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P.E.I. MLA apologizes for giving middle finger to member of the public

Communities Minister Richard Brown speaks to protesters outside the legislature in Charlottetown Tuesday afternoon.
Richard Brown speaks outside the legislature in Charlottetown in this file photo.

Environment Minister Richard Brown says he did give a member of the public the middle finger and regrets doing so.

Brown was responding to questions in the legislature Thursday from Opposition Leader James Aylward about an incident outside Province House in 2016 when someone shouted for the government to honour the vote in the electoral reform plebiscite.

In response to the question, Brown rose to say he did give that person the middle finger and shouldn’t have.

“It is regrettable, and I know it is an important topic we are debating in this house and I look forward to continuing the debate,” he said.

Brown made the gesture while members of the Liberal caucus were outside Province House in 2016 posing for a Christmas card photo.

“It is regrettable, and I know it is an important topic we are debating in this house and I look forward to continuing the debate.”
– Environment Minister Richard Brown

On Thursday, Aylward also questioned Premier Wade MacLauchlan about the incident, asking if he would be taking any disciplinary action against Brown.

“Do you consider it acceptable behaviour to have that minister’s actions cheered on by the rest of your cabinet,” Aylward asked.

He also asked if MacLauchlan would be relieving Brown of his duties for showing disrespect to Islanders through his actions.

MacLauchlan responded that the point of being in the house is to do what MLAs can for Islanders to engage on a question for the province’s future.

That’s what he wants all members of the Liberal team and everyone in the legislature focused on, MacLauchlan said.

“The minister is a man of passion, as we’ve seen here on this floor and he’s also a man of honour and he’s forthright and he already responded to the question today.”

Aylward disagreed and said Brown had more than a year and half to apologize for his actions but didn’t do so until they were raised in the legislature.

“So, I wouldn’t call those actions very honourable,” Aylward said.

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