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

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

Update: Suspect in Montrose gas station stabbing new to the area

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read