Jansen lectures MLA on 'teachable moments', won't apologize

A junior Alberta cabinet minister refused to apologize for remarks she made on national television last week that some felt denigrated the work of tradespeople.

Junior cabinet minister under fire for Len Webber electrician comments

RAW: Sandra Jansen exchange in Question Period 3:45

A junior Alberta cabinet minister refused to apologize for remarks she made on national television last week that some felt denigrated the work of tradespeople.

Sandra Jansen, the associate minister of family and community safety, said that MLA Len Webber “should go back to being an electrician” if he was unhappy.

Webber, the MLA for Calgary-Confederation, stepped down from the Tory caucus last week in a move that escalated the leadership crisis that led to Premier Alison Redford’s resignation on Wednesday.

In Thursday’s question period -- her first since the controversy broke last week -- Jansen was asked to apologize for the comment by electrician and Wildrose MLA Bruce Rowe.

When Jansen refused, Rowe asked if her comment was appropriate given that she is the minister in charge of anti-bullying initiatives.

“The comments about bullying, I find, are interesting and this I think, you should listen, this is a teachable moment,” Jansen responded.  

“When you use the term ‘bullying’ to describe what we do in the political arena, you are devaluing the term. There are many people watching today, many families who’ve contacted me whose children are the victims of bullying, who say ‘shame on you for that.’”

Jansen claimed that Rowe was engaging in irresponsible behaviour “designed to whip up the population” and said his suggestion tradespeople were upset wasn’t true.

Deputy Premier Dave Hancock, who will be sworn-in as Redford’s replacement on Sunday, refused to comment about Jansen’s remarks.

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