Veteran Conservative MP Jason Kenney took to Twitter to explain why he heckled Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in question period Monday saying that MPs need an “English-to-English translation” to understand the minister.
The exchange occurred Monday when Conservative defence critic James Bezan and associate defence critic Pierre Paul-Hus questioned the Liberals’ decision to withdraw Canada’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led mission in Iraq and Syria.
Bezan accused Sajjan of blaming Canada’s allies for the spread of terrorism — an apparent reference to the minister’s speech at the Canada 2020 foreign policy conference.
“On Friday our rookie minister of defence suggested our allies were to blame for all that is wrong in the Middle East and the spread of terrorism,” Bezan said. “Why are the Liberals lecturing our allies on how to fight terrorism while at the same time befriending [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Iran?”
“It’s about consulting our allies and having a dialogue. These lessons, as I stated, were learned while working with our coalition partners,” Sajjan replied. “That’s the plan that we’ll be putting forward and making sure that we get this right so we don’t make the mistakes of the previous 10 years.”
While Kenney’s comment was not recorded, Government House leader Kevin Lamoureux called on the MP from Calgary-Midnapor MP to apologize.
“I’m wondering if the member would do the proper thing and apologize or at the very least explain his comments,” Lamoureux said.
Kenney, a former defence minister, called Sajjan’s answer “totally incoherent” and said “there was nothing to apologize for” leading to jeers from the Liberals and shouts of “shame.”
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Liberal MP Ruby Sahota called Kenney’s remarks “racists” and his refusal to apologize “unacceptable.”
New Liberal MP Raj Grewal also called on Kenney to apologize.
Kenney said on Twitter he has “huge respect” for Sajjan who he called “a fine intelligent man.”
“Unfortunately, I find his answers on ending combat against ISIS to be at best unpersuasive (and) at worst incoherent,” Kenney wrote, adding he was sorry if his comment was “misconstrued in any way.”
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