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Le Senator Don Plett apologizes for intimidating two sisters in the House

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The Conservative senator from Manitoba, Don Plett (File photo)

The Canadian Press

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Conservative Senator Don Plett apologized Thursday after two female senators accused him of physical intimidation and verbal harassment in the Senate during debate on an early carbon pricing bill of the month.

With trembling hands and trembling voice through tears, the Manitoba senator said his behavior that day was not ;was not acceptable.

What I did was wrong, it was unprofessional, it was unsuitable, Mr Plett said.

I [regret] the way I behaved that day. I never intended to cause harm or discomfort. I admit I lost my temper, he added.

Mr. Plett apologized to the President of the Senate Raymonde Gagné as well as to the head of the Independent Senators Group, Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain, and to the deputy head of the group, Senator Bernadette Clement.Open in full screen mode

Independent Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain (File photo)

Ms. Saint-Germain and Clement said that on November 9, after Ms. Clement moved to adjourn debate on a proposed amendment to the Conservative private member's bill, Mr Plett violently threw his translation headset onto his desk, rushed across the Senate floor and started reprimanding them.

Clement said she sought to adjourn the debate because there were senators who wanted to speak to the amendment and were not in the room.

She was so scared during the tirade that she just froze, she said in an interview.

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Bernadette Clement (Stock photo)

Mr. Plett then turned his anger on the Speaker, arguing that she had recognized Ms. Clement before the other senators who were already standing and waiting to speak about the bill.

Ms. Saint-Germain raised a question of privilege Tuesday regarding the incident, arguing that her privileges as a senator had been violated. Ms. Clement supported this claim.

Plett said Thursday he disagreed that it was a matter of privilege because no senator ;was prevented from exercising his right to speak or vote in the House following the events.

What happened? was in this chamber on November 9 and what some senators did on social media, as offensive as they may be, are not covered by privilege, he said.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Ms. Saint-Germain and Ms. Clement also claimed that some senators shared a social media post that they said was the source of a barrage of hate phone calls, including one that forced Ms Clement to leave her home on the advice of the police.

Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer posted Ms. Clement's photo and contact information, along with the contact information of Senator Chantal Petitclerc, on the X platform. The message urged people to call them to ask why they were putting end of debate.

All of this happened as furor over the carbon pricing bill raised the stakes temperature in the Senate.

The bill was introduced by Conservative MP Ben Lobb in 2022 and passed by the House of Commons earlier this year with support from all parties except the Liberals.

The legislation would extend carbon price exemptions for at least eight years on propane and natural gas that farmers use to heat buildings and dry grain. Once the final stage of debate in the Senate is complete, if the bill is not amended, it will need one vote to become law.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who pledges to remove the carbon price if elected prime minister, has launched a fierce campaign to make pass the bill following the Liberals' decision last month to exclude heating oil from carbon pricing for three years.

Liberals say the measure was intended to give people more time and money to replace oil boilers with electric heat pumps.

Conservatives, including Mr. Plett, have accused senators, including Ms. Clement, of conspiring with the Liberal cabinet to defeat the bill, which they deny.

On Wednesday in the Senate, Mr. Plett accused Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault of trying to pressure senators to vote against the bill, while Mr. Guilbeault was in the Senate to answer questions from senators.

Mr. Plett demanded to know how many senators he had pressured to vote against or gut this bill and deny our farmers the tax relief they desperately need, and whether his efforts were motivated by his promise to resign if a new carbon price exclusion occurred.

Mr. Plett was referring to a comment made by the minister earlier this month, promising that as long as I am environment minister there will be no more exemptions to carbon pricing.

Minister, will you keep your promise and resign if Bill C-234 is passed in its original form?, asked Mr. Plett.

Mr. Guilbeault responded that he did not say he would resign and that he did not put pressure on any senator.

He has already admitted to calling half a dozen senators to talk about the bill, but he insisted he was simply giving them the government's position , without forcing them to vote against.

With all due respect, senator, there is a world of difference between talking to someone x27;one and put pressure on him or encourage him to do something or to vote in a certain way, argued Mr. Guilbeault.

Carbon pricing: no other exemptions in sight, Guilbeault section

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