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Bennett regrets harsh comments about Campbell, says he 'went too far'

Former BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett BC Legislature in Victoria on the day he was fired from cabinet. Nov. 17, 2010

Deddeda Stemler for the Globe and Mail/deddeda stemler The Globe and Mail

Taking his seat in the B.C. legislature for the first time as an Independent MLA, Bill Bennett told reporters on Monday he regrets his harsh comments about outgoing Premier Gordon Campbell - remarks that led to his expulsion from the BC Liberal cabinet and caucus.

"I went too far with the personal comments," Mr. Bennett said. "I didn't mean to say the things I said about him personally. I wish I hadn't said them."

Mr. Bennett was referring to remarks he made last November, shortly after he was dumped from cabinet for publicly urging Mr. Campbell to make way for an interim premier. In a half-hour scrum with reporters, Mr. Bennett described the premier, in candid detail, as abusive and bullying. "He's not a nice man," he said at the time.

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"I'm not standing back from the veracity of the comments," Mr. Bennett said on Monday. "But it wasn't necessary. I had done what I intended to do, which was to encourage him to move over and let the party renew and I went too far."

Mr. Bennett is one of four Independent MLAs now in the B.C. legislature which resumed sitting on Monday for the first time since last spring. The session is expected to last only until Thursday, when both of the main political parties have agreed to break off to pursue their respective leadership contests.

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About the Author
B.C. politics reporter

Based in the press gallery of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, Justine has followed the ups and downs of B.C. premiers since 1988. She has also worked as a business reporter and on Parliament Hill covering national politics. More

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