The nine Wildrose MLAs who wrote a post comparing the NDP's proposed carbon tax to the genocide of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s have apologized.
"The Holodomor was an atrocious and intentional act that saw the deaths of millions upon millions of Ukrainians," the written statement of apology said.
"Any interpretation of the column collaborated on by the nine Wildrose MLAs as dismissing the Holodomor as a horrendous act was completely unintentional, and we unreservedly apologize."
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The offending paragraphs in the post from MLAs Rick Strankman, Grant Hunter, Dave Schneider, Wes Taylor, Ron Orr, Mark Smith, Dave Hanson, Don MacIntyre and Drew Barnes have been removed.
Their original post against the government's carbon tax quoted a statement by philosopher Thomas Sowell, who noted that people would do more for themselves than for the common good, which was more beneficial.
"Sowell points out how the early settlers to North America considered all lands common property with no incentive for an individual to produce," the Wildrose article originally said. "The same situation existed in Russia during the 1930s resulting in the starvation of nearly six million people that lived on some of the most fertile land on the planet.
"Time and again the incentive of the citizenry translates into the production they need to sustain themselves."
In 1932 and 1933, the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin put in policies to deliberately trigger a famine in Ukraine. Millions perished. An estimated 300,000 of the survivors or their descendents live in Alberta.
Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous, who is of Ukrainian descent, was outraged by the post. He sent a tweet to Wildrose Leader Brian Jean demanding he denounce the sentiments expressed in the blog post.
"I expect more from my colleagues and counterparts in the legislature," Bilous said. "To try and make this comparison and to offend a whole group of people, it shows a lack of understanding of the significance of the Holodomor, of what people had to go through. Death by starvation."
"I hope that they learn from this."
If passed, the carbon tax will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Albertans will pay the direct costs of the tax at the gasoline pump and on their home heating bills.
The NDP government believes the tax will compel Albertans to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. The Wildrose vehemently opposes the tax, saying it will hurt Alberta families at a time when the economy is in a downturn.