OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says he was heartened to see Conservative MPs denouncing a hateful Facebook post that targeted him.
The "Okanagan Conservatives" posted a photo and a link to a critical news article about Sajjan on their page, along with the comment: "This is what happens when you have a cabinet based on affirmative action."
Sajjan said when he saw the post he was surprised and disappointed.
"This type of language has no place in Canada. I was heartened also at the same time to see that Conservative MPs have stepped forward, apologized and denounced this type of wording and discussion," Sajjan said in Halifax Friday morning.
Manitoba Conservative MP James Bezan, the party's defence critic, tweeted that he was disgusted. Bezan said Sajjan is a respected veteran who proudly served Canada and deserves nothing less than gratitude for his service as a soldier and as defence minister, even if the two don't always agree on policy.
Conservative MP Dan Albas, who represents Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, wrote on Twitter that the post came from another riding association's account and he asked that it be removed. He said although he did not authorize it, he would like to apologize to Sajjan.
Last night the Okanagan Conservatives took to Facebook again, but this time to apologize to Sajjan and those who were offended.
The group says it deleted the post, that it was inappropriate and that it does not reflect the views of the party or any of the riding associations in the Okanagan.
"At the end of the day this is not about me or cabinet, it's about what type of message are we sending young Canadians," Sajjan said.
Sajjan also pointed out that he will be having dinner Friday night at Pier 21, the very place that welcomed people from around the world.
When asked how Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer should respond to the group's post, Sajjan said all leaders should work to promote inclusiveness and make sure Canadians feel safe.
Janice Dickson, The Canadian Press