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Speaker rejects NDP MP's complaint about Tory senator's 'misogynistic' attack

NDP MP Charmaine Borg in Ottawa, December 9, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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NDP MP Charmaine Borg in Ottawa, December 9, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - The Speaker of the House of Commons has rejected a New Democrat MP's complaint about what she termed a "misogynistic" personal attack launched against her by a Conservative senator.

Charmaine Borg had asked Speaker Andrew Scheer to rule that her ability to do her job was impaired by a vitriolic letter sent to her last month by Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais.

While he acknowledges such attacks have the potential to be hurtful and damaging, Scheer says there are no grounds to suggest Dagenais' missive prevented Borg from performing her parliamentary duties.

He points out that she has the same recourse as any other citizen to sue for defamation if she feels her reputation has been damaged.

In his letter, which was copied to all MPs, senators and their staff, Dagenais characterized Borg as a whiny, ignorant, useless Quebec MP who was elected by fluke and stands little chance of being re-elected.

Borg, who is just 23, called the letter misogynistic and said she doubted Dagenais would have sent it had she been, in her words, "an old white man."

She complained that the letter implies she's "simply a little girl who does not take her work seriously."

Dagenais sent the letter in response to a flyer Borg sent out in her riding advocating abolition of the Senate.

At the time, he said the letter was part of a campaign by some Conservative senators, including Speaker Noel Kinsella, to defend themselves and the institution after taking a year-long drubbing over the Senate expenses scandal.

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