OTTAWA – Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef has apologized to members of the electoral reform committee for comments she made Thursday in the House of Commons.
Monsef issued the apology during today’s daily question period, much of which she spent on her feet addressing the controversy from the day before.
She says she deeply regrets the words she used and never meant to imply they didn’t work hard, long hours and weren’t focused on their task.
The minister flabbergasted opposition parties on Thursday with a dismissive, hostile response to the majority report of the opposition-dominated committee, which recommended a new proportional voting system and a national referendum to gauge public support for it.
Pressed by Conservatives and New Democrats in the House to accept the majority report, Monsef asserted that “the only consensus that the committee found was that there is no consensus on electoral reform.”
She then expressed disappointment that the committee didn’t recommend a specific voting model.
“On the main question on the hard choices that we had asked the committee to make, the members of the committee took a pass,” Monsef told the Commons.
“We asked the committee to help answer very difficult questions for us. It did not do that.”
On Friday, she said: “I’d like to sincerely apologize to the members of this House, to Canadians and to the members of the special all-party committee on electoral reform.”
“In no way did I intend to imply that they didn’t work hard, that they didn’t put in the long hours, that they didn’t focus on the task at hand; Mr. Speaker, I thank them for their work.”