Hockey commentator Don Cherry gives a thumbs-up after talking with reporters outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ont. Tuesday. (CPimages/Tom Hanson)
Quebec Liberal MPs Marcel Proulx and Jean Lapierre insisted the star of Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner is unworthy of official recognition in the Commons because of his past denigration of French-Canadians.
Cherry, who sat in the visiting dignitaries gallery during the daily question period, was befuddled by the protest.
"Who's anti-French?" he asked reporters afterward. "I know a lot good French guys I like."
Cherry said the hollering and histrionics of question period reminded him of his Coach's Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
MPs hooted and vigourously applauded Speaker Peter Milliken's official recognition of Cherry after question period. But there were a few boos as well.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't seem to have a problem with Cherry.
Harper, who once asked Cherry to run for the Conservatives, had his picture taken during a meeting with the former NHL coach in his Parliament Hill office.
Cherry, who was uncharacteristically clad in a subdued suit and tie, suggested he could not afford a shift to politics.
"I told him I'm too great on television. You agree? I didn't want to tell him about the pay cut."
But he didn't mind making his support for the Conservatives official, along with a prediction that Harper would win the next election.
"He's a grinder and a mucker and he's going to be there till the end."