‘We Crossed a Line:’ Manitoba NDP Member Sorry for Saying Shame During Vote

‘We Crossed a Line:’ Manitoba NDP Member Sorry for Saying Shame During Vote

By The Canadian Press

Manitoba Legislature Chamber
The Manitoba legislature chamber, shown on Wednesday Jan. 6, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert)

WINNIPEG – Opposition politicians who said “shame” as female members of the Manitoba government voted down a private bill on sexual violence say they regret what they did.

New Democrat James Allum said passions ran too high and a line was crossed during the vote earlier this week.

He said he sincerely apologizes to the women in the Tory caucus who were left feeling intimidated.

The Tory government voted against a proposed NDP bill that would have required post-secondary institutions to develop firm policies against sexual violence and harassment.

Tory member Sarah Guillemard filed a complaint with the Speaker when some NDP members said “shame” as female Tories stood up to vote.

Guillemard said she felt the move was meant to isolate women in the government caucus for voting against the bill.

“Passions ran too high. We clearly crossed a line and for that, deeply regret it,” Allum said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“From my point of view, the women in the Progressive Conservative caucus felt vulnerable, felt intimidated by the calls from across the floor and, for that, they deserve a sincere and genuine apology.”

Later in the day, New Democrat Andrew Swan also said in a statement he was sorry.

“I want to echo the words of my colleague, James Allum, by offering an apology,” he said. “Allum is correct, we crossed a line and it’s our duty to conduct ourselves in such a way that is respectful of all members of the house.”

While the apologies were made in the media, Tory caucus spokesman Blake Robert said the female members of the Tory caucus had not received an apology as of Friday afternoon.

CP - The Canadian Press