Conservative senator won't apologize for telling protesters to 'roll over every Liberal'
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 5:24PM EST
A Conservative senator says he will not apologize for controversial comments he made at the United We Roll protest.
Speaking to the pro-pipeline crowd on Parliament Hill Tuesday, Sen. David Tkachuk urged the group to “roll over every Liberal left in the country.”
”I know you have rolled all the way here and I am going to ask you one more thing: I want you to roll over every Liberal left in the country,” he said to loud applause. “When they are gone, these bills are gone.”
Tkachuk says he was speaking “figuratively not literally” and the crowd was well aware of his intentions.
“I was referring to defeating every single Liberal in the upcoming election,” the senator wrote in a statement to CTV National News.
“I was not advocating violence and I think everybody knows that, except those for whom it serves a purpose to interpret them otherwise; certainly the people at the rally knew what I meant.”
The Saskatchewan senator says he spoke at the event to highlight the harmful effect the Liberal government’s bills, specifically Bill C-69 and C-48, are having on the oil and gas industry.
Members of the roughly 150-truck convoy left Red Deer on Feb. 14 and arrived on Parliament Hill five days later. The group wants the federal government to scrap the carbon tax; Bill C-48, which would ban tankers carrying crude oil on British Columbia’s North Coast; and Bill C-69, which alters how natural resource projects are approved.
“I am not going to apologize for my remarks,” Tkachuk said. “The words I used may not have been as artful as I would have liked and certain individuals are happy to misinterpret them to suit their own self-interest, but I am not going to apologize for that.”
Speaking before the House Justice and Human Rights Committee Thursday, the Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick strongly condemned the comments.
“I think it’s totally unacceptable that a member of the Parliament of Canada would incite people to drive trucks over people after what happened in Toronto,” Wernick said in his opening remarks, referring to the van attack that killed 10 people on April 23 .” Totally unacceptable and I hope that you as parliamentarians are going to condemn that.”
An edited video clip of Tkachuk’s remarks has had 12,400 views on Twitter since it was posted on Tuesday. A number of people in the comment section have said they filed complaints with the Senate Ethics Officer. The office told CTV News it is bound by confidentiality and cannot comment on the specific case of any senator.