Peter MacKay should have done the right thing when he made his "dog" comment. He should have aplogized, said it was a heat of the moment thing, a momentary lapse, unhealed wound, etc. He could have called her worse things. Many people have. Then he could have moved on. Instead, he lied. Too many people heard the comment and got it on tape to leave any doubt. Even more distressing, in my view, is Peter Milliken's cowardice in this. I've seen him bend a few times for the government in power. This is an abdication of his duty, another nail in the coffin of Parliament, and evidence that Milliken, a fine Speaker in so many ways, should not be re-elected:
OTTAWA — House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken has bowed out of the dispute between some Liberal MPs and Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay, saying it's not his job to decide who's telling the truth in the tangled affair.
Milliken refused today to refer the matter to a committee for further investigation, or to demand an apology from MacKay.
Some Liberal MPs say MacKay suggested during a raucous exchange two weeks ago that his ex-girlfriend, Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, is a dog.
The remark wasn't caught by official stenographers, and audio clips of the exchange were garbled and barely audible.
MacKay, the Tory foreign affairs minister, has flatly denied making the remark, even though several Liberal colleagues of Stronach have sworn affidavits insisting they heard him.
Milliken says that under the circumstances, he's powerless to do anything.
"The remarks may or may not have been said, but it is not for the Speaker to decide where the truth lies," he declared in rejecting a question of privilege raised by the Liberals.
"I regret that the chair can offer no remedy to the House . . . I must now consider the matter closed."
Milliken did, however, appeal to MPs to work harder at maintaining decorum in the Commons, asking them to "avoid personal attacks on other members, so they do not bring themselves and this House into disrepute."