To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
I shake my head…. okay Paul you made another mistake but this one is clear. Saying sorry and correcting yourself is not going to hurt you in the polls (the only thing that seems to guide you), so get up and correct yourself!
Opposition slams prime minister over Syria ‘gaffe’
at 17:56 on February 17, 2005, EST.
OTTAWA (CP) – A confusing comment by Prime Minister Paul Martin about Syria’s occupation of Lebanon sparked a political firestorm Thursday.
Martin, answering a reporter’s question, appeared to say that Syria was in Lebanon to keep the peace:
“It’s clear that if the Syrians are in Lebanon, it’s because peace has to be maintained and there has certainly been a failure,” he said in French after a cabinet meeting.
Later, in the House of Commons, opposition MPs accused Martin of undermining the Canadian and United Nations position that Syria is illegally occupying Lebanon and must withdraw.
“Given that the very presence of the Syrian army in Lebanon is an illegal threat to peace, how could the prime minister commit such a gaffe so out of step with international opinion?” asked Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
Several opposition MPs urged Martin to admit that he misspoke and just retract his comment.
But the prime minister dug in his heels, maintaining he was “misunderstood.” He claimed he spoke ironically, and that he had uttered under his breath that it’s a funny kind of peace.
Martin said he’s fully aware of Canada’s policy and supports a UN resolution demanding that Syria withdraw from Lebanon.
That brought a scathing rebuke from New Democrat Bill Blaikie:
“Instead of saying dumb things and then being even dumber in not retracting them, instead of digging himself deeper, why doesn’t he just get up and say that he misspoke and withdraw it.”
The matter comes at a sensitive time, following Monday’s assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Hariri was killed in a huge bomb explosion in Beirut and many are pointing an accusing finger at Syria.