The voices of our leaders

Say what? We’ve all done it: blurted out something we immediately wanted to take back.

Say what?

We’ve all done it: blurted out something we immediately wanted to take back.

In Canadian politics, it was a banner year for blurting and regretting, but this being Ottawa, the blurting was always clearer than the regretting.

Regardless, here are 10 instances in which our federal representatives might have wanted a do-over:

He’s also tight with Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster

Mississauga Conservative MP Brad Butt twice says he knows of campaign workers taking voter information cards from the garbage to use in illegal voting. On Feb. 6, he said he witnessed it personally. “Why are they doing that? They are doing it so they can hand those cards to other people, who will then be vouched for at a voting booth and vote illegally.”

He later says he “misspoke” and then told the House he saw no such thing.

Beam her down, Tom

NDP MP Charmaine Borg turns the House of Commons into a fundraising circus.

“For $1,000,” she says, she will utter the Star Trek line “Resistance is futile” in Parliament, a play on the alien race which shares her last name.

She is quickly persuaded by party leadership that wasn’t really why she was elected.

Some opinions carry more weight than others

Another former Harper parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro, is found guilty by Judge Lisa Cameron of overspending in his 2008 campaign, then falsifying documents to cover it up.

“I know what the truth is. That’s her opinion. My opinion is quite different.”

Less than a week later, with the executioner’s blade hanging over his political future, Del Mastro resigns his seat. He gains extra points for tearing up.

Calandraspeak without translation

Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, rises to answer a question from Tom Mulcair on our Iraq mission:

“Mr. Speaker, what does the leader of the Opposition not understand? Our friends in Israel are on the front lines, combatting terrorism.”

Calandra gains extra points days later when he rises to apologize for his gibberish, taking full responsibility “despite what people think about kids in short pants,” a reference to the staffers in the prime minister’s office who gave him his initial talking points.

He, too, gains further points by choking up during his apology, then messing it up and having to correct his apology.

Straight talk on the bare fax

His political career in ruins, sexual assault charges looming and four children to feed, senator-in-exile Patrick Brazeau takes a job as day manager at Barefax, a strip club in the shadow of Parliament Hill.

“It is what it is, I have four mouths to feed,” he tells Postmedia journalist Stephen Maher.

Brazeau was ordered into rehab in October by a Quebec judge.

I went to Israel and all

I got was this lousy T-shirt?

Conservative MP Mark Adler joins Stephen Harper on a historic trip to Israel, but can’t get his mind off his York Centre riding at Old Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

“This, it’s the re-election. This is the million-dollar shot,” Adler says, unsuccessfully pleading with Harper staffer Jeremy Hunt for a photo with the prime minister in front of the famous holy site for Jewish prayer.

Adler has an estimated 21,000 Jewish voters in his riding.

Empathy ‘R’ Us

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino arrives 70 minutes late for a meeting with veterans, then berates them in front of television cameras.

“This finger-pointing stuff doesn’t really work very well with me,” Fantino snaps at one elderly vet, stooped by the weight of his war medals.

The minister wins extra points with his encore, walking away from the wife of a veteran with PTSD as the cameras rolled.

Film at 11

Conservative backbencher Peter Goldring advocates body cameras to detect ulterior motives in late night Scrabble games.

“MPs must learn, as I have from encounters with authority figures in the past, that all do not tell the truth. I now wear ‘protection’ in the form of body-worn video recording equipment.”

He is immediately shrink-wrapped by party operatives and a retraction is delivered within hours.

Oh, I thought you meant another bozo

GTA Liberal MP John McKay is caught on tape by a Conservative operative reacting to leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to bar pro-life candidates in the next general election.

“I initially thought it was a bozo eruption; that he didn’t actually think about what he said,” McKay said. He gains extra points by then jumping on another even “scarier” possibility, that it was the idea of Trudeau’s brain trust.

Whip it. Whip it good

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau stomps all over his speech on Canada’s efforts to degrade ISIS.

“It’s not about whipping out our CF-18s to show how big they are.”

Remarkably, a poll later indicates he won public support for the frat boy line.

Tim Harper is a syndicated Toronto Star national affairs writer. He can be reached at tharper@thestar.ca.

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