Jack Layton knew it was a slip of the tongue as soon as he said it.
But he sure didn't want to tick off former prime minister Jean Chrétien.
After a rally in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, reporters asked the NDP Leader about his apparent contradictory stance on the HST - he has condemned it here in British Columbia but praised the way the New Democrat government in Nova Scotia has handled it.
Mr. Layton explained that in Nova Scotia, it was brought in 12 years ago by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and not last year by Stephen Harper.
"I am not able to campaign against Jean Chrétien, and the ghost of Jean Chrétien," said Mr. Layton.
"What is progressive is when you take ... uh ... he's still alive..." He said realizing his error. "Jean, je m'excuse."
Mr. Layton called Mr. Chrétien after the event to apologize and apparently all was forgiven.