There's been a good deal of "yes he did", "no he didn't" going around in political circles and the blogosphere over the allegation that Mr. Mackay referred to his former partner, Belinda Stronach, as "a dog" during question period last week.
I'm not going to address whether or not I believe Mackay said that - I think that's quite irrelevant here.
In some respects, this incident harkens back to the "Fuddle duddle" incident in Pierre Trudeau's latter years. I don't think it will ever be completely clear what happened, but I can guess what most people will suspect was said.
However, Mr. Mackay is being his own worst enemy here. By being utterly intransigent in the matter, he reinforces the beliefs of those of who suspect that he did call Ms. Stronach "a dog". Worse, he is also giving the CPoC opponents further ammunition by validating the suspicion that the CPoC has a profound disrespect not merely for minorities and women, but is also perfectly willing to use people for cheap political points.
Mackay himself is on shakey ground in terms of public credibility to begin with. He has a track record filled with what many perceive to be a series of betrayals and immature behaviours. Whether that is the agreement to merge with the Alliance party mere months after committing to David Orchard that he would not do so during the Progressive Conservative party's leadership convention, the outbursts over Belinda's defection to the Liberal party, or telling Alexa McDonough to "return to her knitting" over a foreign policy matter. None of these actions speak well of the man. In fact, they show us a picture of a man who has yet to mature beyond the hideous behaviours seen in junior high students.
It is unfortunate that Mackay seems to believe that he has "done nothing wrong". The most productive thing he could do would be to rise in the House of Commons and issue what I would call a "soft apology". He doesn't have to admit to what he said, or didn't say, but rather can couch his statement in the language of "if I was misheard in the fracas..." and proceed from there. Had he done so last week, he might have saved himself some significant "public bruising". Unfortunately, he has not, and the window of opportunity is rapidly closing for him to do so.
It is this failure, when combined with other past behaviours, that leave one with a very bad taste after dealing with Mr. Mackay. Canada deserves far better than this from her politicians.