Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Another look a recent high-profile apologies, or non-apologies, as the case may be.

Carolyn Grant

We discussed several weeks ago, dear readers, the apology that isn’t exactly an apology — the sort of apology that says I wouldn’t have been forced into this behaviour but for you, or the classic ‘mistakes were made’.

And now apologies are the topic of conversation again.

Last week, followers of Canadian politics were lucky enough to view an entirely different type of political apology — the ‘I apologize, but fully intend to do it again’ apology.

Inventing the new form was Conservative MP Paul Calandra. Calandra, the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, repeatedly stonewalled Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair on the matter of Canada’s role in Iraq against new terrorist scourge ISIS. Why Calandra was selected to answer the question in the first place when government ministers, including the Minister of Defence (!), sat silent beside him is for better minds than myself to dissect. I mean it couldn’t be that the entire stonewalling routine was intentional, could it? No, surely not.

Rather than answer any of Mulcair’s questions, Calandra spouted nonsense about supporting Israel. Not that supporting Israel is nonsense — but it is nonsense to answer a question about Iraq with an answer about Israel.

The more Mulcair questioned about Iraq, the more Calandra talked about Israel. Mulcair became frustrated and eventually insulted the Speaker of the House by questioning his impartiality. For which he had to apologize.

But back to Calandra’s apology. He appeared sincere. He even teared up and cried a little as he spoke of his remorse for his actions and apologized to Mulcair, all MPs and his constituents. But then this happened.

“I don’t think this will be the last time that I’ll get up and answer a question that doesn’t effectively respond, Mr. Speaker,” he said.

Oops, there goes that sincere apology.

That sounds more like a guy who would take to Twitter and mock those who complained about his performance in Parliament. Oh wait, he is that guy. Yes, before the sincere urge to apologize overcame Mr. Calandra, he had taken to social media to crow about his performance, to give an “In your face!” to all who complained about it.

Then when outrage from political pundits and voting Canadians began to build, he suddenly was overcome with remorse, stood in the House to tearfully apologize and then promised to do it again in the same breath.

Is it any wonder that Canadians are scornful of the House of Commons?

Also apologizing, but not really, this week was Ezra Levant, a commentator for Sun Media, owned by Quebecor. Ezra Levant — by the way, awesome name, it has ring, it has gravitas — opened his political show last week with a great deal of outrage over Justin Trudeau photo-bombing a wedding and kissing the bride on the cheek.

This, according to Mr. Levant, showcased a lack of character so deep as to disqualify Mr. Trudeau from leadership. It showed his contempt for the very institution of marriage. He then, shuddering with outrage, went on to rant about the lack of morals of Trudeau’s parents, amid much name-calling and pearl-clutching.

It was later reported by the Globe and Mail and other news sources, that the bride and groom had requested the photo op. In fact, the bride emailed old Ezra and told him so. His reply? Didn’t get the email. Sure.

In any event, Trudeau said he wouldn’t deal with Sun Media journalists anymore until Quebecor somehow dealt with the insult against his parents.

So Quebecor dealt with it by apologizing for Mr. Levant, who himself has been utterly silent. And the rant remains on his blog. Which, again, doesn’t lend a lot of sincerity to the apology.

So what’s worse? Apologizing while promising to recommit the offence you are apologizing for? Or letting your boss apologize for you while you continue to spout the same nonsense for which your boss is apologizing?

I will let you decide, dear reader. Such weighty matters are beyond me.


Carolyn Grant is Editor of

the Kimberley Daily Bulletin