Trudeau admits comments may have affected Calgary byelection

Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau says he regrets comments he made in an interview two years ago that have Conservatives accusing him of an anti-Alberta bias

Liberal Justin Trudeau says negative comments he made about Alberta two years ago may have "hindered a little bit" his party's chances in the Calgary Centre byelection.

But in an interview on CBC Radio's The House with Evan Solomon he said he helped Liberal candidate Harvey Locke "on the ground" by campaigning with him several times in Calgary.

"Look, I helped out by being there on the ground. I may have, I may have hindered a little bit, I apologized but in general I think the fact is whether or not we won or lost that byelection there was always going to be an awful lot of work to do in Calgary moving forward towards 2015," Trudeau said.

Trudeau said on a Quebec TV program two years ago that Canada wasn't doing well because "it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda." The remarks were dug up by a media outlet last week, just days before the Calgary byelection on Monday. Trudeau apologized for his comments and said that he meant Stephen Harper's government, and not Albertans.

Locke, the Liberal candidate who was running against Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt, came a close second in the race with nearly 33 per cent of the vote compared to Crockatt's nearly 37 per cent.

Locke's voter base could also have been affected by remarks last week by Liberal MP David McGuinty, who said that Alberta MPs should "go back to" their home province if they weren't prepared to work for the national interest, rather than just Alberta's, when it comes to energy. McGuinty apologized and resigned his role as his party's natural resources critic.

Liberal MP Marc Garneau, who declared his leadership candidacy Wednesday, said on CBC's Power & Politics that Trudeau comments "didn't help" Locke. Garneau went on to say that he fully understands the West and the oilsands, because he spent two years on the board of an Alberta energy corporation.

The full interview with Trudeau can be heard on The House on CBC Radio Saturday.