05/06/2013 05:29 EDT

Paul Calandra, Tory MP, Apologizes To Marc Garneau After Insulting Ex-Astronaut (VIDEO)


Tory MP Paul Calandra apologized to Canada's first astronaut on Monday for an insult he says crossed the line.

Calandra, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, said in question period that he regretted comments he made on Friday about Liberal MP Marc Garneau.

“Mr. Speaker, let me first apologize to the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie,” he said. “I answered a question on Friday that I was not particularly proud of, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell him that, of course, I am very proud of all our astronauts and our achievements in space, including our first astronaut.”

On Friday, NDP MP Dan Harris rose in the House to ask why Garneau was not invited to the unveiling of the Canadarm exhibit at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Garneau, who operated the robotic arm on two different flights in space, admitted to CBC last week he was “ticked off" to be left out of the event.

"I wasn't looking for a role, I just wanted to be there in the audience," he told reporters on Parliament Hill.

The NDP, apparently, agreed. Harris said the event should have been above politics.

You can see Harris’ question and Calandra’s response in the video below.


“Does the minister not agree with the NDP that the first Canadian in space should have been invited to the Canadarm event?” Harris wondered.

Calandra responded that the Canadian Space Agency was in charge of the invitations, but then threw an unexpected shot at Garneau.

“We are very proud of Canada's astronauts,” he said. “It is a shame that the Liberal Party rejected him by 80 per cent at their leadership convention.”

Garneau dropped out of the Liberal leadership race weeks before Justin Trudeau won on the first ballot with 80 per cent of the vote.

Harris quickly called Calandra’s response “disgraceful” and “beneath a member of the Government of Canada.”

Calandra’s unexpected apology on Monday came after he was asked about heritage committee review of Canadian history.

Several Conservative MPs and cabinet members rose to their feet.

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