Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio apologizes for stripper remark aimed at Tory MP Dianne Watts

Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio has apologized to Conservative MP Dianne Watts in the House of Commons several weeks after the Liberal MP made a sexist remark to Watts while the pair were attending a Commons committee.

"More than once I assured the member for South Surrey-White Rock that the words I used were not meant to offend her, or embarrass her, and if that was the case I was profoundly sorry," Di Iorio said after question period Monday. "I offered her my deepest apologies."

"Before all my colleagues here in the House of Commons, I wish to reiterate my most sincere apologies to the member for South Surrey-White Rock and I hope that we can continue our work as I've done throughout my career, with great respect and collegiality," he added. 

On March 8, International Women's Day, Di Iorio and Watts were attending an in camera committee meeting when Watts's cellphone rang. According to a media report, the ring prompted Di Iorio to say: "Where's your pole to slide down on?"

Watts took the comment to mean a stripper pole and issued a statement days later saying that the comment was inappropriate and left her feeling uncomfortable. 

"There should be no place or time where such comments are acceptable. I now leave it in the hands of the prime minister to take whatever actions he feels appropriate."

On Monday Watts told the House of Commons that everyone has made mistakes and that "in all of our lives where we have done things we wished we hadn't, or where we said things that we wish we didn't."

She said she believed this incident could help effect change and that if MPs took the incident as an opportunity to learn a lesson, all would be well-served. 

"I thank my colleague for his apology and his teaching," Watts said. "And I would also ask that he apologize to the committee members and staff and then I ask that we move on.

"This is a teaching moment for all of us. So I thank the member for providing the opportunity for growth, for understanding and for learning."