WARNING: The following story contains explicit language
Pat Martin knows he can sometimes rub people the wrong way.
The NDP candidate and veteran MP for Winnipeg Centre has made all the wrong sorts of headlines in recent weeks, calling one of his opponents a “political slut” in an interview with the Huffington Post and mouthing “son-of-a-bitch” at another during a local debate.
Most recently, Martin himself became the target of some very unparliamentary language, as profanity-laced leaflets bearing his image and letterhead began popping up in coffee shops in his riding.
In a recent sit-down interview with Global News, Martin said he’s taking it all in stride. He called the leaflets “malicious mischief” but said he and his campaign managers have a pretty good idea who is distributing them. Elections Canada is investigating.
And what of his own salty language?
“There’s never an excuse for vulgar language and I regret that … it’s the only way I know, and the heat of the moment that’s what comes out,” Martin said.
“I think there’s an appetite for people who say what they think in politics, and stray from the talking points now and then.”
Winnipeg Centre is shaping up to be a heated battle, Martin acknowledged.
“Frankly, the last two elections … I’ve almost mailed it in. There hasn’t really been a great deal of competition. It actually ups your game. You play a better game of chess when you have a decent opponent.”
Asked about his party’s recent drop in the national polls — a dip that has been particularly severe in Quebec — Martin said it’s critical to remember that there are nearly two weeks left in the campaign, and that voters will see through the “fairy dust, unicorns and rainbows” being promised by the Liberals under Justin Trudeau.
“They say a week is an eternity in politics,” he quipped. “The NDP should be doing cartwheels. I’ve been part of election campaigns where we were in single-digit popularity, 10 or 15 seat in the House of Commons. We’ve never been, historically, in such a great position two weeks out in an election campaign.”