Friday, February 06, 2009

Some Shit, Suffice it to Say, Just Don't Wash Out

There are some metaphors you can't withdraw

For all the years that Conservative Senator Mike Duffy has spent covering Canadian politics, one would expect that he'd have a better idea of what does and does not fly in Canadian politics.

Judged on his performance since entering the Red Chamber, one would have to think again.

First, during his maiden speech, Duffy allowed himself to be interruped by his trademark Blackberry.

This provoked a short discussion regarding the rules of the Senate. It seems that telecommunications devices, even when set to vibrate, were previously banned from the Senate chamber because they interferred with the sound system. When the old sound system was replaced the ban was lifted.

But as it turned out this was the least of Duffy's problems. In his maiden speech Duffy made a rather unsavoury metaphor.

"Honourable Senators, I was disappointed to see that our dynamic young Premier in Prince Edward Island, Robert Ghiz, has climbed into bed with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and honourable Denators know what a grotesque scene that is," Duffy said with a wink. "Do honourable Senators know what happens when two politicians climb into bed together? One of them comes out on top and I am afraid that when one is in bed with Danny Williams he will come out on top and I would hate to see where that will leave PEI in the end."

The obvious homophobic undertones of Duffy's speech may sound similar to those familiar with the outrage directed at former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair over a Brokeback Mountain parody featuring Stephen Harper and George W Bush in a tent together.

For his own part, Danny Williams characteristically spun the comment into a diatribe against Stephen Harper.

"Duffy was very much over the top," Williams said. "Duffy is being manipulated and told what to do by the venomous, nasty Harper Conservatives."

Duffy eventually offered a poor excuse for an apology over the remarks. "Honourable senators, if the metaphor I used in my speech on February 3 was offensive to some members of this chamber, I withdraw the metaphor," Duffy announced.

But suffice it to say that some shit just doesn't wash out. Duffy's comments would be inexcusable in any context, whether meant to be humorous or not.

Some things, once said, simply cannot be unsaid. Duffy owes Danny Williams, Robert Ghiz and the people of Canada an apology.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Stephen Pate - "Mike Duffy, No One Can Control Him"

Russ Campbell - "New Senator Mike Acquits Himself Rather Well"

Edward G Hollett - "A Duff in the..."


  1. Oh Duffy... how disappointing.

    Although, surprisingly, I'm not as offended as I should be by his metaphor. Was it in bad taste? Yes. Should he have said something so ignorant? No. Am I surprised that Duffy is acting like a conservative tool? No.

    But I don't think Duffy meant it as homophobic statement. I think it was just a poor choice of words.

  2. Well, personally I am surprised that Duffy is acting like this.

    I really did think better of him.


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