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Now I've heard everything

Stephen Harper owes Belinda Stronach an apology, according to Liberal MPs:

Speaking with reporters in Ottawa, members of the Liberal women's caucus accused Mr. Harper and others of “unacceptable and disrespectful” comments following Ms. Stronach's departure from the party and said both she and the women of Canada are owed an apology.

“I think it's important that we try to raise the level of discourse and debate and they shouldn't be reduced to the kinds of throw away comments that people are clearly using last night and this morning,” Liberal MP Judy Sgro said.

“So I would call on Mr. Harper to apologize to Ms. Stronach and to women of Canada and ask his colleagues to very much do the same so that we can try and restore some level of respect and discussion here in Ottawa.”

So this woman attended strategy meetings for the (hopefully) upcoming election when she knew she was going to defect, owes the party hundreds of thousands of dollars, and accused the leader of being a narrow-minded incompetent -- and she deserves an apology? Oh right, she's a woman. She's immune from criticism.

And by the way, what are these hurtful comments? The Globe digs up everything it can find:

“She sort of defined herself as something of a dipstick, an attractive one, but still a dipstick, with what she's done here today. She is, at the end of the day, going to paint herself as something of a joke,” Ontario MPP Robert Runciman said of the move.

Tony Abbott, a Conservative member of the Alberta legislature, described Ms. Stronach as a “political harlot” and called the situation as one of “a little rich girl who is basically whoring herself out to the Liberals.”

Mr. Harper, meanwhile, told reporters in Montreal: “I've never really noticed complexity to be Belinda's strong point.”

Headlines around the country also described Ms. Stronach's announcement as a “blonde bombshell.”

At Wednesday's news conference, women members of the Liberal caucus described those kinds of comments as “overtly” sexist and noted that, when former Conservative Scott Brisson crossed the floor, he wasn't subject to the same level of personal attack.

“I don't think you'll disagree with me that being called a dipstick and being called a whore is the same thing,” Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte said, when asked by a reporter if friendly comments about Ms. Stronach's shoes were also sexist.

So two members from provincial legislatures, a mild comment from the leader -- and newspaper headlines? For this Stephen Harper should apologize? And what's this about calling someone a 'dipstick' being the same as calling them a 'whore'? Is there any doubt the Liberals were disappointed in the material the Conservatives gave them and had to make up their own?

These episodes of phony and preplanned outrages from the Liberals are getting really tiresome. But I expect this kind of stuff from them, it's the way they do things. But is it too much to ask that 'Canada's National Newspaper' provide a little more skepticism in their stories? This one read like it was a Liberal press release.

UPDATE: Andrew Coyne has a few quotes on Belinda from some women columnists. Presumably they're not sexist.


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