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Liberal MP apologizes to Trudeau for abortion comments

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday May 27, 2014 in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Liberal MP has personally apologized to Justin Trudeau for ridiculing the Liberal Leader's position on abortion as a "bozo eruption."

Mr. Trudeau said Tuesday afternoon the matter was closed after he had a private conversation with Liberal MP John McKay. Like many Liberals who oppose abortion, Mr. McKay is unhappy with the Liberal Party's decision to force new MPs to vote in favour of a pro-choice agenda in the House of Commons.

"Mr. McKay, as we all know, has very strong personal feelings on this issue and we can understand how those personal feelings might have overflowed," Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

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"Mr. McKay and I spoke, and he apologized," Mr. Trudeau added. "For me, the matter is closed."

The Liberal Party traditionally allowed free votes on the matter of abortion, and has long had a wing of its caucus that opposes abortion. Mr. Trudeau pointed to a pro-choice policy adopted at the 2012 Liberal convention to explain his decision, which will apply to all Liberal candidates in the next election who do not currently have a seat in the House.

Mr. McKay has been privately critical of the Liberal Party's decision. In a taped conversation that was leaked to CTV News, Mr. McKay said he initially thought that his leader, Mr. Trudeau, had misspoken when he laid out the policy earlier this month.

"I initially thought it was a bozo eruption; that he didn't actually think about what he said," McKay said. "But even more disturbing is that his brain trust might have actually thought about this, and if they did … it scares the hell out of me. If you don't know this is a toxic issue for a population then you have no political sense whatsoever."

Mr. McKay refused to comment further on his discussions with Mr. Trudeau. He has told CTV News in a statement that he made "ill-advised comments" in what he thought was a private conversation and didn't know he was being "secretly recorded."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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