Saskatchewan's new Advanced Education Minister, Bronwyn Eyre, said she was writing from "a humorous standpoint" when she penned a column in 2011 on climate change.
Eyre was named the new minister of advanced education on Tuesday. She was elected MLA for Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota in the April election.
Before entering politics, she served as a Saskatoon public school board trustee, a radio broadcaster at CKOM and CJME, and a columnist for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Calgary Herald.
In June 2011, she wrote a column centred around climate change and research.
She quoted University of Regina professor Dave Sauchyn as saying, "Climate is a pattern. One event is weather. But if you get a bunch of these (weather incidents) from across the Prairies and it happens again and again, we say, 'Something is going on.' And it's probably climate change."
Eyre followed the quote by saying, "Sounds a bit like witchcraft reasoning to me."
At the end of the column, she said, "There are many threats in this world. But climate change doesn't appear to be one of them. As for me, I remain cautiously optimistic that 'global warming' may someday return to the Prairies. I miss it."
On Wednesday, Eyre responded to the column in an email to CBC.
"I wrote the column years ago from a humorous standpoint. I do believe in climate change and I believe the actions of people affect climate change," she wrote.
On Tuesday, in response to a reporter's question about the "witchcraft" comment, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said Eyre "clarified" what she meant.
"Obviously, she's indicated that she is understanding of and believes in the fact that man — or humanity — is contributing to climate change," Wall said. "It was an unfortunate remark that was, fell below that mark of jest that I think she intended for it."
Wall went on to praise Eyre's qualifications.
"Here's an individual with an excellent background, educational background, a background of leadership, community leadership in Saskatoon," he said.
"Her interventions in caucus have been excellent. I've appreciated what she's had to offer and I think she's going to do an excellent job."