Yukon MP Ryan Leef took to Twitter this week to counter criticism of a Conservative colleage’s joke about gang rape by attacking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
The exchange was sparked by comments made by Conservative MP Robert Goguen during a committee hearing on the federal government’s new prostitution bill.
Goguen asked Timea Nagy, who was trafficked into sex slavery, whether her freedom of expression would have been breached if police came to rescue her during a gang rape.
That prompted Ben Sanders, a candidate for the Liberal nomination in the next election, to tweet at Leef on Thursday: “It’s unrepresentative of your caucus … but with comments like these, Goguen should not still be in it.”
Leef responded that Sanders should also call for Trudeau’s resignation, “given his admiration of China’s dictatorship.”
He followed that up with missives about Trudeau’s comments on the Boston Marathon bombers and his joke about being more worried about Russia’s mood after losing in hockey than its involvement in the Ukraine.
The twitterverse responded.
“Not sure what Trudeau has to do with your colleague laughing about a woman’s gang rape,” one person asked.
Leef denied Goguen had laughed.
When one constituent tweeted “If the best your party has got is, ‘Well, they’re doing it too!’ you’re not fit to govern,” Leef replied that people were missing his point.
“Didn’t say, ‘Well they did it too.’ I said equalize your call for accountability. Hold everyone to account equally.”
After much back-and-forth over whether Goguen was laughing, Leef said he agreed the question “was poor” and “would say an apology would be in order.”
Goguen later phoned Nagy to apologize.
Nagy told a news conference she understands why Goguen came across insensitive. She agrees other women may have been offended, but only because the comment was taken out of context.
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