When keeping it partisan goes wrong (V) - Macleans.ca

When keeping it partisan goes wrong (V)

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Marlene Jennings’ statement before QP today.

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the Prime Minister’s hand-picked parliamentary secretary twice used the expression “tar baby.” As a child, I was taunted with this name by people who wished to demean me and make me feel inferior. The mountain of correspondence I have received in the last few days shows my experience among Black children was not unique.

The parliamentary secretary has stated he was unaware the term is also a pejorative description of Blacks. I accept his explanation. I am concerned, however, at that MPs tendency to make hurtful statements. One year ago this week, he was forced to apologize for his offensive comments toward first nations people. Now this. Now that he knows the negative connotation of this expression for Blacks, Black Canadians hope he will publicly pledge to remove this pejorative term from his vocabulary, and we hope all Canadians will do so as well.

The Conservative side groaned when she mentioned last year’s incident. Mr. Poilievre did not appear to react to Ms. Jennings’ remarks.