Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren is facing heavy criticism after making a coarse joke about federal MP Karen McCrimmon, while the two were taking part in a “men’s night” cancer fundraiser at the Carp Agricultural Hall last month.
MacLaren read out a joke about McCrimmon and her husband that referred to their sexual relationship. Steve Lewis, the former head of the local Conservative riding association, described MacLaren’s remarks as “terribly rude” and “totally inappropriate,” the Toronto Star reports today.
McCrimmon was the first woman to command an air squadron in the Canadian Forces and served in Afghanistan in 2004. She is now the Liberal MP for the federal riding of Kanata-Carleton.
MacLaren has been the Progressive Conservative MPP for our area since 2011.
According to the Star,
McCrimmon would not repeat MacLaren’s comments when asked to confirm the remarks as reported to the Star. She said they were “very crude and vulgar and totally inappropriate.”
McCrimmon said that as she faced the audience she could tell “they were horrified.”
MacLaren was also censured for confronting McCrimmon about a federal tax policy during the event. “He brought up politics at something that was a volunteer thank-you,” she said.
After being questioned about the incident by a Star reporter at Queen’s Park on Monday, MacLaren later emailed the newspaper the following statement:
“It was certainly not my intention to cause offence with my comments at the Carp Fair Men’s Night. Clearly they were inappropriate in nature. I apologize to those who were offended. I have always been appreciative of the opportunity to attend this function and support a great cause.”
The Ottawa Community News wrote an editorial on the incident — without naming MacLaren — under the heading “Speech brings shame to Carp Fair”, saying:
“Some will say this is another case of political correctness going overboard. We disagree. In one fell swoop churchgoers, a husband, and a woman were humiliated. It was no joke. It was a shameful speech that needs to be condemned.”