Liberal natural resources critic David McGuinty resigned his post as critic Wednesday after denouncing Alberta Conservative MPs as shills for the oil lobby.
His denouncement came as the Tories face a surprisingly close race in a by-election in Calgary where the Liberals hoped to upset an expected Tory victory.
McGuinty had told reporters that Tory MPs should run for city council or provincial posts in Alberta rather than seats in the House of Commons because their polices reflected only the interests of Albertans.
“My words in no way reflect the views of my party or leader and I offer my apology to them, as well as to my colleagues from Alberta,” McGuinty said in a statement released Wednesday.
“I hold all parliamentarians in high esteem and I regret my choice of words, as I can understand the offence they have caused.”
McGuinty’s comments were used by Tory Calgary-Centre candidate Joan Crockatt to invoke the legacy of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his National Energy Program.
The program is reviled in Alberta for regulating the market in a way that hurt Alberta’s provincial economy and was seen as a federal intrusion into provincial affairs.
McGuinty’s comments also came on the heels of Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau’s announcement that he supported Chinese oil company CNOOC’s proposed takeover of Calgary-based Nexen.
Trudeau’s announcement was seen as unexpected given national sentiment towards the deal and his own policy positions.
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