Former prime minister Brian Mulroney arrives to speak at a conference put on by the University of Ottawa Professional Development Institute and the Canada School of Public Service in Ottawa on March 5, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Former PM apologizes for referring to Ontario politician as a little girl

Brian Mulroney appeared Sunday night on Radio Canada’s ‘Tout le monde en parle’

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney apologized Monday for using the term “little girl” to refer to an Ontario politician who left the Progressive Conservative caucus over cuts to francophone services.

Mulroney appeared Sunday night on Radio Canada’s “Tout le monde en parle,” and defended his daughter Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s attorney general and francophone affairs minister.

READ MORE: Don’t forget about women left to sweep up shards of glass ceiling, W7 urges G7

“She is the best voice that Ontario francophones could ever have, believe me,” the former prime minister said in French. “The little girl who resigned, she has left. That’s over. But Caroline is still there to defend the interests of Ontario francophones.”

Brian Mulroney apologized the next day, saying he used the French expression “p’tite fille,” translated as little girl, while speaking about Amanda Simard when he should have said “young woman.”

“I had no intention of insulting anyone with this poor choice of words and would like to offer my sincere apologies,” he said in a statement.

Earlier Monday, Simard addressed the comments on Twitter, writing that Mulroney was attempting to defend his daughter, who “completely abandoned Franco-Ontarians.”

“He has done great things for Canada, but his comments belong to another era and have no place in a respectful and egalitarian society,” Simard wrote.

After question period Monday at the Ontario legislature, Simard further said that one positive to emerge from the incident was that people were “overwhelmingly” condemning the remark.

“The fact that so many people are denouncing his comments is encouraging for women in politics,” she said. “I think we need to support women in politics and not retort to those types of name calling.”

Caroline Mulroney did not answer questions after question period.

Simard was elected last year at the age of 29 to represent the largely French-speaking eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

She left the Tory caucus in the wake of the government’s decision to eliminate the independent office of the French-language services commissioner and scrap a planned French-language university.

After an outcry from Franco-Ontarians, the government announced it would create a commissioner position within the office of the provincial ombudsman, establish a Ministry of Francophone Affairs and hire a senior policy adviser on francophone affairs in the premier’s office. But Simard said she was not satisfied by the “partial backtracking” on the cuts.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Creekside Apartments gets utility charge relief from Port Hardy council

The apartment building is undergoing restoration from a fire that happened back in 2017.

LETTER: It’s a labour of love keeping the Port Alice golf course running

‘We North Islanders are indeed fortunate to have two gorgeous golf club’

Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent watchdog

Aquaculture Steward Council certification complies with 500 sustainability and social measures

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read