Calgary

Craig Chandler quits Alberta PC board after 'Earls supports terrorists' comment

Craig Chandler, the often-controversial member of the PC party of Alberta, is resigning from its board of directors after posting an online comment accusing Earls restaurants of supporting terrorism.

Often controversial party member, rejected as a candidate in 2007, resigns from post he earned by acclamation

Craig Chandler is resigning from the PC party of Alberta's board of directors after attracting attention with a Facebook post suggesting the Earls restaurant chain 'supports terrorists' because of its decision to purchase beef from Creekstone Farms, an American company that also offers halal meats for Muslim customers. (www.craigchandler.ca)

Craig Chandler, the often-controversial member of the PC party of Alberta, is resigning from its board of directors after posting an online comment accusing Earls restaurants of supporting terrorism.

Chandler, who was acclaimed as the party's regional director for Calgary East just weeks ago, announced Friday he is stepping down from the position.

His resignation comes a day after he attracted attention with a Facebook post suggesting the restaurant chain "supports terrorists" because of its decision to purchase beef from Creekstone Farms, an American company that also offers halal meats for Muslim customers.

"Creekstone Farms does offer a halal certified product, but that is not what is served in our restaurants," the Earls Facebook account posted in response to a question online.

Chandler then chimed in: "So now Earls supports terrorists as well! Wow!"

He admitted Friday he could have chosen his words more carefully and tried to explain the thinking behind his post.

"I didn't clarify properly enough," he told CBC News. "What I should have said is if you need halal certification, you need to pay a tax to Saudi Arabia."

Not anti-Muslim, nor anti-Smurf

Chandler said his comments should not be interpreted to mean he hates Muslims.

"If anyone thinks I feel that way, I'm sorry you feel that way," he said. "It's not accurate."

He also suggested his critics are too quick to impugn the motives behind his public comments.

"I could say, 'I think blue Smurfs shouldn't have white hats,' and somebody would come out and say, 'Chandler hates blue Smurfs.'"

Doesn't want to be a 'distraction'

As for his decision to resign, Chandler said he doesn't want to draw focus away from more important issues as the PC party looks to rebuild, following its crushing defeat in the May 2015 election.

"I really don't want to be a distraction to the party," he said.

Chandler said he had not yet attended a party meeting in his brief capacity as a director.

In 2007, the PC party rejected Chandler as a candidate, overruling his nomination in the constituency of Calgary-Egmont, citing concerns with his past comments on homosexuality.

With files from Scott Dippel

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