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Tom Moffatt feels the heat over 'karmic' Fort McMurray fire tweet

Former Alberta NDP candidate Tom Moffatt has received thousands of angry comments online after tweeting "karmic #climatechange fire burns CDN oilsands city," which he has since deleted and apologized for.

'Not the best adjective,' says former NDP candidate after online backlash

One-time NDP candidate Tom Moffatt has been suspended from his job with the Town of Taber over a tweet that was widely condemned as insensitive to the victims of the Fort McMurray fire. (LinkedIn/Twitter)

Former Alberta NDP candidate Tom Moffatt has received thousands of angry comments online after tweeting "karmic #climatechange fire burns CDN oilsands city," which he has since deleted and apologized for.

Moffatt, who ran for the NDP in the Lethbridge-East riding, said the tweet was not intended to seem like he was laughing at people in a crisis.

"In retrospect, not the best adjective to use, because it can be interpreted in different ways," he told CBC News.

"And lots of people interpreted it as meaning that I was saying people in Fort McMurray deserved what they got... which is not the case."

Supercharged by winds of up to 70 km/h, the Fort McMurray wildfire ballooned to 85,000 hectares overnight and is now raging across a wide front south of the city. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

He said he meant that it's unfortunate that politicians and oil executives, who had the scientific knowledge of the true extent and damage that climate change can cause, have decided not to address it in a meaningful way.

"Even people like myself, who know and believe in climate change and have been in that situation for a long time ... have not done enough to warn people about it."

Donation made to Red Cross

Now, Moffatt says he plans to launch a citizen action group to help fight climate change, and help recovery efforts in Fort McMurray by supporting initiatives where he lives. He has already donated to the Red Cross, he says.

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      Moffatt is not the only one bearing the brunt of the comments — his employer and the library board he sits has also come under fire despite distancing themselves from the comments, he says.

      In a statement Wednesday, his employer, the Town of Taber, said: "A recent post made by a town employee on a personal account in no way reflects the town's views on this terrible tragedy."

      The Lethbridge library, where Moffatt is a volunteer board member, said in a Facebook post the tweet "unequivocally … does not in any manner reflect the view of the [organization]."

      Moffat hopes the "ill-conceived comment" won't affect his work in the future. He also apologized online on Wednesday.