Elizabeth May: ‘My funny speech wasn’t funny’

Green Party leader apologizes for taste in jokes, her lack of respect for her parliamentary colleagues and her choice of language.

Green Party leader May reacts to the government's plan to participate in a military campaign against Islamic State militants, in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

(File photo)

OTTAWA — Green party Leader Elizabeth May says she is “very apologetic” about remarks she made on the weekend that included profanity and insulted the federal cabinet about how it has treated Omar Khadr.

May was among party leaders who addressed Parliament Hill journalists and politicians on Saturday night at their annual press gallery dinner.

Usually, party leaders deliver light-hearted, mainly self-deprecating speeches that include the odd barb thrown at the media.

But May went on at length about being the only female leader and having to claw her way into televised leaders’ debates.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt intervened and attempted to persuade May to end her speech, but instead, May played a recording of “Welcome back Kotter” — a theme song from a 1970s sitcom — and stated that Khadr has “more class than the whole f—ing cabinet.”

In a phone interview on Sunday, a hoarse May expressed her regrets for her taste in jokes, her lack of respect for her parliamentary colleagues and her choice of language.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was less than respectful for the people with whom I work,” May said. “I apologize that I made an attempt to be funny and edgy….and it didn’t work.”

May said she was just getting over the flu, had put in a 21-hour work day on Friday, and then had to rise early in British Columbia on Saturday morning to make it to the press gallery event in Gatineau, Que.

“My funny speech wasn’t funny. That’s not the first time a politician has done that.”

In the Khadr section of her speech, May said she meant to make the point that Canada is a country that gives people second chances, and that she hopes Canadians welcome him into their midst.

Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, was set free on bail last Thursday despite repeated attempts by the federal government to keep him behind bars in Canada.

Now 28, Khadr pleaded guilty in October 2010 before a widely discredited military commission to five war crimes — including murder in the death of Speer, a U.S. special forces soldier.

Khadr spent almost 13 years behind bars — four of them as a convicted war criminal.

He was captured, badly wounded, by American forces in Afghanistan in July 2002, when he was 15 years old. At one time, he was the youngest prisoner at the American prison compound in Guantanamo Bay.

May’s remarks left many at the Saturday night gala wondering what had come over her, and sparked a Twitter storm on Sunday.

May said she had no hard feelings towards Raitt for intervening in her speech, and said the two women are friends.

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Elizabeth May: ‘My funny speech wasn’t funny’

  1. In vino veritas, Liz. Thanks for demonstrating what a hateful old windbag you are.

  2. Flu, exhaustion and medication….meh. Everyone has been there. Why is this ‘news’?

    • Oh puleeze. I doubt you even know who she is.

  3. And she has what to apologize for? For calling out those Canadian Tea Party idiot robots across the floor?

    • So you are willing to toss a lot of people overboard because you don’t agree with their views. Typical of the tolerant left – name call rather than debate any issues of substance.

      As for wee Omar – while I do think he deserves a second chance I’m tried of the MSM and the like of May giving him a pass – he killed a person. Do you even know who? Why doesn’t the MSM talk more about Chretien’s role in getting Pakistan to release Papa Kahdr? Omar was NOT a child solider – child soldiers are young boys ripped from their families as they watch their captors kill their families before they are dragged off to fight. Maybe Omar didn’t have much of a choice when daddy decided he was going to wage war, but a sincere apology to the family of the man he killed would be a start and a total and complete rejection of his terrorist family (members who still live in Canada and support jihad) would go a LONG way to gain some sympathy from Canadians.

      • Typical of the tolerant left – name call rather than debate any issues of substance.

        Ummm… have you actually paid any attention to the CPC? You just described their modus operandi to a T. From attack ads to insulting non-answers in the HoC to their McCarthyesque attacks on witnesses during the C-51 “hearings”, they have proven themselves incapable of not just debate, but civil discussion.

  4. This inside the beltway non event was the lead story on the CBC National radio news this morning.
    Did the PMO issue attack lines to the assembled sycophants, or do they know their roles by heart?

  5. Did Harper apologize for posting PR videos showing the faces of Canadian soldiers?
    No, he did not.
    And I find his actions far more reprehensible than Ms May’s

  6. The really sad thing is that the Green Party has some significant contributions to the political debate in Canada (but I would never vote for them), however because they have this showboat as a leader we never actually hear what those are. She is a prima donna who, rather than supporting the party and the candidates in the 2011 election, consumed all the focus on getting herself elected and to what end? What has she contributed to political discourse in this country – NOTHING!

    • My God that is a foolish comment.
      Elizabeth May was voted “Best Orator in the House of Commons” in 2014, “Hardest Working MP” in 2013 and “Parliamentarian of the Year” in 2012 – all awards are voted on by all the MPs. In the House of Commons she consistently contributes to debate in a constructive and respectful manner.
      Compare that to someone like Paul Calandra – an absolute partisan disgrace appointed Parliamentary Secretary of Obfuscation by our PM.

      Talk about contributing NOTHING! Take a good look in the mirror Maureen.

      • Not to mention she’s right!
        Omar Khadr is a murderer only by absurd technicality. It was a war. People who kill in war don’t get charged with murder. Then of course you have the child soldier issue. What did the Americans involved think they were doing? Did they have uniforms and guns?
        This was war. May went overboard sure but let’s not forget she did speak truth to power: both media and political power. Why haven’t the Canadian media questioned this whole murder charge legitimacy?

    • Oh dear, how upsetting.
      BTW, are you the same ‘JOEFRMEDM’ that calls anyone to the left of Mussolini a ‘communist’?

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