N.B.. politician apologizes for giving “finger” to Opposition
FREDERICTON (CP) — A New Brunswick politician has apologized, a week after making rude gestures that got him suspended from the provincial legislature for three days.
Abel LeBlanc — the Liberal member for Saint John Lancaster — was allowed to return to his seat on Thursday.
He was expelled after raising his middle finger twice and waving his fist during a verbal attack on Opposition members last Thursday.
Much of the outburst was directed at Conservative Margaret-Ann Blaney, while the fist wave was directed at Conservative Dale Graham, who LeBlanc called “a punk.”
The entire exchange was broadcast on the legislature’s live television feed.
LeBlanc said Thursday that he was sorry.
“Mister Speaker, I stand here this afternoon to apologize to yourself, your staff and the decorum of this house,” he said.
“ The things that I did were unacceptable and I apologize for that. I would also like to apologize to the people in the province of New Brunswick who have probably been offended in some form or way.”
Speaker Roy Boudreau declared the matter closed but members of the Opposition were not satisfied.
Tory house leader Paul Robichaud rose to call the apology “ lame” but was cut off by the Speaker.
Outside the house, Robichaud went further, saying LeBlanc’s apology should have been directed at the two members he attacked.
Blaney called it a half-hearted apology that was only intended to get him back in the legislature.
“I think the fact that he didn’t apologize to the two people that he targeted with his aggression says a lot about how genuine he might have been with his apology,” she said.
LeBlanc did not take questions from reporters.