Alberta’s deputy premier called conservative opponents of her left-wing government “sewer rats” before apologizing — not to the so-called “sewer rats” but for not “choosing my words more wisely” in the provincial legislature.
Sarah Hoffman, who is also the Alberta health minister, made the comment on Monday’s provincial question period in response to a question from the Wildrose Party, the right-of-center official opposition.
“Premier, your policies are devastating Alberta families. For a government that has shown such gross incompetence, when is the premier going to ask herself to make better choices?”
Hoffman answered for the premier.
“We’re creating jobs. We’re cutting school fees. We’re freezing tuition. The members opposite just want to keep jacking things up. We’re focused on hard hats. They’re spending a lot of time with sewer rats.”
Hoffman then continued and accused conservatives of being hate-mongers, suggesting “those who live in glass houses decorated by hate should not be throwing stones.”
Political observers in Canada are still scratching their heads over how the left-wing New Democratic Party ever formed a government in Canada’s conservative heartland of Alberta, known as “Texas North” because it’s an energy-based economy whose population is both fiscally and socially conservative.
After being excoriated by the Alberta media, Hoffman relayed an apology, not to the “sewer rats,” whom she refused to identify, but for losing her temper in the legislature.
“There was no excuse and I want to start by saying that,” Hoffman told reporters.
“Anytime we start trying to justify using words that are hurtful and full of vitriol, it only perpetuates the issue further. … Certainly wish I would have chosen my words more wisely.”
The Wildrose opposition are insisting that the government didn’t just insult conservative Albertans but all of them. The Member of the Legislative Assembly who asked the question that prompted the “sewer rats” response, was Jason Nixon.
“I asked a question on behalf of all Albertans. Very, very clear,” Nixon said.”The deputy premier said in that answer that people I associate with are sewer rats. Well, the people I associate with are my constituents. The people I associate with are Albertans.”