Liberal MP to Alberta Tories: Pack up and go home

Andy Radia
Canada PoliticsNovember 21, 2012

David McGuinty isn't the first politician to succumb to foot-in-mouth disease.

But his timing sucks.

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.

"They are national legislators with a national responsibility, but they come across as very, very small-p provincial individuals who are jealously guarding one industrial sector, picking the fossil fuel business and the oilsands business specifically, as one that they're going to fight to the death for," he said.

"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".

McGuinty's comments come 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:

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.

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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!. "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.