Riel when Métis leaders themselves didn’t agree on whether Riel should be exonerated.
"I don’t think a non-Métis politician has any business getting into this," said Bruinooge.
He made the comment Friday when I was interviewing him about a newsletter sent out by Edmonton Conservative MP Peter Goldring.
But Bruinooge says he immediately regretted it.
"Right after I told you that Pat Martin as a non-Métis politician had no business in this debate I thought to myself how I really didn`t hold that philosophy and how it wasn`t a fair thing to say," Bruinooge wrote me in an email Sunday afternoon.
Bruinooge called Martin personally Sunday morning to apologize. His office put out a press release apologizing publicly as well.
"Whether I agree with him fully or not, the beauty of our democracy is the freedom to discuss conversing opinions," said Bruinooge in the press statement.
Martin said he was surprised by the apology and accepted it however he said he`s not entirely convinced it came from Bruinooge on his own.
"I never question the motives of an apology but I have no doubt the PMO ripped his head off for this," said Martin. `They do not want to be on the wrong side of this. Quebec was scorched earth for the Conservatives from the day they lynched Riel until the Diefenbaker years."
The moral of much of this story seems to be politicians need to be a bit more careful with their words. But from Bruinooge’s emotional response to the story, the comments on the story itself, emails I’ve received and even the fact Golding wrote his newsletter in the first place, it’s also clear 124 years after his death Louis Riel can still stir up a lot of controversy and emotion.