So let it be written…
Well, it’s time to say sorry.
It’s especially in vogue these days.
Sure, we Canadians are famous for enthusiastically and reflexively flexing our own “Sorry Muscle” at any given time of the year. But during election campaign time, generous as we are, we’d rather see the other guy give it a try.
Why just last week Jinny Sims, the NDP’s MP candidate for Surrey-Newton, invited her Liberal rival Sukh Dhaliwal to apologize. She made a formal invitation, even, in the form of a press release, and even furnished him with a topic to be sorry about.
Sims said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau “should apologize for making comments that insults small business owners, including those in Surrey.”
She then, with a nod to the principle of guilt by association, dragged Dhaliwal into the mix, saying he too should apologize to Surrey business owners.
I don’t know if Dhaliwal did so or not, but I’ll bet he was tempted by the opportunity, considering how fond we Canadians are of saying “I’m sorry.”
Our neighbours to the south aren’t as fond as we are of extending apologies to folk. Hilary Clinton was badgered for months before they finally squeezed one out of her, as witnessed by the recent CNN headline “Hilary Clinton on emails: ‘I’m sorry.’
This, in case you don’t know, had to do with her exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
The Sorry Bug is hardly contagious down in the United States. But if the virus were to spread pandemic-like, as it has in Canada, maybe the cure would be to obtain a sample from Donald Trump. A recent headline in The Atlantic reads “Donald Trump’s No-Apology Tour Continues.” Dubbed by Bloomberg as an “Equal-opportunity offender” and “compulsive insulter,” Trump, apparently, apologizes to no one.
Though they’re clearly not as keen on flexing their Sorry Muscle as we are, likely due to atrophy, this doesn’t mean our American brethren aren’t watching what we’re up to here in Canada. With politicians like Rob Ford and now Jerry Bance, who could avert their eyes? This would be like trying to ignore the Hindenburg as it was crashing.
The Miami Herald, under its headline “Canadian candidate, caught in 2012 urination scandal, no longer on ballot,” reported that a “recent apology came after video from 2012 episode of TV show Marketplace went viral.”
A hidden camera caught the Toronto-area appliance repairman peeing into a mug in a client’s kitchen in 2012.
As a result, he’s no longer running for the Conservatives.
Bance did release a statement indicating his “deep regret” for what he did, adding that it “does not reflect who I am as a professional or a person.”
This brings us to a most curious aspect of the Canadian apology, where the person who’s saying sorry in the same breath seeks to distance himself or herself from what they did.
Chris Brown, Liberal candidate in Peace River-Westlock, recently offered up an apology for “the offensive comments I made on social media in the past.”
He then says “This is not an excuse, but let me put those comments in context,” and concludes with “they do not reflect who I am today.”
Last month, Liberal candidate for Calgary-Nose Hill Ala Buzreba, age 21, bowed out of the campaign after, according to the Canadian Press, some offensive tweets she made as a teenager resurfaced, apparently with the help of Conservative supporters.
I guess they generously provided Buzreba with an opportunity to flex her Canadian Sorry Muscle.
“I apologize without reservation for the comments I made a long time ago, as a teenager, but that is no excuse,” Buzreba offered, ironically using Twitter as the medium to fall on her figurative sword.
“They do not reflect my views, who I am as a person, or my deep respect for all communities in our country.”
We’ll have to take her at her word. Stay tuned for more of this kind of stuff as Oct. 19 draws near.
So let it be done.
Tom Zytaruk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org