Zach Churchill is insisting he’s never assaulted any political counterpart but the education minister says he’s got to tone down his confrontational style.
“I have to,” said Churchill. “It’s not fun going through a situation like this and have people articulate these sorts of concerns about you.
“I need to rethink how I approach conversations and if I made any mistake it was to allow for debates to spill out of the chamber itself.”
But Churchill stopped short of saying he would seek counselling to address what he calls his sometimes “hot-headed” approach to political discourse.
The comments came on Wednesday, following assault allegations from two former NDP cabinet ministers Ramona Jennex and Denise Peterson Rafuse. The incidents date back four and six years ago. One allegation was that Churchill used profane language and poked a member in the shoulder, pushing her backward.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Churchill. Last week Tory leader Tim Houston accused Churchill of grabbing him by the shoulders during a heated confrontation outside the chamber on budget day.
About the dated allegations, Churchill said, “When it was alleged to have happened it would have made headlines. If the premier was informed of that I wouldn’t be here today.”
Churchill said Premier Stephen McNeil has told him to watch his tone in chamber. But Churchill provided no evidence that the party did a thorough investigation into any of the allegations.
Churchill also suggested that the latest allegations come from old political opponents looking to add to the negative attention stemming from his alleged incident with Houston.
“I don’t think it’s uncommon that past and present political opponents might have an axe to grind or jump on the opportunity to express their disapproval with me.”