This story updated at 5:50 p.m.
David McGuinty has apologized for his pejorative critique of Alberta Tories.
On Tuesday, Sun News reported that the Liberal MP — and brother of Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty — suggested Conservatives from Alberta don't belong in Parliament because they are “very small-p provincial individuals” who jealously guard their “fossil fuel business.”
"They really should go back to Alberta and run either for municipal council in a city that's deeply affected by the oilsands business or go run for the Alberta legislature,” he said.
In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, McGuinty apologized for his comments and stated that he would resign from his Energy and Natural Resource critic portfolio.
“As Member of Parliament for Ottawa South I would like to unreservedly and unequivocally apologize for comments which I made with respect to Parliamentary colleagues from the province of Alberta. My words in no way reflect the views of my party or leader, and I offer my apology to them as well as my colleagues from Alberta,” he wrote.
“I hold all Parliamentarians in high esteem, and I regret my choice of words, as I can understand the offence they have caused.
McGuinty isn't the first politician to succumb to foot-in-mouth disease.
But his timing sucks.
McGuinty's comments came just a few days before a close byelection race in Calgary Centre. According to the most recent polls, Liberal candidate Harvey Locke is at 30 per cent support — just five points behind Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt in this traditionally Conservative bastion.
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The feeling now is that McGuinty's comments could hurt Locke's chances.
The Tories are already taking advantage.
The prime minister's communications director Andrew MacDougall tweeted this:
— Andrew MacDougall (@PMO_MacDougall) November 20, 2012
On Wednesday, Immigration Minister and Alberta MP Jason Kenney told reporters that McGuinty's comments were "deeply offensive" to Albertans and demanded an apology.
Political analyst Gerry Nicholls says that if Crockett needed help, McGuinty has certainly obliged.
"His comments give her ammunition to go on the attack; she can use them to rekindle the perception among voters in Calgary that Liberals are anti-Alberta," he told Yahoo! Canada News.
"Expect the National Energy Program to get mentioned a lot. This will likely mobilize and energize Crockatt's Conservative base, which could make a difference in a tight race."
Even the Grits were distancing themselves from McGuinty on Wednesday.
When asked about the comments, Liberal insider and political analyst Warren Kinsella didn't even try to offer up a defence.
"It was unhelpful," he told Yahoo! Canada News. "I don't know any Liberals who agree with what was said."
If you run into David McGuinty today, you might want to give him a hug.
Something tells me that he'll be the loneliest man on Parliament Hill.