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Bennett apologizes for tweet calling NDP rivals ‘turds’

B.C. Liberal MLA Bill Bennett addresses reporters in Victoria in November 2010.

Deddeda Stemler/The Globe and Mail

B.C. Culture Minister Bill Bennett says he does not really think the B.C. New Democrats are " turds" – a label he slapped on the opposition in a tweet this week.

Mr. Bennett apologized in a members statement in the legislature on Wednesday for the social-media barb fired off the previous night.

"I do respect what you do in opposition and I respect you individually," Mr. Bennett told the legislature.

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"I am sorry about the choice of words last night because I really don't feel that way about you."

Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Bennett was defensive about the matter, wondering, in a conference call with reporters on film and TV production spending, "Has everyone lost their sense of humour?"

Mr. Bennett said the remark was part of his communication style.

"I'm sort of a direct kind of person. I've always been a little edgy, I guess, in the way that I communicate," said the MLA, who has become infamous for being blunt with political rivals.

Still, he expressed reservations about the term.

"It's not a term I would use in ordinary discourse. It's not a term I would use within the building here. It was said in jest. It was said tongue-in-cheek. I don't know. Has everybody lost their sense of humour or what?"

In the tweet, Mr. Bennett wrote:

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Mr. Bennett has always been blunt. In 2007, Mr. Bennett stepped down from his cabinet post as mines minister for sending an e-mail to a constituent in which he referred to the individual as a "self-inflated, pompous, American know-it-all" over his criticism of Liberal hunting policy.

In 2010, Mr. Bennett was fired from caucus for criticizing departing premier Gordon Campbell as "not a nice man" and a bully whom he said once chewed him out so ferociously Mr. Bennett was left to wipe Mr. Campbell's spit from his face.

Mr. Bennett was eventually allowed back into the B.C. Liberal fold, and has been a strong supporter of Premier Christy Clark.

On his latest blunt jab, Mr. Bennett suggested Hansard would show the NDP have called B.C. Liberals names. "I've been called corrupt. I've been called a crook. I've been called all sorts of names that are a lot nastier than that word.

"It's much ado about nothing as far as I am concerned."

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More


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