Taking his seat in the B.C. legislature for the first time as an Independent MLA, Bill Bennett told reporters on Monday he regrets his harsh comments about outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell - remarks that led to his expulsion from the BC Liberal cabinet and caucus.
"I went too far with the personal comments," Mr. Bennett said. "I didn't mean to say the things I said about him personally. I wish I hadn't said them."
Mr. Bennett was referring to remarks he made last November, shortly after he was dumped from cabinet for publicly urging Mr. Campbell to make way for an interim premier. In a half-hour scrum with reporters, Mr. Bennett described the premier, in candid detail, as abusive and bullying. "He's not a nice man," he said at the time.
"I'm not standing back from the veracity of the comments," Mr. Bennett said on Monday. "But it wasn't necessary. I had done what I intended to do, which was to encourage him to move over and let the party renew and I went too far."
Mr. Bennett is one of four Independent MLAs now in the B.C. legislature which resumed sitting on Monday for the first time since last spring. The session is expected to last only until Thursday, when both of the main political parties have agreed to break off to pursue their respective leadership contests.