TORONTO — Ontario's energy minister has apologized to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for using a word that "might be interpreted" as offensive to describe her stance on energy issues.
Bob Chiarelli said during question period on Wednesday that Horwath "pees all over the map," according to Hansard, the official transcription service at the legislature.
The transcript was later changed to "she's all over the map."
Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli speaks after touring the Hydro One Grid Control Centre in Barrie, Ontario on Monday April 27th, 2015. (Photo: Frank Gunn/CP)
Chiarelli returned to the legislature hours after question period to "clarify" his response to Horwath, insisting he had meant to say that "she's all over the map."
"During this morning's cut and thrust in the course of answering a question, I used a word that might be interpreted as an offensive slang word," Chiarelli said.
"If my pronunciation was unclear and it appeared as though I said something I did not, I would like to offer an apology to the leader of the third party."
Horwath did not respond to Chiarelli's comments, but Catherine Fife, the NDP's finance critic, said online that it "wasn't the first time that Chiarelli has acted in such a demeaning and degrading manner" towards Horwath.
This is the video. Chiarelli's spokesman denies the minister said "pees all over the map." pic.twitter.com/gOBudGXVPk— David Reevely (@davidreevely) May 4, 2016
The Progressive Conservatives dug up a 2011 quote from Chiarelli in Hansard when he told a female Tory to "do her big-girl job as an MPP."
Chiarelli's apology came as Premier Kathleen Wynne faced increasing pressure to release details about two Liberal members of the legislature she had to discipline for sexual harassment.
Wynne admitted Tuesday that she has had to deal with a "couple instances" of Liberal MPPs accused of inappropriate behaviour, but wouldn't say who they were or when the events happened.
Horwath understands the women who complained about alleged sexual harassment asked that they be dealt with privately, but said Wynne should be open about who was involved without naming the accusers.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath talks with MPP Jagmeet Singh at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, February 25, 2016. (Photo: Nathan Denette/CP)
"If the premier has disciplined or taken action against MPPs that she talked about in the media, then she needs to think about greater disclosure that needs to happen," said Horwath. "You don't just put that stuff out there and then not address it."
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown accused Wynne of a double standard for demanding Jack MacLaren be booted from the PC caucus for telling a crude, sexist joke about Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon, but not disclosing how she dealt with Liberals who crossed the line.
"In terms of those that conducted themselves in a misogynist fashion, there has to be some transparency," said Brown. "Maybe the reason there is no transparency is that the discipline was inadequate."
MPPs disciplined for sexual harassment
Wynne can't demand the Tories boot a member out of caucus for a sexist joke but then fail to disclose who she disciplined for sexual harassment, added Horwath.
"You can't have it both ways," she said.
Horwath said some women in the NDP caucus complained in the past about "locker room talk" and sexual innuendo directed at them from other members of the legislature, issues she dealt with privately.
The premier's office said Wynne would have nothing more to say about the Liberal MPPs she disciplined, and sent government house leader Yasir Naqvi out to defend her position.
"We in our Liberal caucus have a very specific policy that outlines the process, and the confidentially aspect is key in order for victims to feel comfortable to come forward," he said. "The premier discussing details could seriously jeopardize that."
Wynne proposed a Code of Conduct for members of the legislature after MacLaren got into trouble for his misogynist joke about McCrimmon at a fundraising event in Carp, Ont., in March. MacLaren was told to get sensitivity training and stay away from the legislature until Brown says it's okay for him to return.
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