Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Acting Leader of the Senate Liberals): Honourable senators, my question is for the chair of the Transportation Committee.
Your committee has long been concerned with the transportation of Canada’s natural resources. It is currently studying Bill C-48, which deals with tankers. You also looked at pipelines and the challenges of getting Canadian oil to tidewater.
I know that you, Senator Tkachuk, are passionate about your region and its ability to transport valuable oil to markets at home and abroad. The debate in your committee has been, as you put it, “spirited,” and you rightly pointed out an instance of unparliamentary language in your intervention yesterday.
But when addressing the demonstrators outside of Parliament yesterday, you are heard to have thanked them for rolling all the way to Ottawa and urged them, on the return trip, to roll over every remaining Liberal.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Mercer: Would my honourable colleague agree that this kind of language is also inappropriate, even in the most “spirited” debate? I’m concerned some could interpret these remarks as advocating physical violence against the supporters of a particular party, including parliamentarians.
As the public face of the Transportation Committee and its work, would the chair take this opportunity to apologize to his colleagues in both houses of Parliament so we can get back to the business of the committee and get our natural resources to market?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. David Tkachuk: Thank you for that question.
As you well know, I was speaking as the critic of Bill C-69, full stop. As I made clear in my remarks — and other government bills — and I referred to them by name when I was speaking to members of the rally. I said that it will decimate the oil and gas industry. If you listen to the entirety of what I said, I was using a figure of speech, playing on the United We Roll slogan and was referring to defeating every single Liberal in the next election, which would kill the bill.
Every trucker understood exactly what I said, but the Liberals seem to have a problem understanding what I said. Now, I’m sure when Chuck Berry said “Roll Over Beethoven,” he was not talking about rolling over the corpse of Beethoven. I’m sure that when the Minnesota Vikings call their linemen the “Purple People Eaters,” they didn’t exactly mean that they were eating purple people. When the Orange Crush of the Denver Broncos were called the “Orange Crush,” no one believes they were really crushing oranges.
I think this thing is being promoted by the Liberal Party. It is totally facetious. It is a ridiculous statement.
Hon. Dennis Dawson: I see that everybody seems to be laughing on your side. I’m your deputy chair, so I would know how you can be tough sometimes, but violence should never be encouraged, and I would hope and remind you what the senator said. Would you apologize for having intended violence? I’m a Liberal. I might be an independent Liberal, but I’m a Liberal. I have to be careful when I cross the street, because they are around the Hill, and you encouraged them to roll over me.
Would the honourable chair please excuse himself?
Senator Tkachuk: I’m not going to apologize for a figure of speech, Senator Dawson. Everybody knows exactly what I meant. It was not meant to roll over any particular person. All the truckers knew exactly what I was talking about, so why can’t the rest of you? Every trucker knew what I meant.