LA RONGE, Sask. - Senator Lillian Dyck is apologizing for suggesting an aboriginal Conservative MP from northern Saskatchewan was behaving like a "white man" during a debate in the Senate earlier this month.
Dyck, who is also Cree and from Saskatchewan, says she was exasperated during discussions Dec. 9 on a private member's bill from Rob Clarke to replace the Indian Act.
"That was kind of an off-the-cuff remark," she said. "I was standing up speaking, and because I was so exasperated, I said that without really thinking it through," she said.
She said she realizes the comment directed at Clarke as he tried to push through the bill insulted not only him, but also some others.
"It appears that I have unintentionally offended some men who self-identify as white and for that I apologize. Not all white men are boastful. That's the comment I made about his behaviour when I used the term 'white man.'"
But Dyck also said she feels Clarke's request for an apology is a "political manoeuvre."
Clarke, who represents the Saskatchewan riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, issued a statement Dec. 10 that said it was "regrettable" that Dyck had "resorted to personal attacks against an elected member of Parliament."
"I would hope that the senator will do the right thing: withdraw her comments, and apologize to me, the First Nations community and all Canadians," he said.
A spokesman in Clarke's office said the politician was not offended because Dyck referred to him as a "white man," but because she used it in a derogatory way.
Dyck said she will be more careful in the future, because "sometimes it can be taken out of context."
By The Canadian Press